Name: Charlie Polite

Title: HVAC Service Manager

Why He’s Tech of the Month: As a young guy, Charlie Polite was mechanically minded and liked to work with his hands. So he went to school for electrical and HVAC. After graduation, he got out the Yellow Pages, looked up a local HVAC company, and headed to Farnen & Dermer in Owings Mills, Maryland.

“I just walked in,” he recalled, “and Frank Dermer interviewed me on the spot.”

This July will be Polite’s 25th year with the company, where his daily tasks include servicing and repairing heating and cooling systems for residential customers. He also estimates replacement equipment, and he’s the “go-to person” for other technicians when they need technical advice.

“Charlie is a phenomenal team player and an incredible asset to our team,” said Zach Dermer, CEO. “Even with his level of experience and knowledge, he continues to learn and improve daily. He is always quick to share new findings with his co-workers to help teach them to be better technicians.”

With almost three decades of experience, there’s no question that Polite is a well-polished professional. And his positive attitude takes him to an even higher tier.

“Whether it’s 0° or 100°F, Charlie is always smiling and cheerful,” said Zach Dermer. “It can be a brutally tough job being an HVAC technician, dealing with uncomfortable customers, time constraints, etc., but Charlie always remains positive. Charlie is a true pleasure to work with.”

Customers notice that, too, and it’s something they value.

“Our clients love Charlie and often specifically request him for service visits,” Zach Dermer said.

Several years ago, Farnen & Dermer did a large HVAC renovation for an elderly woman in a very old home, installing five zones of heating and air conditioning. Unlike typical replacement HVAC equipment, it required a tremendous amount of duct modification and general construction. The client was anxious to get the job done — and get it done right.

“Early on, one of our installers called Charlie for technical advice,” Zach Dermer said.

Polite ended up stopping by the job site to assist the install team and introduced himself to the client. Then, for the following two weeks, he stopped by the house every night after work to make sure the client was happy and comfortable with the process.

“Our client was so comfortable with Charlie, and he made her feel like family,” Zach Dermer said. “The job was done to our customer’s satisfaction, and a lot of that is due to Charlie’s personalized attention and dedication to getting the project complete.”

That kind of interaction is what Polite likes best about working in HVAC: problem-solving and taking care of people’s issues.

“Some customers can’t sleep at night because they’re worried about these kinds of problems,” he said. “You promise them things, and you have to live up to your promises. It’s something I take a lot of pride in.”

Polite plans to stick with Farnen & Dermer until retirement.

“I’m a ways for that,” he laughed, “but I’m not going anywhere. I love these guys. Since they’re a smaller company, I feel like I’m not just a number: you get back what you put out.”

And the company loves him back. “Charlie is a great technician, day in and day out,” said Zach Dermer. “His experience, along with his can-do attitude, prove him to be one of the finest HVAC technicians we’ve ever encountered.”


To nominate an HVACR technician for Tech of the Month, visit or email

Publication date: 5/28/2018

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