At a time when many companies are cutting back, Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing is stepping up the investment in its most valuable asset — its employees. In late March, as the COVID-19 case count continued to climb, Goettl CEO Ken Goodrich announced that he is spending $1.5 million to install UV-C germicidal lights in the homes of the company’s 623 employees.

And what started as Goettl’s gift to employees has become a call to action to other service providers across the industry to step up, too.

“I believe that it's incumbent upon all business owners to make sure their people are taken care of — certainly at all times, but when we have a time where I can do something that's relative to the conditions out in the world, I think it's just my responsibility to do that,” said Goodrich.



Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing is a residential service modernization company, focused on replacement, with operations in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and California. As with other businesses deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, Goettl’s technicians are still hard at work to keep the a/c on and the water running clean while their communities are hunkered down.

In Phoenix, where the average highs reach 86°F in April and 94°F in May, the word “essential” takes on a sense of urgency as the pandemic stretches into the springtime months.

“I have always promoted to my people that air condition is not a luxury — it's a life support system,” Goodrich said. “Certainly in this time, with families huddled at home, you need reliable HVAC and plumbing systems because they certainly will be put to the test by just plain use.”

Goettl employees aren’t exempt from that need, and as technicians are a critical resource for essential home services, Goodrich is committed to doing as much as possible to help ensure they stay safe and healthy during this public health crisis.

“Because we're an essential service, we're absolutely necessary to our customers,” said Dale Steele, Goettl’s vice president of sales. “Right now, people are having to spend more time at home. Some employees are working from home. And there's lots of concern and uncertainty.”

The company has already taken steps like separating call center staff and enabling employees to advance their PTO so they can stay home and recover if they get sick. Goodrich said he’s heard a lot of concern from wives and family members of both his technicians and the call center administrative staff.

“We want to make sure that our employees know we care about them and that we want to make sure they're protected,” he said.



That’s where the in-home UV systems come in.

Goettl Air Conditioning.

More time at home will likely make customers more aware of their HVAC needs, Goodrich said.

“We promote indoor air quality — I’m a big proponent of that, always have them in my home,” Goodrich said. “We know that it does take care of certain bacteria and viruses. The COVID-19 … I don’t know, I won’t make that claim. But one of our explanations is, let’s keep people as healthy as possible and keep them out of the doctor’s office. And it just gives me peace of mind when I come home and with all the stuff you watch on TV, you think ‘Well, at least my air’s cleaned and purified.’ I wanted to make sure that I let people know and care about them to care about their families. I wanted to give them peace of mind.

Goodrich said the response has been tremendously positive.

“I’ve gotten everything from thumbs-up to wives calling me crying,” he said. “Don’t ever underestimate giving people peace of mind. It’s a very powerful thing.”

Steele added that this gift to employees carries over to the homeowners who are Goettl’s clients.

“A lot of our customers right now, they love to see us,” he said. “We're like a shining light for them. We show up at their homes, and for a lot of people, we might be the only person they see this week. And if you put the employees first, they're going to take the best care of the customers. They really are one and the same.”



Now Goodrich is calling on fellow service providers to join him in fighting the good fight. In an interview for “To the Point,” a home services podcast hosted by Ryno Strategic Solutions, Goodrich challenged his peers to use their resources to help their employees and community members who are undertaking the essential services that keep Americans safe during this crisis — and then share the message by posting about it with the hashtag #HeartForHomeServices.

Goettl CEO Ken Goodrich.

Goodrich challenged his peers to use their resources to help their employees and community members who are undertaking the essential services that keep Americans safe during this crisis.

Middletown, New York-based WK Mechanical Heating & Cooling Comfort Pros was among the first HVAC contractors to pick up the challenge. On April 3, WK posted on its Facebook page that the company is giving a free home air filter to health care workers living or working in Orange County to make sure they have clean air to breathe in the safety of their homes.

“We want to give back to the entire health care worker community for going above and beyond to make sure the health of community our stays strong,” said co-owner Steve Conforti.

Goodrich called the message one of unity.

“I think that we could send a great message,” he said, “that we’re united as tradesfellows … that we care about our people who care about our customers and we care about our community.”