The four winners of American Standard’s inaugural 2018 Building a Higher Standard award will be honored during the brand’s Customer Care Conference, February 25–27, in San Antonio, Texas.
American Standard launched the awards program to recognize independent HVAC dealers across the country who exemplify the brand’s core values. This year’s winning dealers and future winners will have their names placed on a trophy that will be kept at the Tyler, Texas, office.
Here is a little insight into the 2018 winners and stories about what make them so special…
- Andrews Heating & Air Conditioning of Clinton, Indiana: The husband and wife team of Doug and Chris Andrews operate this American Standard dealership, which has sold the brand for more than 45 years. This family-owned business believes it’s important for them to serve as a leader and role model in their community. This means supporting important public service announcements in place of some traditional advertising for their business. For example, they’re currently focused on calling attention to the dangers of texting and driving. Also, they believe that serving customers goes beyond the system they install. Doug’s father once visited a homeowner on Christmas Eve and realized that she didn’t have anything to celebrate Christmas with her children. So he went out and got her a tree and presents, and received a loyal customer in return. The customer later would come to the elder Andrews’ funeral just to tell the family how much his generosity had meant to her years ago.
- Cary Heating & Air Conditioning of La Crosse, Wisconsin: This multigenerational business uses its family-grounded values to provide exceptional customer service to its community. This group is known for helping customers with almost any task, whether it’s folding laundry or carrying things up and down stairs. In fact, their good deeds don’t stop with customers, but have extended to random strangers. For example, a gentleman in need of help attempted to go to the Salvation Army branch across the street from the Cary office, but found it was closed. When he knocked on the Cary door, Bill Becker and team came to the rescue by giving him money and a ride to the main Salvation Army location. A strong work ethic drives the entire team, but in particular the eldest Becker, Marv, who just loves working and can’t seem to retire. He’s retired three times so far, the first time with a full-blown retirement party. That retirement lasted about two weeks. His second retirement party was smaller, and his third he shared with someone else. Now, he’s still at work every day, taking customer service calls and working on window units.
- Shafer Services Plus of San Antonio, Texas: This dealership seeks to share its resources and better the community through its “Serving South Texas” initiative, which honors deserving community members with free services and systems. Co-owner Chase Anderson has taken a non-traditional route to HVAC. With a background in finance as an asset manager, he decided to strike out on an entrepreneurial path. When a friend suggested HVAC as an option, Chase jumped in headfirst, learning the business as a tech and installer himself so he would understand the business from the ground up. Today, he loves the trade and seeks to create a fun and collaborative team environment, even fielding an employee engagement survey to learn what they can do better. They also have creative quarterly team-building competitions; when we visited, they had a racetrack laid out on the walls around the office and cars with pictures of different members posted along it, tracking their competitive progress.
- Florida Keys Air Conditioning and Gemaire Distributors of Marathon, Florida: Following the August 2017 devastation of Hurricane Irma, these two HVAC companies jumped into action to quickly provide aid and assistance to those in need of critical HVAC parts, replacement units, water, supplies, and more. The impact of the Florida Keys dealer on their town began long before Hurricane Irma, as exemplified through a story Alex Amigorena from Gemaire Distributors tells. He said that after the hurricane, Gemaire was racing to set up a storefront and couldn’t find tradesmen available to do the necessary work. One of the three Florida Keys Air Conditioning owners, John Mahoney, shared an electrician’s name. When Alex called him, the electrician at first said he couldn’t help them because he was just too busy. When Alex mentioned he’d been by referred by John, the electrician quickly changed gears, said he’d be there in two hours, and quickly got the job done—simply because of the respect the Florida Keys owners have earned in their community. They’ve also created a family atmosphere at work, where they see their employees as their kids, and serve not just as bosses, but as mentors to help them step up and do the right thing. They believe strongly in second chances, saying, “If you don’t make a mistake, you aren’t learning.” They also get a “fuzzy feeling” from transforming someone from a person who couldn’t get out of bed in the morning into a faithful, hardworking employee.