OMAHA, Neb. — When you first walk through the door of McCarthy — Heating & Air Conditioning, you want to look directly to your right. Hanging on the wall is the company promise, which has been framed for the reference of employees and consumers.

John and Mary Kay McCarthy, owners of the company, have made a lot of promises. To their customers, they pledge to meet their needs and expectations with integrity, honesty, and professionalism. The company also promises to be a good citizen and participate in the betterment of the community through ethical business practices.

The McCarthys have also framed a promise to their employees, which says that they will help employees to realize their full potential and that management will reward them for their achievements.

The McCarthys have done a good job keeping their promises, and that is why they have been chosen by The News as the winner of the 2002 “Best Contractor to Work For” contest in the Northwest/Upper Midwest region.

Installation technicians Drew Andersen (left) and Gorden Morhain (right) said that their fully equipped installation trucks have been a huge benefit in the field.

More Than One Reason

John and Mary Kay McCarthy have been in business for over 30 years. When they first started, they had one service truck and John was the only employee. Today, they have a fleet of fully equipped service trucks that would be the envy of any installer. They also have a total of 32 employees in two locations (one in Omaha and one in Council Bluffs, Iowa).

If that weren’t enough, the McCarthys’ provide their employees with more perks than you can shake a stick at. Besides the competitive pay, paid vacations/paid holidays, and a 401(k) program, the McCarthys provide their employees with trips when they retire, a commission program, and rewards for a job well done. Also, don’t forget the company picnics and Christmas party, or the free tickets to athletic events for the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

The extra incentives are enough to spoil any technician, but when you ask the staff at McCarthy — Heating & Air Conditioning about why it’s such a great place to work, you’ll get many different answers.

Phil Shaffer has only been with the company for eight months, but he already realizes the advantages of working for the McCarthys.

Shaffer recently graduated from Vatterott College. When he was finished with the college’s HVACR program, he said he had offers from other companies, but it was McCarthy — Heating & Air Conditioning that was able to provide him with a better pay and more training opportunities. Shaffer said that the McCarthys put him through a heat pump course recently and picked up the tab. Training is a major priority for the company. In fact, John said that the company spent $62,000 on employee training last year and would be shelling out $131,000 towards training this year.

A great deal of employee training comes from the company’s affiliation with AirTime 500.

John said that all three of his Residential Replacement Comfort Advisors have graduated from AirTime 500’s Million Dollar Salesperson Summit. The company’s customer call center manager is a graduate of AirTime 500’s Master the Art of the Telephone and Dispatching for Profits™ classes, as well as its Marketing Sales Lead Coordination Summit classes.

Newly hired technicians get the opportunity to take part in technical assessment programs, which help them design a career path.

“All training is company paid for and no reimbursement from the associate is expected,” said John McCarthy.

He added that the company has a goal to be the first HVAC company in the Omaha area to be 100 percent NATE certified.

Tools To Succeed

Besides providing technicians with the training to succeed in the industry, the McCarthys have provided them with the most up-to-date tools to use in the field.

When asked what company perk is the best, the first thing Gorden Morhain thought of was his truck. Morhain, an installation technician, has been with the company for over three years. He said that he has never worked for a company that was better prepared to help technicians with their work in the field.

McCarthy’s installation cube vans are known as “mobile sheet metal shops.” That is because each is equipped with a Pittsburgh machine and a sheet metal cutter. This allows installers to do the necessary sheet metal work on the jobsite instead of having to go back and forth to the company.

Service technicians also get the benefit of a truck. According to McCarthy, the oldest model in his fleet is from the 2000 model year. Techs are allowed to drive their service truck to and from work. Each member of the sales staff also has access to a company-lettered pickup truck.

Jack Mahrt, installation field supervisor, uses a sheet metal brake. Sheet metal brakes are available in all of the McCarthy installation trucks.

It’s The Simple Things

Jack Mahrt, the installation field supervisor for the company, agrees that the McCarthys are more than generous when it comes to getting the proper tools and equipment.

