Category Archives: Contractor of the Week

Rich Morgan, second from left, accepting the BBB's Business Ethics Award

Contractor Rich Morgan: avid traveler, skydiver

For Rich Morgan, President of Magic Touch Mechanical in Mesa, Arizona, completing a job better than it has to be is stardard procedure. Rich and his team were awarded the Better Business Bureau’s “Business Ethics Award,” a true testament to this philosophy. When not on the job, Rich enjoys skydiving around the world, and steering clear of snakes; read his story below and follow Magic Touch Mechanical on Facebook.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
One of our commercial clients is an exotic reptile shop. We were asked to replace a system and all the ducting at the store managers home. Three of the four bedrooms in the home were filled with literally hundreds of tanks of poisonous snakes including dozens of rattle snakes and a black mamba. We probably asked 20 times; “Are you sure none are missing and on the loose?”

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
Although we have Jackson Systems Zone systems on our website. We sell very little zone control. We purchase our controls from Jackson and I’m itching for our people to sell zone control, but maybe we should focus on the next question :)

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
The customer service, quick response, and knowledge of products from EVERYONE at Jackson Systems is unparalleled! We have been doing business with Jackson Systems for years and it is and has always been an absolute pleasure. We have local suppliers clamoring to get some of purchases we give to Jackson Systems and we simply tell them “No thanks, we’re good!”

What do you love about your job?
Our team. It’s rewarding to work with some of the best and brightest in our industry and makes me proud to have assembled such a great group of people under one roof over the years.

How do youspend your time outside of work?
I’m an avid skydiver with over 1,000 jumps logged to date and have had the privilege of jumping all over the world and meeting a lot of wonderful and interesting people along the way. When not working or skydiving, I like spend time with my family traveling in our RV.

What is your motto?
“We Do It Better Than It Has To Be”

Mike_Atchley

Contractor Mike Atchley: an always learning family man

When he’s not on the job, Mike Atchley from Atchley Air Conditioning & Heating in Fort Smith, Arkansas enjoys an afternoon round of golf and spending time with family. Check out Atchley Air on Facebook, and keep reading for Mike’s “aha moment” with a frustrated engineer.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
A couple of years ago we were called in to take a look at an engineer’s HVAC system. He was looking to upgrade his system to try to lower his utility bills. As most of us are aware, engineers usually know more about HVAC than we do, and this one was no different.

As we began inspecting the existing system and ductwork we noticed he had a zoned dampering system. We also noticed his barometric relief damper was ducted to… the attic. If static pressure got too high because not enough zones were calling, the barometric damper would open and dump conditioned air directly into the attic! After pointing this out to him, he was embarrassed that he hadn’t noticed this before, and furious at the original contractor.

Not only did we get to fix the dampering system, we also got to replace the HVAC system.  We’re now the only contractor he trusts!

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
COMFORT! I love the ability to stay comfortable no matter what part of the house I’m in, even if the west sun is beating down on my living room windows.

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
The best thing about Jackson Systems is they’ll private label just about anything. I believe in marketing Atchley Air, and Jackson Systems has been extremely helpful in providing us with products that have our name, and our name only, on them.

What do you love about your job?
I love the fact that every day is different. I worked as a public accountant for a while, and was bored out of my mind. It’s been nearly 10 years since I started with Atchley Air, and there hasn’t been a day yet that’s been boring.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
Most of my time away from the office is spent with my wife and 2 daughters. Having active kids is about the only hobby I have time for, though I have been known to sneak out occasionally on a Friday afternoon for a round of golf.

What is your motto?
Always be learning. The company that decides it knows enough and doesn’t need to improve has just started a downhill slide.

Steve Becker

Contractor Steve Becker: grandfather, green thumb

For Steve Becker of Airtron, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana, doing the right thing happens even when no one is looking. Steve enjoys keeping his wife happy (and at a comfortable temperature) and spending time with his family. Read more below and check out Airtron, Inc. on Facebook!

