Sometimes, it’s easy in life to lament what you don’t have rather than celebrate what you do have. This is true in the HVACR industry, too, where you often hear about the graying of the workforce.
Nevertheless, it is a reality. The average age of someone working in the industry is north of 50. Of course, that is not all bad. The older generation has a lot to offer with regard to knowledge, work ethic, and other similar qualities.
However, that does not mean that the industry does not also have dynamic younger people preparing to take the reins. In fact, a lot of these younger folks are already in leadership positions. As with any organization or industry, young talent needs to be coming through the ranks in order to secure a positive future. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that the HVACR industry has a wealth of young talent as well.
The NEWS decided to highlight these individuals with a list of 40 HVACR professionals under 40 years of age who are accomplishing great things in their respective positions. This is the fourth year we’ve asked our readers to nominate the best of the best and, indeed, they did. We received 175 entries, and picking the top 40 was incredibly difficult.
The individuals chosen represent every aspect of the industry, including the manufacturing, distribution, instructional, and contracting sectors. There are those who grew up in the industry and those who entered it in the most interesting of circumstances.
“This is one of my favorite issues we do every year,” said Kyle Gargaro, editorial director, The NEWS. “It is easy to forget how many young people are doing truly great things for the industry. This list really highlights some of the best and the brightest coming up in the HVACR industry.”
Below, there are brief write-ups on each individual who made the list. And while the stories of how they reached the HVACR industry vary greatly, the common denominator is that they love the field and their careers. The members of this list all work hard, think about the big picture, and have the ability to challenge the way things have always been done.
While certainly hundreds could have been highlighted, we were tasked with choosing the top 40. Scroll down to see who made this year’s list and get to know the individuals who are already leading the trade into the future.
Company: Stallion Mechanical LLC
Justin Angeletti made the Dean’s list every semester while he was a student at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, where he graduated with an A.A.S. in HVAC. After two years of working for other employers, he decided it was time to go out on his own. In 2008, he founded Stallion Mechanical LLC. He started out small, doing installations and repairs for residential and a few commercial customers. He answered all the incoming phone calls and did all the office work as well. Today, his customer base is mainly commercial, but he still maintains a strong residential base. He began doing restaurant equipment repair and has a large restaurant customer base.
“I want to continue to grow and expand my company and possibly hand the company down to one of my children,” Angeletti said. “Our company believes that we are big enough to get your job done but small enough to care.”
Company: Essential Energy Consulting
Bill Artis has been involved in the HVAC industry since 2006, starting as a field technician in New York City.
After several years learning the field service aspect of the industry, Artis progressed into technical training positions as an instructor for Fortis College and technical trainer for an HVAC manufacturer.
Artis’ career continued to progress into project engineer, senior project engineer, and project management roles with manufacturer’s sales offices. It was during this time that Artis was responsible for leading the engineering and execution of numerous high-profile projects in the New York City area, with a particular focus on VRF systems. During this time, Artis presented technical seminars at numerous ASHRAE events.
Desiring to spend more time working with engineering design and systems applications, he moved into a technical sales role. He called on mechanical engineers to work on system selection, application, and design for numerous projects in the high-end residential, hospitality, K-12, and commercial office markets. During this time, Artis has helped to advance the application for VRF systems by developing new ways to apply and design these systems to meet design requirements for markets where VRF had previously not been used.
Company: Ary Company AC & Heat
Mark Ary was raised working with his father in his small, three-person business, learning his father’s love for the trade. When Ary graduated, he was not sure of his future. He was fortunate to be able to travel the globe, working different jobs and soaking up knowledge. Within a couple of years, his love for family and the family business brought him home.
Ary took over the the company after the sudden loss of his father. With his keen business sense, he knew the half-million-dollar business had to grow. He hired some key employees and started selling jobs. With sheer drive and determination, Ary has turned that small, three-person business into a profitable $3 million company after just three years.
The company is on pace to do $4.5 million this year, and Ary has a goal to soon have a fully staffed second location.
Company: Daikin North America LLC
Title: Vice President, VRV Products and Applications
Chris Bellshaw has already spent the majority of his life, 22 years, serving the HVAC industry — with a profound focus on VRV/VRF technology and applications.
Born, raised, and schooled in Scotland, he began working for Daikin UK in 2002. Bellshaw was only 26 years old when he accepted an opportunity that meant leaving his homeland.
Settling in at Daikin US, Bellshaw took on a new lead technical role — part of the inaugural team that would bring Daikin VRV and ductless products to North America. Bellshaw joined other engineers, marketing, and sales personnel to launch Daikin AC (Americas).