“We can get new equipment, nice trucks, and anything else that we need to do our job,” he said.

But Mahrt has other reasons to respect the McCarthys. The reasons seem simple enough, but it may be the one thing that can make or break a successful company. It is all about treating employees like family, not like a number.

Mahrt has been with the company for over 20 years. His father, Ronald Mahrt, now 70, is still working for the company after 30 years.

At age 70, most individuals have retired, leaving their chosen profession behind. But for Ron Mahrt, there is a good reason to stick around.

“It’s not work,” he said.

According to Ron Mahrt, the company has been supportive to him and his family, making the work environment unlike any other work place.

“As far as Jack and I are concerned, it’s family,” Ron Mahrt said about the business.

This was proven to the Mahrts’ very recently when June Mahrt, Ron’s wife and Jack’s mother, died of cancer.

When his wife died, Ron Mahrt said, “McCarthy did everything under the sun.” This included giving Ron as much time off as he needed with pay.

The McCarthys also knew that their employees would want to pay their respects, and said that anyone who wanted to attend the funeral was welcome to take the time off.

“It touches me to say that we had to shut down the company for the morning because the entire company attended June’s funeral,” said John McCarthy. “That’s enough proof for me that McCarthy — Heating & Air Conditioning is not just a place where people gather to work.”

John McCarthy looks over some work with customer service representative Brandee Lee.

Working Together

The McCarthys have created an environment where all of their employees work together to succeed. This in turn has cultivated an attitude that co-workers are more than just co-workers, they are a part of a family.

For example, each year the company gives out its Douglas K. Moroney Employee of the Year Award. According to John McCarthy, the award is presented at the annual Christmas party, and is given to the associate who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the year.

The award is named after one of the company’s service technicians. On the night he graduated from Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Moroney was killed in a traffic accident.

The 26-year-old technician had only been with the company for just over two years, but he left an indelible impression on the McCarthys and many other employees.

McCarthy said that Moroney was one of those individuals who would help out wherever he could in any way he could. For example, Moroney was known to assist several elderly customers during his off time. This included mowing their lawns and cleaning out their gutters.

Every employee votes on who should receive the recognition. McCarthy and the other owners do not get a say in who wins.

“It never ceases to amaze me every year how close it is,” McCarthy said about the voting.

The winner is then recognized at the Christmas party and their name is added to a plaque with the previous winners.

Employees also support each other throughout the year. This is evident through the company’s “Installation of the Month” award program. A 37-point installation quality audit is performed by the lead installer upon completion of each job. Before and after pictures are attached to the back of the form and is turned in at the end of the day.

The installation coordinator then hangs these forms in the shop area. At the end of the month, all non-installation employees vote for the Installation of the Month. The winning crew splits $100. Each monthly winner is eligible for the “Installation of the Year” contest, which is again voted on by all non-installation employees. The winning crew then splits $1,000.

“We pat [our employees] on the back in front of everyone,” said John McCarthy. “But we never embarrass them.”

These kinds of activities have brought the company together and have helped to support the efforts of employees.

“We built this place on integrity,” said John McCarthy. “We listen to our employees and we treat them like family.”

Sidebar: Just The Facts

Name:McCarthy — Heating & Air Conditioning

Owners: John and Mary Kay McCarthy

Locations: Omaha, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa

Years in business: 32

Bulk of market: 100% residential

Total revenue for 2002: $3.6 million

Total employees: 32

Total service technicians and installers: 17

Average hours employees spend in training: 34 per year

Benefits offered beyond medical: Paid vacation, paid training, paid uniforms, paid holidays, commission on maintenance agreements, awards and recognition programs.

The News selected this contractor because: McCarthy — Heating & Air Conditioning promises that its employees will succeed within the business and within the industry by providing them with all the training and tools they need. More importantly, the company promises employees a place where they can grow and recognize their potential in a fair and honest environment.

Publication date: 03/10/2003