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
The HVAC industry is a people business which is always interesting; however, it is seldom as exciting as helping free a cat that is stuck in ductwork between the first and second floors of a home. 

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
We have 3 systems and 10 zones in our own home. My wife would say she loves the ability to have the temperature exactly where she wants it all the time in every room. As an example, our bedroom is always 67 degrees. You know what they say about keeping momma happy….

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
Their technical support is always available, extremely helpful, and the Jackson team never talks down to our team members as they help us solve a problem.

What do you love about your job?
Developing people. We have had several people promoted from our office to leadership roles in other affiliate companies. For example, we are extremely proud of Scott Boose who started out as our Controller and was promoted to Service Manager prior to being promoted to Senior Vice President in a regional role. He was then promoted to run British Gas Services where he managed over 8,000 technicians. Today, Scott heads up Clockwork and oversees all of the OneHour, Ben Franklin and Mr. Sparky operations and franchises. Developing leaders is a two-way street and people like Scott leave you with more than they take with them.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
We have six grandchildren and I love spending time with them. I plan to take our two oldest grandchildren to South Dakota (by myself) in a few weeks to show them their Becker/Engbrecht heritage while seeing the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. I also love to work in the yard and head up our church’s golf league.

What is your motto?
Do the right thing, even when no one else is looking.

Greg Bassett

Contractor Greg Bassett: Great listener, father of twins

Finding the cause of unexplained noises is part of the job for Greg Bassett of Bassett Services Inc. in Plainfield, Indiana. Greg knows from experience that it pays to listen! Read his story below and follow Bassett Services on Facebook.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
From my personal experience, there are tons of interesting things that happen on a job site. One that sticks out more than any other happened on a commercial job one day. The customer called several times about the rooftop making a loud noise about every 10-15 minutes, from the time she opened her craft store until the time she closed in the early evening. After several phone calls from the customer and several attempts from the technician, I finally felt like it was time for me to go check it out for myself. The customer mentioned that the problem happens every day on a frequent basis. I set my ladder up and began to troubleshoot the issue.

Waiting with my head in the ceiling occasionally looking out the storefront to pass the time, I continued to wait for that strange noise. The air conditioner would cycle on then cycle off with no noises at all. I was starting to get puzzled as to what she was hearing. She came screaming, “There’s the noise, there it is!” I heard it, but it wasn’t the rooftop unit because it was off. The strange noise would last for about 20-30 seconds and then stop. We wouldn’t hear it again for about another 20 minutes. After I would hear the noise, I would see someone walking out of the business next door. I have already spent over an hour trying to find this strange noise for the customer. I was going to get to the bottom of this before I left or I wasn’t going to be able to handle the hassle from my other co-workers if I didn’t find it.

Finally, I saw someone go into the business again next door. She came yelling again, “There it is, that noise again.” The person walked back by the store again holding a bag, got into their car and drove off. Out of curiosity, I walked to the business next door and asked them what they do when a customer walks in. She answered, “I turn on the conveyer to get their garments.” Yep I found it – a dry cleaning store. I asked her to turn the conveyer on until I came back so I explained to her what was going on. I walked back to our customer’s location and she came yelling, “There it is, but it won’t go away.” So I had her walk with me to the neighboring business to identify what the source was. She was so embarrassed and I felt like the hero. Most problems can be solved if we just stop and listen.

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
My favorite thing is the ability to stay comfortable. Operating cost is a factor in running any system, but I will gladly pay a little bit more to be comfortable.

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
Jackson Systems is like going to the MOM and POP store. They will help you in any program that will help you grow and develop your business or personal goals. They have so many well-trained employees in the industry, not only on the products that they have developed over the years, but also on the other manufacturers’ products as well.

What do you love about your job?
The thing I love most about my job is being surrounded with the most loyal employees, customers and companies.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I spend my time outside of work with family and friends. We love to travel, ride ATVs, go fishing and camping. This September, my wife Lori and I will celebrate our 10-year anniversary. We have 6-year-old twin boys and our family is active in church and baseball.