He played a pivotal product strategy and development role at Daikin as it adapted VRV, ductless, and inverter technology to a North American market.
Today, Bellshaw manages core teams for Daikin VRV, covering product development, controls product development, and sales tools. In April, he earned a promotion from director of VRV product marketing to vice president of VRV products and applications.
“New product development has always been a big driver in my career,” Bellshaw said. “My goal is to continue to bring new and innovative HVAC solutions to the North American market that help drive energy efficiency, sustainably, and customer delight.”
Company: Comfort Institute
Title: Director of Digital Marketing
Andrew Bethel is the epitome of the meld between old and new school. He built his first website when he was just 7 years old and sold his first item online two years later. That was in 1994, before online shopping was a thing, before there were official websites or even webpages of any kind that offered anything but plain text. And from that point forward, the young Bethel was captivated by the growing power of the internet and its unique ability to reach and persuade people.
As director of digital marketing for the Comfort Institute, Bethel combines the lessons he learned while managing marketing programs for multi-channel top 500 companies with his growing fascination of delivering massive upward growth to small businesses. That old and new sensibility drove Bethel to lead the team that created, launched, and now manages MarketLeader, an HVAC digital marketing program.
Bethel is not only creating unique marketing tools that combine traditional HVAC strategies with internet capabilities, but he also is one of the next generation of marketers that is forging new roads into the future of marketing for HVAC professionals.
Company: B&B Energy Systems Inc.
Thomas Bissmeyer has the career goal of following both his father and grandfather as a manufacturer’s rep of HVAC systems.
“I got involved in the industry by watching my father support and educate my four brothers and myself through his work as a manufacturer’s rep in the HVAC industry,” Bissmeyer said.
Bissmeyer is founder and president of B&B Energy Systems, an Indiana-based multi-state manufacturer’s rep agency. The company has grown to 15 employees in just two years. He is also the youngest president of an ASHRAE chapter in America — the Central Illinois Chapter — and travels the country promoting HVAC efficiency to help firms save energy.
One of Bissmeyer’s most notable accomplishments occurred this year when his firm was named NIPSCO Energy Ally of the Year for promoting energy savings in Midwestern industrial plants.
He also serves on the board of the Association of Energy Engineers.
Company: Kettle Moraine Heating & Air Conditioning
After his father passed away at the age of 52, Bill Brink’s mother closed the business in the late 1990s. In 2006, Brink and his sister decided to reopen it.
“My sister’s background was accounting and mine, HVAC, as I continued in the trade after high school,” Brink said. “We were partners for 11 years. In that short time frame, we grew the business every year with blood, sweat, and tears.”
They grew the business from two employees to 49. The growing company now does $8.5 million of revenue each year. The company has received the Lennox Industries Circle of Excellence Award three years in a row.
Brink also teaches HVAC at the local technical college.
Company: Atlantic Westchester
Title: Project Manager and Design Engineer
Since joining Atlantic Westchester in 2012, Tom Burbank has been invaluable to the team. Burbank is a project manager and design engineer. In that role, he develops and designs HVAC and energy efficiency solutions for commercial and industrial buildings across the New York Metro area.
Once developed, he then manages and implements the design of the project.
Burbank’s dedication and knowledge has led him to be involved in a diverse range of HVAC projects over the years.
In college, Burbank took a course on the principles of sustainable energy, which originally piqued his desire to be involved in the energy efficiency field. Atlantic Westchester was developing an energy department prior to his employment. When he joined Atlantic Westchester, he spearheaded and helped further develop and enhance the program. Burbank has successfully co-managed a variety of projects in institutions and large buildings, such as schools, religious facilities, retirement communities, and apartment complexes, helping clients receive over $100,000 in rebates. He has partnered and coordinated with multiple energy companies, electricians, control contractors, and plumbers to oversee the design and execution of a project.
“I hope to continue to change the way commercial buildings run and operate today by designing and implementing energy-intelligent systems,” Burbank said.
Title: Product Function Expert
Bruce Busby started working with Danfoss as an application engineer in 2004, soon after earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Since the beginning of his career, Busby has contributed significantly to the growth of the HVACR industry and to the growth of Danfoss in the North American market.
During his time as an application engineer, and later as an HVAC field systems engineer, Busby was the key driving force for the 13-SEER conversion of the U.S. residential market to thermostatic expansion valves. Busby was also the key contributor to drive the growth of Danfoss TR6 valves in the North American market to 15 million valves sold to date. As a key account manager, Busby continued to build on his technical expertise, his strong relationships with industry influencers and thought leaders, and the vast support network within Danfoss to train and educate OEMs, wholesalers, and contractors on technology and trade know-how. Busby has played an important role in driving the adoption of oil-free and other pioneering technologies in the HVAC industry. In his current role as product function expert, Busby is collaborating with the entire HVACR value chain to help bring new, innovative solutions to the industry.
