Name: CJ Hooper
Company: Winsupply of San Antonio HVAC
Number of Locations: 1
Number of Employees: 24
Year Founded: 2015
Main Lines: Johnson Controls, LG, Thermaflex
DISTRIBUTION TRENDS: As we're talking, there’s a lot of extreme weather in your part of the country. It has created quite a dangerous situation for a lot of folks, so I want to start by asking how your team is doing and how your operations, if any, have been doing through all this.
HOOPER: Everybody's safe. We made a decision to shelter in place, if you will, so actually today's our first day back. Most of our customers did the same thing — they were only running emergency calls, so it really wasn't a hindrance to our customer base at all for us to make the decision to keep our people safe and not have them risking anything out on the road.
So, the guys are excited to be back, and we're waiting for the storm of certain orders that are going to pile up over the next five to seven days. Some of our customers have 500 or 600 calls in the backlog, so the weather certainly creates opportunities.
DT: Is there a business leader outside of your company or someone from a different profession or discipline who influences you in your work?
HOOPER: The first person that comes to mind obviously is my dad. He's been in a distribution wholesale business my entire life, and he just retired last year. He was on the roofing side, but I've always gleaned a lot of information from him, and he’s always been a sounding board for me. There’s not many things that I've brought to him that he hadn't seen before. He's going to give me the information I maybe don't want to hear, but it's all good information and it's all stuff I need to hear, and it’s always steering me down the right path.
And I get a lot from sports, from places where you can see greatness in action. For example, Tom Brady, he’s the winningest quarterback of all time, and you can’t dispute that. We talk a lot about sports as a kind of storytelling, in that the way we attack the business is around being the best wholesaler ever.
DT: That’s not the first time that sports have come up in these conversations. It’s interesting how when you're a kid, you play those sports because they're fun, but you learn later in life that it was really a process of learning some lessons and some habits that you can apply later on.
HOOPER: Life’s a competition. Business is a competition, and the sports fields are a competition. So when you grew up playing sports, you can draw some similarities between the two. We talk about it all the time — this is our Super Bowl — this is what we chose to do, so why not be the best at it.
DT: What does a great vacation look like for you? You may be ready for one right about now.
HOOPER: Nothing in the snow or ice. You know, a great vacation to me is always with my wife and my two kids, at a minimum. I don't consider a vacation anything by myself. We love being outdoors, whether we're hunting or fishing as a family, or camping.
DT: Your company has a sort of internal nickname — you encourage your team to think of themselves as Problem Solvers. What are a couple types of problems that a good HVAC distributor has to be ready to help with these days, that maybe wasn't the case a few years ago?
HOOPER: I can tell you that inventory on demand is a big issue. People are busy, and the value of people's time is becoming more and more important, it appears. Making sure that you have some resources around you to facilitate orders outside of the standard eight-to-five, Monday-through-Friday platform; that's been a big need for the emerging kind of new guard, if you will.
The days of sitting down and developing relationships that the way we used to do it 20 years ago, those are gone. People want to get on ecommerce and they want to order, and you better be prepared to handle those types of situations for your contractors.
That’s an emerging thing even in my 15 years of experience. Nobody that I was working with was talking about ecommerce 15 years ago.
DT: Tell us the meaning or story behind something unusual that is on your desk or on your wall in your office.
HOOPER: It might be unusual, but I have a Bible on my desk. I think that is important. I get to see and interact with so many different people, so many different walks of life between customers and my employees. I'm a man of faith; that leads my life. So, I don't necessarily know that it's unique, but it certainly has created some unique opportunities for me to have some different and fun conversations with people, and I've really enjoyed that.