What is your motto?
Take great care of your customers or someone else will.

Greg McAfee

Contractor Greg McAfee: Problem solver, HVACR coach

After two decades in the business, Greg McAfee from McAfee Air Repair in Kettering, Ohio, wakes up every morning looking forward to going to work. As a consultant to small business owners, he knows a thing or two about getting the job done – and he has learned from experience that showing up late could be costly. Find McAfee Air Repair on Facebook!

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
We’ve had many interesting things happen in 20 years, from finding a live duck to a pound of marijuana and a shoe box full of cash inside of duct work, but probably the most valuable lesson took place in 1994, when we arrived at a customer’s home 10 minutes late. He almost cancelled the installation job and told us if we were in the restaurant business, we’d be out of business. He owned a local cafeteria and reiterated how important it is to arrive on time! Since then, unless there was an act of God, we’ve never been late for a scheduled call.

What do you like about working in the HVAC industry?
There is always work and plenty of opportunity. I like being able to solve people’s problems, make them comfortable again as quickly as possible along with saving energy and cleaning the air.

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
When it comes to serving the customer… Jackson Systems gets it! They have quality products, great customer support and a quick turnaround. Jackson Systems can serve a small or large outfit. Since we private label 100% of our products, the speed and accuracy of placing our logo on thermostats benefits us greatly! Jackson Systems thinks outside the box and they’re a great team to hook up with; I’m glad we did!

What do you love about your job?
Twenty years ago, I started with $274 and a used truck. Today, I still wake up every day looking forward to coming in. Small business is what keeps America moving! Where else can you sit at a small round table and discuss ideas to make your company better and then implement a plan that starts tomorrow? It’s rewarding and fun for me; every day is a new challenge. I love serving people, from customers to members of our team.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I stay pretty busy… I’ve been married to Naomi for over 20 years and have two children, Travis (16) and Tiffany (7). I spend my off time with them, attending sporting events, riding four-wheelers or something to that nature. We attend church regularly and I teach an adult bible fellowship class. I enjoy reading and attending business classes. For the past few years, I’ve written articles for HVACR Business and DucTales magazine. This has led to consulting and coaching other small business owners around the nation (www.gregmcafee.com).

What is your motto?
One motto I use in our TV and radio commercials is, “You can count on my company because you can count on me!” And that is very true, but if you were to follow me around all day, you’d hear me say quite often, “Everything matters,” and “Let’s make it happen!”

Garrett

Contractor Garrett Cook: prank-pulling golfer

Installing a new system in an old house can be tricky – escpecially if the house is haunted. Even when the worksite is a little creepy, Garrett Cook of Cook Heating & Air in Crawfordsville, Indiana and his team get the job done. Find Cook Heating & Air on Facebook and be sure to check out their website.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
A number of years ago we were working at an old house installing a new system. When the two technicians working at the old home were finished, they made comments to all of us at the office about how uncomfortable the home was. There was just something about the home that made the hair on the back of their necks stand. All of us like to have fun at the office so we started joking around and playing pranks on the two technicians. A few years later the old home had turned into an antique store and there was a story in the local newspaper about how the house was haunted. Even to this day it makes us laugh when we think about the jokes and pranks we pulled!

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
What I love most about zone control is the gratitude our clients have after the system is installed and they become familiar with it! When we first start relationships with our clients, a vast majority of them have no idea what zoning is or that it’s even possible for their home. After we discuss what zoning is and how it will benefit their lifestyle, there is still a “leap of faith” for our clients who have never experienced zoning. Our company helps this “leap of faith” by providing a 12-page reference list of just our past zoning projects. Most new clients are absolutely amazed just by the amount of our other clients who now have zoning. Then we invite our new clients to visit our facility where we have our entire office complex zoned with just about every type of thermostat available on the market (which they get to play with) and we show them how the system sounds and operates. Once we get a client to walk into our office we know they’ll want zoning by the time they leave!