Company: JAX Refrigeration
Title: Director of Mechanical Department
Under Raymond Chin’s direction, the JAX Mechanical department of JAX Refrigeration has grown to a true statewide service presence. In addition to the home office of Jacksonville, Florida, the department established territory service managers in Miami, Tampa, and Orlando in 2017. In the past year, he has also introduced new technologies to help increase efficiency and development of the field and project management staff, aiding in future growth. Within the past 18 months, since helping establish JAX Mechanical, Chin has strategically assembled key hires and project managers. The department’s mechanical service team has grown to 13 service technicians, and the department’s overall revenue has more than tripled. He also joined the JAX executive team in 2017.
“I would like to continue to foster a company culture that promotes forward thinking,” Chin said. “I believe it is important for providers to keep an open mind toward the growth and inevitable changes that occur in our HVAC industry and keep it moving ahead in a positive direction. Most importantly, I want to always embrace the drive for solution-based service. My goal is to be more than just an HVAC service provider: to be an HVAC solution provider.”
Company: Stewart’s Heating & Air Conditioning
Dustin Drew is not only an accomplished business owner and HVAC technician, but he is also a teacher and a staple in the local community. He attended Sauk Valley Community College, where he obtained his associate’s in HVAC, and got into the field shortly thereafter. In 2014, he purchased Stewart’s Heating & Air Conditioning, and since then, the business has seen almost 40 percent growth.
Since the purchase in 2014, Stewart’s has also purchased two other HVAC companies (Wohrley Heating and Ed King Plumbing). With Drew at the helm, Stewart’s has given back to the community in many ways, including working with organizations such as the Dixon Main Street & River Front, Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce, Petunia Festival, Lee County Honor Flight (for veterans), and many others.
Drew is also a professor and advocate for the trades. He is currently an instructor at Sauk Valley Community College, where he teaches refrigeration, sheet metal, heating, and controls several days a week.
Company: HomeService Chats
Title: COO and Co-owner
Trevor Flannigan served as director of operations for a residential plumbing and HVAC business in Kansas City from 2013 to 2017 while he acquired his master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Flannigan helped the company grow to over 75 trucks and more than $21 million in revenue, hiring more than 150 technicians along the way.
As director of operations, Flannigan excelled in all the various divisions of the company. He expertly managed the human resources department, demonstrating a natural aptitude in hiring and placement, and his work with the marketing department directly affected the revenue of the company, leading to much of its growth. Flannigan also gained valuable experience while serving over the fleet, warehouse, and IT divisions, but it was his experience with the call center that set him on his current path.
Flannigan now serves as chief operating officer for HomeServiceChats, a website chat company for the home services industry. HomeServiceChats employs live chat experts who engage website visitors, help answer questions, and then direct the visitors appropriately. The company was founded in February 2017.
Company: Lee’s Air Conditioning, Heating, and Building Performance
Title: General Manager
Tyson Freeman started in the industry in his early 20s, when he was hired by an energy testing company to test the efficiency of a/c units in order to get rebate money. He didn’t really know much about the industry, but it was a start. Later, he pursued a degree in mechanical engineering.
During his sophomore year, he was hired by Lee’s Air in Fresno, California, to be a draftsman. There, he designed ductwork for remodels. He quickly learned the business, and after graduating college, he became the general manager of Lee’s Air. When he assumed the role, the company had $5 million in annual sales. Three years later, the company is going to surpass $13 million in annual sales.
Freeman personally led the company’s changeover to a new service software called ServiceTitan. He became well known by the software company, and he currently assists in testing and providing product feedback on a weekly basis.
Company: The BP Group
Jonathan Giaramita is a newcomer to the HVAC industry.
Giaramita came to The BP Group as its chief financial officer two years ago by way of Villanova University (bachelor’s in finance), Columbia Business School (master’s in business administration), and Brooklyn Law School (Juris Doctor).
He has used his wide-ranging education to bring new ideas, analytical skills, and professionalism to a company and industry that is rapidly changing and in need of young, dynamic leaders.
The BP Group is a diverse $100 million mechanical company based in New York.
Immediately upon being hired, Giaramita was thrown head-first into an ongoing ownership transition. The existing partners were contemplating a choice between executing a management buyout plan or an employee stock option plan (ESOP).
He successfully navigated the financial intricacies and the emotions of such an important, complicated decision.
