The HVACR industry now has a voice in Congress. Republican Randy Weber, owner, Weber’s Air and Heat, Pearland, Texas, earned 121,298 votes, or 53.34 percent of the ballot, to win Texas’ 14th Congressional district seat. Weber will replace the retiring Ron Paul, who occupied the seat for eight consecutive terms.

“I’m deeply honored that voters have chosen me to be their voice in Congress. I will serve my constituents with integrity and full respect for the office and what it represents,” said Weber. “I will fight to build a stronger America for our children and grandchildren; it’s the reason why I entered public service.”

The freshman congressman is making headlines nationwide, including here in The NEWS as a 2012 NEWSmaker.

Humble Beginnings

In 1980, Weber, who had attained a business degree from the University of Houston, was making ends meet by working for his parents’ camper business. Motivated toward greater achievement, Weber branched out on his own in 1981, opening Weber’s Air & Heat.

“I couldn’t even spell air conditioning, and suddenly I was running my own air conditioning business,” he joked. “At first, it was a one-man show being run out of my home office, and I struggled mightily. I took every odd job I could get to stay afloat.”

Through hard work, and what Weber calls “stick-to-itiveness,” he began to gain some footing.

“I had an old IBM typewriter, and I’d create fliers, which was the extent of our advertising. I’d go down to the local copy shop and start putting them on every door. Eventually I landed a couple jobs and things started to grow. After a while, I even hired a second guy.”

Shortly after attaining lift-off, the operation nearly came crashing to a halt. “In 1984, we nearly went bankrupt as all my suppliers wanted to get paid, and the cash flow just wasn’t there,” he said. “Luckily, we were able to pull some strings, pay back all our suppliers, and continue to move ahead.”

In 1996, Weber joined the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). His business has grown to include 10 employees, which he claims is just the right size.

“We don’t make tons and tons of money, but, at this size, I can still manage it rather well,” he said. “I never wanted 40 or 50 trucks and a whole bunch of people. I just set out to make an honest living, and that is what I’ve done.”

Political Aspirations

While Jimmy Carter struggled with the Iran hostage crisis for over a year, Ronald Reagan solved the situation the day after he was sworn in, said Weber. This action, combined with Reagan’s vision to lower taxes, reduce government, and increase individual freedom caught Weber’s attention. He vowed that if and when Reagan ran for re-election, he wanted to be a part of the campaign. As Reagan announced his bid for re-election, Weber honored his promise and became a precinct election judge.

“After Reagan’s re-election I continued to stay involved in politics and successfully ran for city council in 1990, where I served for six years,” he said. “Then, our state representative passed away, and I ran for that seat. Following that, Ron Paul announced he wasn’t going to run for re-election, and my phone started ringing. Everyone was urging me to run; so, I did, and here I am, a member of the House of Representatives.”

Weber said his legislative decisions will largely be based on the conservative Christian values that helped mold him into the man he is today.

“Things have to change. We can’t keep going in the direction we’ve been going,” he said. “I will bring a common-sense business approach and my experience will be very valuable. As a state representative, we balanced a budget and created laws that had to be adhered to. If Congress takes that approach, and lives under the laws it creates, we’ll be in good shape.”

As a contractor, Weber recognizes the value of keeping government away from business.

“I vow to keep the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] on a short leash, and do everything I can to keep the government out of our back pockets,” he said. “I stand strong on saying no to over regulation and taxation, and yes to job creation.”

Weber joins a growing coalition of mechanical contractors in Congress, as plumbing contractor Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., and HVAC contractor Daniel Webster, R-Fla., were both re-elected to represent their respective districts.

Paul Stalknecht, president and CEO, ACCA, called the election a significant milestone for ACCA and small business HVACR contractors.

“It doesn’t matter where you live — even if you’re far away from Randy’s district — electing an ACCA member to Congress means one of our own has a voice in every debate in the U.S. House of Representatives,” he said. “Special recognition goes to all the ACCA members who helped get Randy elected.”

2012 NEWSmaker

Name: Randy Weber

Title: Owner

Company: Weber’s Air and Heat

Location: Pearland, Texas

Elected office: 14th Congressional District — Texas, U.S. House of Representatives

Notable quote: “I vow to keep the EPA on a short leash, and do everything I can to keep the government out of our back pockets. I stand strong on saying no to over regulation and taxation, and yes to job creation.”

Publication date: 12/17/2012