Before we jump into water heaters…
As our Missouri based technician, James, prepares to return to his home state, our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by the massive floods and tornadoes across the Midwest. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma have been experiencing tornadoes and flooding which has traversed the Midwest (as far north as the Dakotas and as far west as Nebraska) since March. Here’s how YOU can help!: The Red Cross provides communities with temporary shelters, water, and other supplies. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800 RED CROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The Missouri Farm Bureau is a non-profit organization which seeks to provide resources for students, FFA chapters, and agricultural education departments via donations. If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing a donation link via social media or volunteering for the Red Cross or other organizations.
Every once in awhile, our dispatch office tends to get a dispatch that is outside of our service area or a phone call from Rheem asking that same question. Although water heater repair technicians are often not sought after until emergency situations arise, there are many areas of the United States where residential customers experience the need for emergency service, but due to the limited number of local technicians may be forced to make repairs on their own. With certain areas seeming to struggle to find certified repair technicians, we decided to venture west, in hopes of becoming the water heating solution for residents of Kansas and Missouri! This new journey is all thanks to our new Kansas City based technician, James. Our new tech is currently training with our Wisconsin-based technician, Kevin. James hopes to be hitting the road in Kansas and Missouri within the next two weeks as both a warranty service technician and an installer!
James comes from a strong mechanical background, with 15 years of plumbing experience in various settings: residential, new construction, etc. As a plumber, he has encountered many water heaters and has a strong background in installs and residential troubleshooting. In addition, he also holds a journeyman license and OSHA certification, which provides some of the crucial knowledge he will need once he attends A.O. Smith University for commercial training this summer. James does have some commercial experience under his belt, but he is looking forward to attending A.O. University and other training seminars to further hone his commercial troubleshooting abilities.
Our Goshen-based technician, Larry, joined our team this year and has not ceased to grow in technical skill and has continued to expand our company’s relationships throughout the Midwest— from his local Ace Hardware stores to various water heater manufacturers. Larry recently attended A.O. Smith University to receive a 32-hour training course on commercial and tankless units, enabling him to continue to provide excellent services: “I came away from this training feeling more equipped with knowledge and hands on experience that will allow me to be a better asset to this company as well and to the customers we serve. I networked and was able to meet individuals creating relationships that will serve me well.” As a small business, heading into its second year, U.S. Water Heating Solutions aims to develop a new standard for service and quality, which begins with the establishment of strong manufacturer relationships and training seminars like this one.
This training experience was unique because Larry is our first technician who has ever driven to training! The nearly eight hour drive to Ashland City provided a unique opportunity for our technician and the staff at A.O. Smith. This was the first time our colleagues at A.O. have had the opportunity to physically set foot in one of our active service vehicles, providing them with a glimpse of how we have created a user-friendly vehicle for our technicians, providing them access to various residential and commercial parts.
In preparation for our upcoming Family Owned Fridays (or #FOF) social media campaign, we decided to take an inside look at what it is that sets family owned businesses apart from the crowd. U.S. Water Heating Solutions may be a relatively young company, but it has been built on generations of pride and experience which have since been passed on creating an entirely new family that reaches five states (and counting!). Poet and author, Rupi Kaur’s describes her pride in her ancestors throughout The Sun and Her Flowers: “i am the product of all the ancestors getting together and deciding these stories need to be told.” Whether it is culture, business, art, or a combination of the aforementioned, our staff has found that family is the reason: the reason to get up at 4 am everyday, the reason to work hard everyday, the reason to take pride in your work.
Sure, our About Us page will summarize who we are and what we do, but it doesn’t quite capture what being a family owned business means to our employees nor how it impacts our customers. I decided to sit down with various members of our executive board, while searching for an answer. Along the way, we dug deep into the value of family and how it has enabled us to grow beyond Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.