At 21 years old, Chad Crowell went all in on his future. He packed up all of his stuff and relocated from Portland, Oregon, to Cleveland, in pursuit of an education and a better job.

“I was 21, dead broke, and cooking for a paycheck,” he said. “My brother was the distribution center manager at RSC [Refrigeration Sales Corp.] and he was moving from Cleveland to Valley View, Ohio. I asked if they needed any part-time help, and they did, so I went for it.

Once he arrived, he hustled to make ends meet.

“I was cooking at night and packing, cleaning, and building mobile parts racks for RSC during the day,” said the now 36-year-old Crowell.

After a brief stint as a part-time warehouse worker, Crowell accepted a full-time position with RSC. He then moved into RSC’s will-call coordinator position, where he served for a year and a half before being transferred to the company’s Cleveland store, where he operated as a counter person. Three years later, Crowell became a parts salesperson, territory manager, and, ultimately, a sales manager.

“Holding all of these different positions at RSC, in retrospect, provided me with a great education of our wholesale distribution business,” Crowell said. “I was able to get a firsthand look at how the different departments operate, the challenges in those departments, and, at this point, I feel like I completely understand the whole picture versus having not started as an entry-level worker.”

Crowell is satisfied with his current position and the interactions he maintains on a daily basis.

“I love working with HVAC contractors and helping them grow their business and collaborating to find new ways to serve the industry,” he said. “The people in the industry are what make it great. I genuinely have a great time working with my customers and coworkers.”

When considering the next wave of young workers, Crowell stressed the importance of reading about the industry and attending as many training and educational events as possible.

“The younger generation does not understand hard work as much as the older generations,” he said. “I feel they have to put in the time. This extends beyond the 40 or so hours everyone works. Take classes, read books, don’t be afraid to take entry-level positions, and get your hands dirty. Whatever position you are in, own that position and strive to be the best at it.”

When not managing customers, Crowell enjoys collecting vinyl records, reading, lifting weights, cooking, and, most of all, hanging out with his 3-and-a-half-year-old son and family.

Crowell firmly believes that all professionals have to earn their stripes in this industry.

“Respect is earned and reciprocated,” he said. “Treat people with respect, and it will be returned.”

Every Wednesday, Distribution Trends magazine will feature a full profile on one of its 2018 Top 40 Under 40 winners. To see the list in its entirety, visit To see each of the full Top 40 features, visit