Case Studies

Carrier: Innovation Is In the Air

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Founded on Willis Carrier’s invention of modern day air conditioning, Carrier is now a world leader in heating, air conditioning and cutting-edge refrigeration technologies. The Connecticut-based multifaceted HVAC provider is building on a history of industry leading innovation with new product development and services that improve global comfort and efficiency.

Inventing a New Industry

“Willis not only founded the company, but the industry itself,” explains David Meyers, vice president of sales and distribution for Carrier. “Our parent firm, United Technologies Company [UTC], also has a rich background. The founders of UTC invented the first helicopter and elevator, establishing those industries; and from today’s perspective, are well-established market leaders.”

Carrier joined the UTC family in 1979. “Under UTC, our business is split about 50/50,” reveals Meyers. “Half of our work consists of HVAC, fire and alarm systems, as well as elevators and escalators; the other half is comprised of aviation and aerospace work. UTC has even designed components for NASA space suits.” Like its parent company, Carrier is also a diverse organization, ranging from traditional HVAC installation and products to precise environmental controls for some of the most high-profile historic renovations.

Carrier was founded in 1915, after Willis revolutionized the heating and cooling industry forever in 1902. Willis’ original idea sprouted from trying to solve humidity issues in the printing press he worked in. The high humidity was causing ink to bleed from the pages of published materials.

“Willis was actually named one of Time magazine’s most 100 influential people for his influential contribution,” shares Meyers. “We see it as our responsibility to continue his vision and our history of innovation by leading the industry moving forward.”

Global Ground

Today Carrier employs over 61,000 worldwide personnel, with 67 manufacturing locations spanning 170 countries and nearly every continent. “We have partners all over the U.S. and Canada,” details Meyers. “We divide our service about 50 percent through North America and 50 percent overseas. However, the North American market is a more mature market; the U.S. has over 90 million homes, but Asian markets are growing at a fast rate thanks to urbanization.”

The company operates globally in all various markets, from some of the largest high-rise structures in the world to grocery refrigeration systems and family-home heating and cooling. “We’re as engaged in the heavy and light commercial industries, as we are in residential,” explains Meyers.

Being involved in multiple global markets takes the expertise and know-how of nearly 100 years in business. Carrier deals with HVAC systems throughout the world different from those in North America. “HVAC in the U.S. is fed through duct systems, but if you go anywhere outside of North America, into Europe, Latin America and Asia, the systems are completely duct-free,” adds Meyers. “This technology is very advanced, and is actually starting to grow in the U.S., because it’s much simpler in the application process to hang heating and cooling from the wall.”

Aside from traditional HVAC installation, Carrier has been involved in many specialized climate controlled environment projects over the years. “There are many unique environmental challenges clients have come to us with,” reveals Meyers. “They come to us because we have the best installers and service contractors in the business.”

Carrier’s work spans from ideal environments for historic paintings in the Sistine Chapel to George Washington’s estate in Virginia. “We were involved in over 70 percent of the projects for the Beijing and London Olympics, including the famous Great Hall of the People,” adds Meyers. “We’ve even assisted in environmental controls for preserving a mummy found in the Andes Mountains.”

The company’s Transicold sector of the business increases its global footprint and outreach by providing a much needed means of refrigeration to get food to underdeveloped countries. “Other parts of the world don’t have the necessary refrigeration systems like we do in western civilization,” shares Meyers. “We’ve developed transport equipment to make farm to market food more possible.”

Balanced Business

According to Meyers, Carrier’s diversity, both geographic and market-wise, has enabled the company to survive amid a tough economy with little new construction. “Although the new construction market is slowly starting to come back we’ve seen the multifamily housing and retail sectors grow rapidly,” he says. “It’s been a challenge for all of us, but I think we’ve come out of the downturn better prepared to serve more segments of the industry for the future.”

While some markets came to a steady halt, Carrier was able to keep business balanced by working in other areas. “The pie certainly shrunk,” tells Meyers. “But we modified our product lines and remained aggressive in the markets that still remained. UTC’s performance hasn’t wavered; we’ve been able to support each other. The past five years or so has just made us better and more prepared than before.”

After 20 years in the industry, Meyers understands the meaning of total performance of HVAC systems and how Carrier delivers that like no other. As the first company in the industry, Carrier upholds its responsibility to lead through innovation, making a global difference in comfort and efficiency.

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Published on: June 29, 2013

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