“My ultimate goal is to continue BP Group’s growth path and solidify our company as the premier HVAC service and construction company within the greater New York area,” Giaramita said. “There are four key components to this growth objective: transparency for our clients, talent within, acquisitions of valuable partners, and a great culture.”
Company: Air Water Energy (AWE)
Title: Vice President
Kristi Grimm got involved in the HVAC industry at a young age.
“My Dad, Ray Grimm, started the business over 32 years ago in the basement of our home,” she said. “I guess it’s in my blood. In all seriousness, though, I have worked in the company on and off since high school. In August of 2010, I decided that it truly is in my blood. The company, the employees, the clients — they are all my family.”
Over time, she has risen to the position of vice president, with many accomplishments along the way, including being awarded the 2017 Lennox Dealer of the Year award.
Grimm still has a lot to give the HVAC industry.
“My main career goals are to continue to be the trustworthy company that we are and to continue to educate all of our current clients — and future clients — of the importance of the quality of their indoor air,” Grimm said.
Company: Sheet Metal Workers Local 20
From the years of his apprenticeship, Brent Hoag wanted to eventually become an instructor for Sheet Metal Workers Local 20, his home local in Indiana.
Hoag graduated from the apprenticeship program in 2016. When he was a journeyman fresh out of the apprentice program, Tim Myres, former Local 20 training director, hired Hoag for his motivation, passion for the trade, and his ability to work well with apprentices and fellow instructors.
In 2017, he volunteered as a proctor in the 2017 Indiana Apprentice Contest. As a former winner of the contest, Hoag was instrumental in the planning, writing, and facilitation of the competition.
Months later, he attended his first instructor class and moved his family to Indianapolis to take an instructor position.
“The next goal I have for myself is to become a coordinator for an area or entire local,” Hoag said. “I know this goal will take some time to reach, so as for now, I am taking as many classes as I can to better prepare myself for the future.”
Company: Nice Home Services
Title: Master HVAC Install Manager
Mike Hudson has been in the industry since he was 18. During the construction boom, he started new homes. He worked hard to understand airflow and design and was able to lay out ductwork designs on his own quickly. Shortly after, he began his formal education in the HVAC world and gained all of his North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certifications. He then became a field manager at a small but busy HVAC install company.
He led many teams in their growth and development and also coordinated to meet deadlines of multiple builders.
“At the age of 18, I found the work was intriguing and challenging,” Hudson said. “I decided to learn everything I could, from roughing out new construction homes to diagnostics of complex systems. And 20 years later, I am still passionate about what I do.”
Today, he is the master HVAC install manager with Nice Home Services.
His HVAC career goal is to create a training system that allows students to learn real-world HVAC installation in a classroom environment.
Company: Ingersoll Rand
Title: Director of Channel Marketing for the Residential Heating & Air Conditioning Business
Hultgren has spent over 15 years in the HVAC industry. She started her career working in sales of commercial HVAC products and systems. From there, she moved into product management and other marketing roles in Trane’s aftermarket business and is currently the director of channel marketing for the residential and supply HVAC business of Ingersoll Rand. In this role, she supports dealers and distributors of both the Trane and American Standard brands through loyalty programs, local marketing advertising support, and tools and training. She believes success in this business comes from understanding all levels of customer needs.
“HVAC touches each of us every day and provides customers in many different forms,” said Hultgren. “From consumers to contractors to facilities managers, each customer has different needs and priorities. I am passionate about understanding these needs and helping to make their experiences better. The industry is changing so rapidly due to the changes in digital and the changing expectations of customer experience. My goal is to help our customers understand and navigate these changes to help grow their business and to provide the best experience to our end consumers.”
Company: Masterworks Mechanical
Title: Commercial/Residential Service Technician
Technician Thorin Jackson is on a mission to continually improve himself, not resting until his improvements are reflected in his completed work and that of his co-workers.
This 21-year-old has successfully been certified by National Comfort Institute (NCI) in combustion and carbon monoxide and residential air balance, and he is studying for North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification.
He was trained in-house, on the job, and at home. He has installed plumbing, heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning. Jackson is a service technician for forced-air and hydronic heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, air balance, and carbon monoxide troubleshooting and repair. He is a resource for his co-workers for ingenious repair options that they may not have considered.
“I have already accomplished more than I could have ever dreamed for, but now that I have a path, I would like to become a factory representative in either sales or service,” Jackson said. “I am proud to call myself an HVACR technician.”
Company: Thermostat Recycling Corp.
Title: Executive Director
Ryan Kiscaden started his HVAC career in the distribution field, but he now serves as the executive director of the Thermostat Recycling Corp. (TRC). In his first year working with the organization, he assisted in helping TRC recover 12 percent more mercury containing thermostats than the prior year. They did this through marketing campaigns, on-site visits, and working with existing relationships.
