United Air Temp
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Caitlin Mugford
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Clifford B. Fowler established a small manufacturing and product assembly business in 1931. Originally the Fowler Heating Company, the Erie, Pa., business started out as a builder of incinerator and crematorium equipment. Clifford also sourced controls and materials for other product assembly with sister company Aire Flow Distributing.
Over time, a shift in consumer demand led to the company expanding into the HVAC business. Clifford’s son, Bill Fowler, took over the business in 1976. A former employee of Trane, Bill helped to launch the business into the HVAC market; he drove the business through serious geographic expansion, eventually changing the company name to United Air Temp (UAT).
Today, UAT is a leading residential HVAC contractor with 23 branches throughout the southern East Coast states. Headquartered in Lorton, Va., the business employs a team of approximately 250. The company has since changed hands in ownership; Gabe Ivanescu, CEO, now works alongside Michael Giordano, president, as well as Butch McGonegal, senior vice president, to ensure UAT runs smoothly.
Butch has been with the business for 15 years. He began his career with his family’s HVAC company and built a relationship with former president, Bill, who invited him to get involved with the business. Since then, Butch has taken on part ownership, taking great pride in the company and his team, noting that experience, integrity and flexibility set the business apart from other HVAC contractors.
UAT has established a solid niche in the residential repair and replacement industry. “Our business model is unique,” Butch explains. “The skill sets our employees possess are diverse. We have a network of smaller, centralized branches where employees report and are dispatched from. We offer a full service menu of in-home repair and replacement packages on an as-needed basis. We offer and encourage our customers to take advantage of our maintenance program. Our full service agreement covers everything, including motors and parts.”
Butch and his team strive to employ a certain kind of HVAC professional. The team actively pursues and recruits technicians with positive attitudes who can offer the level of friendly, reliable service that builds trust with customers. UAT wants customers to be informed, helping people understand how to keep systems running efficiently, and in turn, helping save money on repairs and energy costs.
Aside from the typical repair and replacement options, UAT has added a number of associated services to customers. Forced air zoning allows homeowners to control temperature within different rooms of the house, by closing off vents and utilizing individual thermostats. The crew also helps customers improve indoor air quality through proper ventilation and humidity control. Geothermal technology has been on the rise and UAT has installed several systems helping homeowners take advantage of the temperature consistency underground.
Staying ahead with technology and best practices has been integral to UAT’s success. Therefore, Butch serves on the Government Relations Committee for the National Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) and is involved on a state level with the Plumbing and Mechanical Professionals of Virginia (PMPV).
“The reason members join a trade association varies,” Butch explains. “The PHCC offers a variety of tools, including education, networking and the organization’s ability to interact with the legislative process.”
A major benefit for UAT and other associate members is the interaction and involvement with the various trade organizations. “I have to be subjective, but I think member relationships are effective in our organization,” Butch continues. “We share respect for each other and the association. If we are competing for the same job and someone else gets it, we know that it is on the merit of their work and that their service technician did a better job.”
Looking forward, Butch is excited about the possibilities both for his company and for his fellow PHCC and PMPV members. He sees a lot of opportunity in the market, as well as the industry’s ability to help build more opportunities by engaging with lawmakers. In preparation for growth, Butch continues to work toward building new relationships and maintaining those that already exist for UAT.
Whether with employees, clients, strategic partners, industry peers or just the local communities the business serves, the success of UAT comes down to relationships. Butch and his team strive to operate with respect for all parties involved, employing strong communication, value and safety to propel the company’s mission forward. United Air Temp is a standout contractor and the crew will continue to build on a strong foundation of quality, ethical business practices.
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