Name: Jim Anley
Title: Executive Vice President
Company: Charles D Jones
Number of Locations: 20
Number of Employees: 170
Year Founded: 1939
Main Lines: York/LuxAire, Mitsubishi, Lochinvar, Honeywell
If there’s a silver lining in dealing with the HVAC industry’s recent ups and downs, it keeps coming back to people for Jim Anley — the ones showing up to work every morning and the ones coming back in the door to learn.
The executive vice president at the Midwest’s Charlie D. Jones also reveals his most valuable interview question and the advice equivalent of a wooden nickel in this month’s Meet The Wholesaler.
Distribution Trends: Charlie D. Jones has been an employee-owned company for 25 years now. Has there been a benefit to that decision that surprised you? Is there a piece of advice you would give to companies looking to make that transition that would've been helpful in 1996?
The ESOP is an amazing benefit to all employees. A piece of advice I would give is to give a detailed roadmap to explain the entire process of the ESOP so everyone has a good understanding of the benefit.
DT: What’s your favorite job interview question?
What motivates you to work?
DT: What was the worst business advice you ever received?
Stay the course. The supply chain will recover soon.
DT: I've heard that contractors are starting to look for more nontraditional access/hours from their distributor partners. I notice Charlie D. Jones already offers 24/7 emergency service and overnight branch inventory replenishment. Would you talk about trends you're seeing in this area and how it's working for you from customer and staffing points of view?
The business is all about the customer. We have always offered these services and will continue. The latest trend we have noticed is that customers are becoming proactive about the supply chain issues. They are placing orders with the lead time in mind and not relying on the wholesaler to stock all their needs.
CD Jones has a great reputation in the industry as a great place to work. With that being said, we have very little turnover of staff and have been able to weather the storm better than most of our competition.
DT: What was the hardest decision — up to now — that you have had to make in the HVACR business?
Leaving a company that I had worked for almost 20 years was hard, as we all get in a comfort zone. Although it was a tough decision to move on, it was the best decision of my career.
DT: Tell us about the meaning or story behind something unusual on your desk or on your wall in your office.
Great question. My wife forwarded me a clip she found a while back (now posted in plain sight in my office) that reads:
“Having a rough day? Place your hand on your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose — you’re alive for a reason.”
DT: 2020 wasn't a good year for in-person training classes. Your late-year calendar lists classes ranging from furnace training to BACnet core competency. How has your training side done this year and what's most popular these days?
Our attendance for training has been great. Almost every contractor is embracing coming to class to learn vs. online training. I can’t say there are classes that are more popular than others, everyone is just glad to be back in person.
DT: CD Jones now has about 20 locations, split pretty evenly between Colorado and the trio of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Is there a key you have found for ensuring consistency of quality/performance across that many branches spread across that much territory?
We finished our Unity project in 2020 that brought the different regions together as ONE. This has a made a large impact on the company to work together and share best practices.
DT: If you had to go start to become an expert in something different tomorrow, what would you enjoy studying?
I wouldn’t want to start something different. The HVAC industry has been good to me and my family for over 40 years. The beauty of the industry is the people, from contractors to vendors to all our great employees.