He increased operational efficiencies in rebate processing, collection data integration, and reporting. Now, TRC is capable of tracking in almost real time, thus adding specificity and the ability to gauge where their numbers are in the collection process. The organization amplifies these results in its Big Man on Planet award, recognizing those HVACR wholesalers who have been the most active in recycling.
“I’m inspired by how others deploy servant leadership, and one of my HVAC goals would be to follow the cadre of large footsteps before me,” said Kiscaden. “I also want to help ensure that this industry continues to attract and engage the strongest talent. HVAC continues to have a perception problem, and my generation can help others be encouraged to consider HVAC as the lucrative career path that it is.”
Company: Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US
Title: Commercial Sales Manager, West Business Unit
With a passion for sustainability and a love of energy-efficient HVAC technology, Charles Landherr is an accomplished sales manager and engineer with 12 years of experience in HVAC.
His interest in the HVAC field started early. After graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, Landherr began his career at The Joyce Agency, Chantilly, Virginia, working as a sales engineer in its HVAC division. It was there that he first learned about VRF and, subsequently, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Landherr joined Mitsubishi Electric as a commercial area sales manager in 2008.
Since that time, Landherr’s enthusiasm for the product and building industry clients has been invaluable. While at Mitsubishi Electric, he has been promoted to regional sales manager and then to his current role as commercial sales manager. In this position, he manages the entire sales team in Mitsubishi Electric’s Western Business Unit, ensuring each sales rep understands the needs of the HVAC industry and what products can meet those needs.
“I want to continue to grow in a leadership position so that I can manage and mentor the sales team,” Landherr said.
Company: Laury Heating and Cooling
Title: Director of Sales
As a fourth-generation family business owner, David Laury continues Laury Heating’s legacy of integrity and dedication to meeting customers’ HVAC needs.
His role in the company has changed over the years from being an HVAC technician apprentice to performing air sealing and weatherization upgrades to becoming a residential HVAC design and sales representative.
Laury is a leading participant in New Jersey’s Home Performance with Energy Star program. Since January 2015, he has personally designed and completed 461 projects through this program, saving New Jersey residents 25 percent or more on energy costs with each project. These 461 projects are part of the 1,236 total HVAC projects designed and sold by Laury within this time period.
“Laury Heating is a fourth-generation family business that has earned a strong reputation in South Jersey for excellent quality and service,” he said. “It is my shared goal to build on this reputation and continue bringing the best to our customers and our employees for many years to come.”
Company: Service Professionals of Florida
Title: General Manager
Abigail MacDonald’s involvement in the HVAC industry began at the young age of 23, as a graduate from James Madison University. She walked in as a novice, without realizing she was about to embark on her career path.
“Since my early beginnings, I have had to learn the ropes from not only the administrative standpoint, but most importantly, be primed on a technical level,” MacDonald said. “I have obtained my MBA and have evolved into the position as general manager. To be a female in the HVAC industry has empowered me to raise the standards and become part of a movement where the ceiling has not only become limitless but a land of opportunity.”
One of her proudest accomplishments was spearheading a rebranding campaign of the company logo from its 2005 inception. The campaign called for a bolder, stronger, and more modern brand that could carry them for many years to come.
“One of my goals is to promote consistent growth in our company, coupled with a commitment to quality service, which is guided by ethics in the forefront,” MacDonald said.
Company: Combined Air Mechanical
Title: Refrigeration and Gas Technician
While Gary McCreadie does great work as a refrigeration and gas technician with Combined Air Mechanical, a big reason he is on the Top 40 list has nothing to do with his day job.
McCreadie is the host of the HVAC Know It All podcast and creator of the HVAC Know It All website. It is a place where industry people can get tech tips, tool reviews, technical literature, and a blog. He also carried the sarcastic “HVAC Know It All” title to social media. McCreadie is active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
“The goal of it all is to bring continued positivity to the industry,” McCreadie said.
He began his HVAC career after his father suggested it to him.
“I entered a course at Humber College in Toronto for refrigeration and enjoyed it,” McCreadie said.
His future goals in the industry are to become fully licensed and to grow his podcast and website.
Company: McWilliams and Son Heating and Air
Title: Vice President
Since 2010, Trey McWilliams has taken the family-owned company from $1.5 million to over $7 million in annual revenue.
“I started when I was 10 years old, holding tools for my grandpa while he ran service,” McWilliams said. “I continued to learn and build on what my grandfather taught me mechanically for many years in my own service truck. As I got a little older, my dad taught me the business side of things. He showed me the ropes, and then he handed me the ropes. He’s been by my side every step of the way, and both my dad and my grandfather were huge in helping our company grow to where it is today.”
