Tony Meier’s distribution roots run deep. He represents the fourth generation at Meier Supply as his great-grandfather started the company in 1957.

As a kid, Meier would pass the time sweeping the floors and stocking shelves. He formally joined the team in 2004. After a year in the Rochester branch warehouse, Meier moved to the counter, where he spent the next 10 years working inside sales, as an assistant branch manager, and as a branch manager. Five years ago, he was promoted to the role of business development manager.

“The role of the distributor in our industry continues to evolve, and our customers rely heavily on us as business partners to provide products, information, technical training, business advice, etc.,” said the 37-year-old Meier. “We play an essential role to our customers' success, and that is incredibly rewarding.”

While there’s always a stigma attached to growing up in a family business, Meier has made it his personal mission to earn his place along with the respect of his peers.

“The culture here at Meier Supply makes it pretty tough not to get fired up about work,” he said.

Meier served as the chair of Meier Supply’s inaugural Supply Core Development leadership program, has graduated from HARDI's Emerging Leaders program, is a Dale Carnegie graduate, and was recognized as Meier Supply’s Employee of the Year in 2015.

“I aspire to help Meier Supply achieve continued growth that is profitable and sustainable,” Meier said. “That would keep me happy for many years.”

While the next generation may think a little differently, it’s important that employers embrace those differences as the industry continues to evolve, he said.

“I see a lot of similarities between my generation and the next generation regarding forward thinking, work ethic, ambition, etc.,” he said. “One major difference is that the younger group seems to have a higher need for big-picture communication. They want to know what opportunities lie ahead and what their career paths could look like, and rightfully so. Millennials are our future, and their age bracket is full of some incredibly bright and talented young people.”

When welcoming young talent to the team, Meier always encourages them to be patient and remain humble.

“You can’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty,” he said. “Additionally, transparency and open communication are key.”

Outside of work hours, Meier enjoys spending time with his two children, traveling, cooking, and playing piano. He’s also a podcast aficionado who boasts a playlist that canvases business, leadership, politics, sales, marketing, and more.

While the industry continues to accelerate at a breakneck speed, Meier insists HVACR distribution is equipped for the ride.

“It’s a pretty exciting time for our industry,” he said. “We’re dealing with lots of change and plenty of challenges, which both equal out to lots of opportunities for professional growth.”