WhenThe Newsbegan searching for its 2004 Residential Replacement/Add-On All-Stars, it knew it had to investigate Lorton, Va., home base for United Air Temp (UAT). President Gabe Ivanescu always has his troops competing in the residential replacement/add-on market.

Just as was suspected, last year was a very good year for one of the leading providers of residential service in the greater Washington, D.C., area.

UAT reached the No. 3 spot on The News' All-Star nine this year. UAT finished 2003 with nearly $18 million in overall sales, of which 61 percent can be attributed to replacement/add-on projects.

"Our company was built on, and continues to provide, high-quality service, products, and complete customer satisfaction since 1931," said Ivanescu.

"We now have tens of thousands of systems under contract. More than 80 percent of our residential contract customers renew every year. Each year, thousands of new customers, looking for the best service available, choose United Air Temp."

According to Ivanescu, sales of air conditioning and heating systems, air and water quality products, plumbing services, and equipment have continued to grow at UAT at a rate of approximately 20 percent a year for the last 10 years.

"This growth is due, in part, to our efforts to satisfy our customers," said Ivanescu.

Gabe Ivanescu, president of United Air Temp Air Conditioning and Heating, Lorton, Va.

Education Is Key

UAT has a technical staff of more than 175 people who, according to the company, receive more than 6,000 hours of training each year.

"We have designed and installed more than 55,000 systems and provide service to more than 60,000 families each year," said Ivanescu.

With that much on the company's yearly plate, keeping technicians trained is critical to Ivanescu. "Our continuing education policy keeps our staff current on the newest products as they come on the market," he said.

"Our experience allows us to assess the potential of these products to determine if they will benefit [the customer]."

Ivanescu said his company's technicians have the experience, training, and ability to troubleshoot all types of hot water boilers, gas-fired furnaces, and heat pumps. The same attention to detail and new products applies to the air conditioning side of UAT's residential business.

Obviously proud, Ivanescu believes UAT employees have "the ability, training, and experience" to help customers assess their respective situations, design the appropriate solution, and install the correct product in order to deliver the comfort that the company's customers deserve.

"The best way to protect your family, your home, and your investment is with regular maintenance," said Ivanescu. "Today, more than 6,000 customers use our service on a regular basis." That means UAT is on top of any replacement or add-on situation.

"We take for granted our water heaters, toilets, faucets, heat pumps, furnaces, and air conditioners," pointed out Ivanescu, quickly adding, "until they stop working. Then comes the panicked call to the service company, and a repair job that ends up costing more than expected."

Whether it's preventive maintenance, refrigerant recovery, or guaranteed repairs, UAT customers know that the contractor's service truck will be out within a two-hour window for normal repair and maintenance services.

Emergency service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Our vast experience and neighborhood-focused business model positions us to render quick, efficient, and reliable service," said Ivanescu. There are 14 UAT service branches in all.

United Air Temp Air Conditioning and Heating employees include (top two rows, from left) Tony Russo, Paul Estrada, Cliff Allen, Hank Sookchayee, B. J. Leak, Todd Kerby, Chris Koschach, Jason Liverette, and Steve Abbuhl. In the bottom two rows, from left, are Mike Giordano, Jeff Marple, James Payne, Gary Gunther, and Jerry McCullough. (Photo provided by United Air Temp.)

Recognition The UAT Way

In its mission statement, UAT reveals what it is all about: "To create an environment where talented people with like-minded goals can grow and achieve greater things. Realizing that good is ever the enemy of the best, we seek to be the best. It is our purpose to build a regional company that will endure for our customers and associates, which, by setting and achieving higher standards, will change the industry we are part of."

Ivanescu cannot say enough about his team - apparently, he is not alone. The company has received accolades from many sources, including the Washington Checkbook and Neighbor's Choice Awards for "superior value and quality."

On the company's Web site (www.unitedairtemp.com), UAT lists many of the customer testimonials it has received over time, like this one from a Herndon, Va., resident:

"I am a widow and often find myself confronted with house repairs and maintenance about which I know very little. When my heat pump stopped working, a maintenance man from United Air Temp (was called). He is a friendly, knowledgeable, and very helpful young man. He explained my problems with the heat pump and my options. He made no attempt to try to sell me the most expensive equipment, but explained the functions of the outdated equipment.

"I chose what I felt was appropriate for me and I relied on (his) knowledge and recommendation and advice. I felt very comfortable with the decision made. I have been very pleased with the service and if I should ever need these services again, I would not hesitate to call. ..."

With this type of recognition and approval rating, when The News begins searching for its 2005 Residential Replacement/Add-On All-Stars, don't be surprised if there is another stop at Lorton, Va.

Publication date: 08/30/2004