In 2017, the company received the Small Business of the Year award from the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce and earned the Trailblazer Award from Service Nation Alliance.
Williams has invested heavily into the community to support numerous nonprofit groups. He implemented programs and procedures that help the company grow in a healthy manner. He will share his successes and his failures with other owners and actively participates in programs with Service Roundtable.
Company: Daikin North America LLC
Title: Manager, VRV Regulatory Affairs
Richie Mohan joined the HVAC industry as an associate certification engineer at Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). His primary responsibilities included managing third-party certification programs for HVAC equipment, coordination and communication of the HVAC industry’s position on rulemakings to federal and state authorities, and developing and revising industry performance standards. Four years later, he joined Daikin North America LLC to head the VRV regulatory affairs activities at the federal, state, and local level and oversee compliance of Daikin VRV products to pertinent energy and safety codes, regulations, and standards.
“I aim to drive the growth and market adoption of more energy-efficient HVAC solutions in the United States, which will incorporate innovations such as Internet of Things, smart connected homes, big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning,” Mohan said. “These innovations, while in their adolescent stage, have immense potential in reshaping the HVAC industry.”
Mohan has been an active member of ASHRAE for six years and has participated in a wide range of committees for the development of ASHRAE and AHRI standards and other activities.
Company: Forrest Anderson Plumbing and AC Inc.
Since taking a leadership position in the family business eight years ago, Audrey Monell has been determined to uphold the company values that her grandfather, Forrest Anderson, instilled when he first launched the company in 1961.
“My No. 1 goal is to continue my family’s legacy of doing right by the customer and create an amazing work environment where everyone feels appreciated and respected,” Monell said. “My goals specifically within the HVAC industry are to have an almost paperless process for the techs and customers and to grow our service department by being a leader in the high-tech side of HVAC.”
In the past few years, she has reduced many obstacles that slowed down technicians by introducing a paperless timecard system, setting up mobile payment processing, and transitioning to paperless invoicing.
This year, the company earned an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau and became a finalist for the BBB Torch Award for high ethical practices. It has also been named among the Top Mechanical Contractors for three years in a row by the Phoenix Business Journal.
Company: Excel Heating & Cooling
Title: President and Co-Owner
Jay Monger grew up working for the family business, a local lumber and building supply store, as part of its fourth generation. He wanted to own a business, but he did not want to be in competition with the family. The opportunity arose to become the co-owner of Excel Steel and run the HVAC division.
“I didn’t know anything about HVAC in 2012 except that it kept my house and businesses comfortable and that I should change the air filters every so often,” Monger said.
It proved to be the correct decision, as Monger has been the catalyst enabling a 500 percent increase in revenue over the last five years at Excel Heating and Cooling.
He has introduced innovations in sales and marketing that quickly made Excel visible and viable in the marketplace.
From a highly focused advertising campaign across multiple platforms to the adoption of tools that communicate quickly and clearly with customers, Monger advocates for accuracy and insight into Excel’s operations.
He was runner-up for the ACCA Contractor of the Year award in 2016.
Company: Robies Refrigeration
Title: Service Manager/Foreman
At the age of 16, Cameron Natale joined Robies Refrigeration as part of the co-op program at the local technical high school that he attended. His talent and potential were immediately evident. He soon became a full-time apprentice and, in quick succession, became the youngest service technician in the company’s history. What set Natale apart was his desire to learn and improve. He understood that no technician could ever master this field and that he needed to constantly study and stay current on emerging products and technology.
He soon became the “go-to” technician on the team, and within a brief time, became a lead service technician. For other technicians, he became a lifeline for technical assistance and troubleshooting. Soon, his talent and work ethic lead to a promotion, where Natale was selected to succeed the current general manager as the installation and service manager/foreman. In this role, he still serves as a leader for the service team, mentoring young technicians and offering constant technical and troubleshooting support.
“My goal has always been to lead by example and deliver top-quality service/installations with the top-quality brands,” Natale said.
Company: Yearout Service
Title: HVAC Service Tech
Michael Offutt was able to obtain his mechanical contractor’s license at the age of 23. This was after graduating from Burlington County Institute of Technology in New Jersey.
“While there, I completed four years of an HVAC service trade school,” Offutt said. “I learned a lot of extremely useful knowledge there from my teacher, John Demree. If it were not for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Offutt is currently a commercial service technician for Yearout Service.
“My future HVAC goal is to expand my knowledge in the mechanical field,” Offutt said. “I want to learn more about items such as chillers and low-temp systems.”
