Dave Downing & Associates
- Written by: E.C. Gregg
- Produced by: Ryan Fecteau
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
When it comes to air and water filtration, sometimes the hardest thing may be knowing your choices, says Dave Downing.
As the founder of Dave Downing & Associates (DDA), an air and water filtration supply company based in Phoenix, Arizona, he would know. His company distributes and installs myriad products that include air filters, air pollution control and cleaning systems, liquid process filtration products and evaporative cooler pads. It does so for manufacturing facilities, prisons, data centers and many other types of industrial and commercial buildings.
“There are new products becoming available all the time, and these products either last longer, which makes them less expensive to own, or they may have a lower static pressure drop, which means they don’t use as much energy to operate,” Downing says.
Part of DDA’s job is helping customers understand that these modern air filters require less horsepower to circulate air through the building, which translates to lower energy costs.
“If you think about air conditioning systems, the duct work always stays the same, the air conditioning requirements stay the same, the only thing that changes is the resistance to air flow and that’s provided by the air filter,” Downing says.
Over 30 years in the making
Downing started DDA with his wife, Linda, in 1981.
At the time, DDA focused on selling air filters for air conditioning systems to commercial businesses in Arizona. But in just three months, Downing expanded by hiring people to install and service the air filtration systems, as well.
To keep up with the winds of change, DDA also joined the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA), the Mechanical Trade Contractors of Arizona (MTCAZ) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Soon, DDA was changing air filters for national retailers like Kmart and Mervyn’s. The company even provided large water strainers manufactured by Eaton, an international power and manufacturing company, for the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a 336-mile-long delivery system that transports water from the Colorado River to southern Arizona.
“It’s a good feeling when you’re watching the power company meter spin and suddenly it slows down after changing the filters,” says Founder Dave Downing.
In 2007, the company moved into its current 39,000-square-foot headquarters on the west side of Phoenix. The combined warehouse and front office are even powered by a series of solar panels, which helps DDA stay true to the company’s commitment to energy efficiency, Downing says.
In a similar vein, DDA only buys products made in America, unless they are specially made in another country.
“We stopped buying the Chinese product because we were having trouble with them shipping it on time, and our Texas-based manufacturer came up with a better pricing for us,” Downing says.
Second generation leadership
Over the years, DDA has also turned into a family business.
In the late ‘90s, Downing’s sons, Jason and Jeron, began spending their high school summers working in the company’s warehouse, learning the business of air and water filtration.
Today, they are leaders in the company and in the industry.
Seven years ago, Jeron was asked to join the board of directors of NAFA, and was even named president of the Association in 2015, while his brother Jason is also on the board of directors of MTCAZ.
When he thinks of his sons, Downing says he not only feels flattered that they would want to follow in his footsteps, “but then be so successful doing it.”
Internally, Jason and Jeron have helped DDA discover new business opportunities in Phoenix.
For instance, the brothers realized that some clients didn’t buy all their filters from DDA because the store’s location on the west side of the city was too far for them to travel. So in 2016, DDA opened a second location in the East Valley of Phoenix.
With a new location, DDA has been able to tackle an exciting new market appearing in The Grand Canyon State.
Downing says data centers have been popping up “like crazy” because of the state’s predicable climate and booming tech industry, and best of all, at least for DDA, data centers require a great deal of air conditioning to keep the equipment cool and functioning properly.
Last year, DDA introduced a data center to its lower pressure drop filter, and in a single demonstration, saved the data center 40 percent on the cost of energy by delivering more air with less horsepower.
“It’s a good feeling when you’re watching the power company meter spin and suddenly it slows down after changing the filters,” Downing says.
Whether its improving efficiency for a data center or introducing American-made air filters to a retail giant, Downing says every job begins with educating the client.
“It’s why we spend a lot of time visiting with people from MTCAZ and ASHRAE, so that we can be aware of new technologies and bring them to the end user,” he says.
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