Ron Friedrich
DALLAS - The "road show" for winners ofThe News'2003 "Best Contractor to Work For" contest continued at the AirTime 500 meeting in Dallas. Current and former winners of the contest were featured on a panel discussion on how they find and retain employees. Some of these contractors also spoke at a similar forum during the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., in late January (The News, Feb. 23, 2004).

Ron Friedrich, the owner of A-Temp Heating and Cooling, Clackamas, Ore., said that most of his company's new hires come from referrals. He stated, "Your image and reputation is very important for attracting people."

Friedrich noted that he believes in empowering his employees to get as much work done during the normal workday as possible.

Lennie Gemma, an owner of Gem Plumbing and Heating, Lincoln, R.I., said that being from a small state, anything his company does is magnified several times, so it is imperative that they maintain a good reputation. He said he prefers to "empower his employees, and then get out of their way.

"My employees absolutely want to open the door and come to work each day."

He thanked the many AirTime 500 contractors for helping with his company's success. "I can't thank the mentors in this room enough," Gemma said. "They have helped us grow."

Gemma's brother and co-owner, Larry, said, "We followed the materials given to us by AirTime 500 and [sister organization] Plumbers' Success International, and it has helped us tremendously. Our employees can always count on us to help them grow because they know we will help them out."

Wayne Reynolds
Wayne Reynolds of One Hour Air Conditioning, Largo, Fla., said very small gestures can show care for an employee.

"It is important to say good morning to an employee," he said. "It is also important to respect them and sympathize with them when needed. Take the time to listen to your employees."

Larry Nevels of All Seasons 500 Heating and Air, Huntsville, Ala., outlined reasons why his company is successful and award winning. "The common denominator is creating a family atmosphere," he said. "The second important thing is to give back to the community."

Nevels also thanked the AirTime 500 family and stated, "You are the reason we are up here."

One of the 2002 "Best Contractor to Work For" winners, Leland Smith of Service Champions Heating and Air Conditioning, Yorba Linda, Calif., added his thoughts on retaining employees.

"We give our employees 100 to 150 hours of training each year," he said. "And we treat them like family.

"When I look at an employee, I see his or her family, too. They are not just a body. We focus on the employee's families."

Airtime 500 Honors Scoreboard Winners

AirTime 500 also honored the company's 2003 Scoreboard leaders at its recent exposition. Winners included:

Residential sales by a salesperson: James Steigner of E.H. Roberts Co., Huron, Ohio. Steigner sold $2,005,553 in air conditioning and heating equipment.

Total (revenue) installed by an install crew: Robert Mittlesteadt's crew of Service Champions of Southern California, Yorba Linda, Calif. Mittlesteadt's crew installed $1,155,543 worth of equipment.

Leads generated by a technician: Darren Faulk of Service Champions of Southern California of Yorba Linda, Calif. Faulk produced 164 leads for his salespeople.

Residential sales by a technician: Frank Speer of Service Champions of Southern California, Yorba Linda, Calif. Speer generated $1,122,238 in sales.

Total revenue by technician: Jim Ingles of Morris-Jenkins Co., Charlotte, N.C. Ingles created $228,156 revenue in service.

Club memberships by a customer care representative: Lilah Stroebel of McCarthy's One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating, Omaha, Neb. Stroebel topped the charts with 594 memberships.

Club memberships by a technician: Chris Donzelli of Service Champions of Northern California, San Ramon, Calif. Donzelli sold 335 club memberships.

The AirTime 500 Scoreboard was created to foster friendly competition among all AirTime members across the country. A running total is printed in AirTime's newsletter, On the Air Review.

Publication date: 05/24/2004