With a culinary arts pedigree, David Lohrbach never in a million years expected to land in the HVACR industry.
“I was laid off from a restaurant I was working at and got a job at a warehouse pulling orders to make ends meet,” Lohrbach said. “I received a call from my uncle, who had worked in HVAC distribution, who said the company he was working for was expanding and needed an intelligent, aggressive young man to handle running the branch. I was extremely nervous about it, but I applied for the position. Low and behold, I ended up finding a career I never would have pictured myself in.”
Lohrbach’s stint with Peoria Distributors of Quality in Bartonville, Illinois, was short lived as the company closed in 2007. This left Lohrbach in search of a new employer yet again.
“Rogers Supply Co. was taking over distribution for Amana/Goodman in the area, and after a few interviews and excellent references from customers I had acquired during my time, I was hired on,” he said. “Eleven years later, I’m still here, running one of our most efficient warehouses in the Chicago market.”
During his time with Rogers Supply Co. Lohrbach has spent time as an Amana account specialist, counter sales, outside sales, and now serves as a branch manager — a position he’s held for the last six years.
“As branch manager, I quickly learned that time is money,” said Lohrbach, now 35 years old. “A service tech makes his company money when he is in the field. Owners don’t want guys standing around supply houses for an 30 minutes to an hour while their orders get pulled, etc., and we understand that and do our best to make sure our customers are making money in the field.”
Lohrbach’s favorite part of the industry remains the people he works with.
“This industry has made me open up more as a person and be more social,” he said. “Some of my customers are the nicest people in the world and would seriously give you the shirts off their backs. Even if I change positions or were to go somewhere else, these guys would always be considered friends.”
When it comes to the next generation of workers, Lohrbach insists they need to step up their drive.
“The new kids simply don’t have the work ethic of the previous generation,” he said. “It seems like no one had to earn their keep growing up, whether that was shoveling snow, mowing lawns, etc. Everyone just wants to show up, get $15 an hour, and put in a half day of work. Finding people who want to work is a struggle.”
When asked to identify the biggest change the industry is experiencing, Lohrbach answered, “Everything.”
“Everything’s changed this year, and it will all change again by next year,” he said. “If the industry is not moving forward, it is falling behind. That’s what keeps this job interesting.”
Publication date: 09/26/18
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