This last week I moderated both a residential and commercial leadership forum for ACCA. It was a great experience. The event offered contractors an opportunity to ask questions of the major manufacturers and find out their opinions on the industry topics of the day.
As could be expected, finding good people to join the HVAC industry was high up on the list of topics to discuss. Many people are concerned on how a graying industry can bring young people into the mix.
Simply put, we need more stories like Brian Mount. Mount was recently made CEO of Tempo Inc., an HVAC contractor in Dallas.
Tempo is a great employee-owned company that has four business units. A big part of their business is residential new construction. They will install air conditioners in somewhere around 4,500 homes this year, which translates into about 6,500 air conditioners. They also have HVAC and plumbing service and repair businesses with about 4,000 maintenance agreements. They will do about $12 million in that business alone this year with their 55 trucks. In addition, Tempo has two energy efficiency/environmental consulting firms.
That is a long way of saying the company is a very mature and well-run organization.
Mount’s story is the one we love to hear. Growing up, he had an interest in HVAC because some family members dabbled in the business.
“When growing up, if there was something to do with HVAC, I would try and involve myself,” Mount said. “I think there really is no better feeling in the world than being in a 95° house with a broken a/c and then being able to fix it and getting that cold air to blow out. I was always fascinated by HVAC and the science behind it.”
Read that quote again. Those are the kind of people this industry needs.
After graduating from the University of Texas with an architecture degree in 2010, Mount was ready to get into the HVAC game. He heard from a professor that Tempo was hiring (and was a very good company), so he got the phone number and called. Lucky for Mount, Steve Saunders ended up being on the other end of that phone line.
Saunders was the CEO at the time, and someone applying for an entry-level job normally does not get a direct call to the head person right off the bat. In fact, Mount did not know Saunders was the CEO until he came in for the interview. That is just who Saunders is as a leader.
“From my early training at Tempo, we are taught the simple idea of if the phone is ringing, you pick it up,” Sanders said. “So the phone rings, I pick it up, and here is this great potential recruit on the phone. We have a vibrant conversation, and I learned a lot about Brian.”
The professor happened to be a good friend of Saunders.
“We often say that the best people we get are friends of our family members or people who know people. We have been able to attract many people like that. They know how we want to treat people and treat clients.”
After interviewing with a few different people, Mount was hired as a multi-family green building consultant and held that job for about four years. He then moved to the HVAC side of the business, when the single-family housing market started to boom, in the role of project management and sales. Mount was eventual promoted to director of sales and then general manager.
“In January of 2019, the board voted me chief operating officer. During that period and really over the last five years, Steve and I have had a really close relationship,” Mount said. “I feel like he’s always been mentoring me to take a higher position in the company.”
This is a great example of identifying bright young talent that is excited about the HVAC industry. That is the first part of the equation. The second part is having an organization that can help this young talent grow and mature into leadership positions.
That was obviously the case with Tempo. And they are certainly telling all their new applicants about the story of Brian Mount.
Is your company able to share a similar story?