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
Jackson Systems is great to work with. We’ve been doing zoning for almost 20 years and for the last five years we’ve worked solely with them!  I wish we had started a relationship with them years earlier because their support level is top notch. As a company we have in-house technical training every two weeks for our team and at least two to three times per year we have one of the great guys at Jackson Systems run these training sessions. The whole team knows if we need help with a technical issue, the guys at Jackson Systems are just a phone call away. Thanks again to Tom, Kurt, Phil, Ray, Mike and Ryan who have helped make our team great at zone control!

What do you love about your job?
This is a tough question for me… I love a lot of things about my job. From the pure satisfaction of building strong relationships with clients, to helping grow and lead our company.  I love it all and I’m thankful to be in this great industry! When I was first starting out what I loved most was the rush of getting a new sale or new client but now I love it more when I’m able to make a real difference in developing one of my team members. Making them better, not only with serving our clients but also in their personal life, is very gratifying.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I spend the majority of time with my girlfriend Rene. She is absolutely amazing and I don’t know how I became so lucky! I really enjoy golfing and playing volleyball; it seems to be the only two activities I do to get some exercise! With little time that’s left, Rene and I both have great families and friends so we tend to relax around them.

What is your motto?
My motto is to always be learning! I preach to my technicians to learn as much as possible about each client’s situation. To learn and understand why they do or don’t do something. The more we know and understand our clients, the better we can serve them and exceed their expectations! In our industry, to be the best I feel you have to keep improving, we are always learning new and better ways!

LCS-TR_BW

Contractor Renee Lucas: outdoor enthusiast

Renee Lucas of LCS Heating and Cooling, LLC in Indianapolis knows from experience that a little patience and a little prodding is sometimes needed to get the job done. Visit their website and find LCS Heating and Cooling on Facebook!

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
We once found a raccoon in the flex duct in the attic. I think the raccoon was as startled as we were! With a little prodding, he made it out and went on his way.

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
Hearing a customer say, “Wow, we should have had this done a long time ago!”

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
Jackson Systems has the easiest controls to work with. They are very technician-friendly.  Tom, Kurt, Ashley and the entire Jackson Systems team are an added bonus! We enjoy working with local companies.

What do you love about your job?
We love making people comfortable in their own home! People often assume that a new furnace and air conditioner is the answer to their heating and cooling problems. We love the opportunity to present options that will really make a difference in their home such as zoning, programmable thermostats, humidifiers and UV lights.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
Is there supposed to be time outside of work!? We both love the outdoors… traveling, hiking, backpacking and cycling.

What is your motto?
Honesty is the best way to not only earn a customer’s business, but to earn their respect and referrals as well. At LCS Heating and Cooling, our tagline is “Comfort Solutions for Any Season.”

Corey Hickmann

Contractor Corey Hickmann: hunter and family man

Have you ever felt like you were trapped at the office, under a mountain of work? Even after the job was complete, Corey Hickmann of Comfort Matters Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Hanover, Minnesota had trouble finding an escape. Be sure to check out his hilarious story! Follow Corey on Facebook and check out the Comfort Matters website.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened on a job?
One night, I was checking a ventilation system in a room for an Alzheimer’s nursing home at about 9 p.m. I was in the secure lock down section of the facility alone and not able to get out while a nice elderly lady kept following me around because she thought I was her grandson. After wandering long enough, security saw me on the cameras and came to let me out.

What is your favorite thing about zone control?
Fixing the problem for customers when they complain about 2nd level bedrooms being hot and basements being cold.

What is the best thing about working with Jackson Systems?
They have a very flexible thermostat logo program that uses our logo instead of basic block letters. Jackson Systems does a great job supporting so many industry groups like Service Roundtable, ACCA and much more. Also, because they engineer and build their own products they have a great knowledge of how items work.

What do you love about your job?
We provide so many safety solutions for customers it is hard to pick, but one of the best parts is being able to get a family’s heat back on a cold, sub-zero January night.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
Most of the time is spent with my two daughters or hunting and fishing.

What is your motto?
“Creating Clean Comfortable Environments, One Customer at a Time”

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