Title: Partner, Executive Director
Nick Sattler is helping bring high-level manufacturers and mechanical contractors together. He oversees an invite-only summit called MechanicalXchange that brings in the senior teams from some of the largest design build contracting firms in the U.S. to meet with the senior teams of leading manufacturers over a two-day period. All meetings are vetted and prequalified leading up to MechanicalXchange, making it possible to create real results in a short amount of time.
“My job is to make sure we have the right people participating on both the contractor and manufacturer sides, which ensures significant results for all participants every year,” Sattler said.
Since taking over MechanicalXchange in 2014, Sattler has grown the event from 20 contractors and 25 manufacturers to 30 contractors and 35 manufacturers. The buying power of the contractors at the 2018 MechanicalXchange is at an all-time high of $6 billion.
“My goal is to be known throughout the HVAC industry as the ‘go-to guy’ for helping improve and enhance strategic partnerships between contractors and manufacturers at MechanicalXchange,” Sattler said.
Company: Johnson Controls Inc.
Title: Engineering Manager
After graduating from Grove City College with a mechanical engineering degree, Jeb Schreiber accepted a position at York Intl. in the engineering training program. That is where he was first exposed to real-world HVAC applications as opposed to the theory found in textbooks. Understanding the connection to how the industry works sparked an interest in HVAC that has carried him through numerous research and development projects during his career.
Today, Schreiber is the lead chiller engineer for the York® YZ magnetic bearing centrifugal chiller. He was instrumental in leading a global team to design the chiller in a way that would further unlock the efficiency benefit of R-1233zd (E). As the lead chiller engineer, he coordinated with all the key component engineering teams — variable-speed drive, motor, and compressor — to make sure that they designed the driveline to specifications that would give the chiller the widest possible operating map.
Schreiber holds six patents and has 20 patent applications related to his innovative work on centrifugal chillers. The ideas he has seen come to fruition reduce energy use and save building owners over thousands of dollars annually in their energy budgets.
Company: Parker Hannifin — Sporlan Division
Title: Applications Engineering Manager
Dustin Searcy started his career in the HVACR industry with Parker Sporlan in May 2006 as a sales engineer assigned to the Tulsa, Oklahoma, territory. He attended the career fair at college each year and saw the Sporlan banner and recognized the company from his hometown. He would talk to the recruiter each year, and once graduation was near, he went back to set up the interview.
In the role of sales engineer, he worked closely with customers to troubleshoot system and component problems and helped others design air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
Returning home after five years in Tulsa, Searcy became an application engineer for supermarkets and was part of the food retail market focused team. He studied trends and built relationships with industry customers and end users, investigating their problems and ways for Sporlan to improve its product offering.
Searcy also has a patent under his belt for an indoor and outdoor ambient-condition-driven system for an advanced refrigeration control system.
He now holds the title of application engineering manager and leads a team of seven application engineers.
Title: Director of Marketing, HVACR Aftermarket
Morgan Silvey has a unique story about how he got involved in the HVAC industry.
“I was awarded an internship with Fleishman Hillard while attending undergraduate studies at Truman State University,” he said. “As the investor relations intern, I worked on a myriad of accounts. Two of the accounts were Emerson and Manitowoc. When I graduated from college, employers noted my internship experience with HVACR and connected with my work history.”
After working for Regal for eight years in the manufacturing and marketing groups, he joined Nidec and is now the director of marketing.
One of his biggest accomplishments was being selected by Nidec to learn at the prestigious Japanese Business School.
“I was fortunate enough to be one of the 20 managers invited for the sessions in 2018,” said Silvey. “The meetings place emphasis on high-profile business case studies, exercises in building company success, cultural exploration, and new product platform concepts. The pillars of Nidec — passion, enthusiasm, and tenacity — are securely at the forefront.”
Company: One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Title: Marketing Coordinator
Since arriving in Virginia over a decade ago, Lauren Smith has established herself as a marketing leader in the community.
In her current position as marketing coordinator, she uses all of her skills by photographing team events, writing informative blogs, and organizing and attending media opportunities.
She effectively communicates with multiple business partners, as she works with television and radio account executives and oversees third parties that manage the company’s websites and advertising campaigns.
She manages multiple email campaigns at One Hour and works hard to increase awareness of the business.
Smith currently manages Classic Air’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning’s philanthropic initiative, One Hour Cares, by communicating directly with local nonprofit organizations. She organizes meetings and volunteer opportunities so the entire One Hour team can learn about each group. She also coordinates media events to gain more exposure for their chosen causes.
“I want to continue to guide One Hour’s team of brand ambassadors to reinforce our mission to serve our customers, our community, and each other,” Smith said. “I also aim to bring awareness to the career opportunities available within the HVAC industry — for men and women.”
Title: Commercial Segment Manager
Aaron Stotko’s professional experience started after he received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He became the HVAC designer for AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minnesota, working for Jamar Mechanical. He then moved on to Uponor in 2010, where he was went from product marketing intern to product specialist to associate product manager for the heating and cooling department, before being promoted to his current role as manager for the commercial segment. His responsibilities have included a residential radiant heating and cooling indoor climate study, marketing and product management for the company’s Ecoflex pre-insulated piping systems and hydronic piping systems, and managing the radiant application product portfolio.
He is a professional member of ASHRAE as well as the Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) and is actively involved in both industry associations. He was recently elected treasurer of the Minnesota chapter of ASHRAE.
In January 2016, he was one of five exceptional individuals under the age of 30 to receive RPA’s distinguished award recognizing “Rising Radiant Professionals — the Hydronics Industry’s Future Leaders.”
Company: Blue Ridge Heating & Cooling Inc.
Title: Vice President
From an early age, Stueber enjoyed learning about the HVACR industry. She held several positions at her father’s company throughout high school, college, and during her first career as a science teacher.
Approximately 15 years ago, when her dad had become ill in the middle of the summer, Stueber took a leave of absence from her career to help, and she never went back to teaching.
“Since then, it has been my goal to learn as much as possible about the industry,” Stueber said. “My long-term goal is to be a successful business owner and a well-respected woman in the HVACR industry. My focus and passion over the next couple of years is to bring back good old-fashioned customer service and restore consumers’ faith in the craftsmanship of the trades.”
Stueber has held several positions within the company, splitting her time between the office and the field. Her work ethic is exemplary and sets the standard for others. Her office duties include accounts payable and receivable, human resources, marketing, hiring and firing, and managing 10 employees. In the field, she performs service calls, maintenance, and estimates in addition to quality assurance checks.
Company: Sensible Air Systems Inc.
Jason Thompson started his career in HVAC as a helper in field work at 18. A mere 14 years later, he was starting and building his new company from the ground up. Thompson started his company in 2015 with two employees and has grown it to 13 employees. He holds his mechanical contracting license in two states — North Carolina and South Carolina — and is in the process of obtaining a third state license. Since starting Sensible Air Systems, the company has recently changed locations to provide the team with a larger space to incorporate his next venture of fabricating its own ductwork and accessories.
He has grown the company to $4 million in sales in just under four years
“My biggest career goal was to start a commercial HVAC company, Sensible Air Systems Inc.,” Thompson said. “Now my focuses are to continue to grow our contracting and service business across multiple states in the Southeast.”
Company: North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council
Title: Executive Director
Danielle Wright is the leader of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), an action-oriented environmental nonprofit that is creating a more sustainable future for supermarket refrigeration through natural refrigerants. NASRC is tackling the unique challenges that are slowing the progress of natural refrigerants in North American markets, such as outdated codes and standards, the availability of trained service technicians, and economies of scale.
Wright has brought together close to 90 organizations in just over two years, including equipment manufacturers, service contractors, and end users. About half of NASRC’s members are supermarket end-user companies. She leads a board of directors made up of HillPhoenix, True Mfg. Source Refrigeration, KW Refrigerant Management Strategy, Parker/Sporlan/Micro Thermo, Bitzer, Danfoss, Carter Retail Equipment, Target, and Whole Foods.
“My goal is to create a win-win solution for the industry to transition to more environmentally sustainable operations and practices,” Wright said.
Wright and the organization have saved California grocers an estimated $13 million in energy costs through refrigeration efficiency retrofit projects.
Company: Dakota Supply Group
Title: Branch Manager
While going to college in Texas, Karl Wrobel started and ran his own HVAC contracting business. He did this for some time after graduation but ultimately wanted to get back to his Midwestern roots. With this pursuit, Wrobel joined JP Cullen, a large commercial general contractor in Wisconsin. He quickly impressed the principals of that organization and was promoted to a leadership role.
Wrobel then joined W.A. Roosevelt (acquired by Dakota Supply Group in 2012) in a newly created role of HVAC commercial manager, a role he held for roughly two years. During that time, he transformed what was a small, unmanaged part of the business to a significant piece of W.A. Roosevelt’s overall HVAC segment. The company then promoted Wrobel to another newly created position of sales manager. This business does roughly half of its volume in the electrical segment, and the remaining 50 percent is split between plumbing and HVAC. Finally, he was promoted to the branch manager role in 2014 and is now responsible for the entire operation in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
“I am passionate about the HVAC business,” Wrobel said.
Publication date: 8/27/2018