From Technician to Contractor to Texas HERO
While most of us fell into HVAC, Larry chose it. After serving in Vietnam on a swift boat, Larry graduated from Oklahoma State Tech and went to work for TD Industries as a service tech. TD is one of the storied companies in the HVAC industry. Larry rose through the ranks to become vice president of service.
In 1990, Larry purchased AirRite Air Conditioning in Fort Worth, growing the company to be one of the most respected in the industry. In 2012, Larry sold the business.
Larry also started a home energy rating company, HERS Raters of Texas, L.L.C., which he still owns. He worked with other visionary leaders to organize the Texas Home Raters Organization and was its founding president.
Thinking about his career, Larry said, “During this time frame I had many opportunities to work in industry related organizations and meet many great mentors while serving many different position in ACCA and capping off that era by service as Chairman of ACCA in 2001 and receiving the Spirit of Independence Award that same year. Also, I’m a Founding Member and Investor in the Service Roundtable.”
Larry was also a founding member of Comfort Institute, giving him experience from the early days of the home performance process, which he applied to the AirRite business model.
A Contracting Business Residential Contractor of the Year, Larry is also the latest inductee to the Contracting Business Hall of Fame and was named as one of the “Most Influential People in the HVAC Industry.” A member of the Service Nation Alliance when he owned AirRite, Larry was named a Service Nation Business Coach once the business was sold.
“Having served in these positions and running my own company, being involved in ACCA MIX Group and Service Nation Alliance has developed a wide range of knowledge which I am continuing to share with other through coaching and advisory positions,” added Larry.
Looking to Grow?
Because of his broad base of experience in all areas of HVAC and home performance, Larry is uniquely positioned to help contractors interested in growth, development, and expansion into the home performance arena. Where he feels he can provide the greatest help is at the top of a contracting organization.
He commented, “I found most areas of failure were related to leadership and organizational skills, management understanding and implementation, tracking and measuring performance, developing systems and programs for tracking and measuring performance across many platforms in the HVAC industry.”
Larry’s approach consists of:
• Sales and promotions tied into marketing
o Developing programs to drive sales
o Creating incentive programs related to the sales team
o Implementation of sales processes
• Measuring and monitoring the service side
o Implementation of service agreement programs
o Maximizing sales opportunities from service agreements
• Proper accounting
“In general,” says Larry, “I would summarize that as organization, systems, innovative thinking, asset development of the company and processes.”
The Business Model of Tomorrow
Larry believes the biggest challenges facing contractors are “Leadership development and visionary skill sets to continue to move from today’s business model to the business model that tomorrow will require.”
Larry says he wants to, “raise the level of professionalism, so contractors move beyond the price driven commodity markets that currently exist. Helping owners decide to move to a market leadership position instead of just being in the pack provides a lot of satisfaction to me.”
“Contractors claim they want change, but are not sure how to make it happen and really, fear change.”
Once they do see a better way, they wonder why they hesitated. Larry adds, “I always found it very exciting and fulfilling to watch people’s minds open when they begin to think of new and creative ways to solve the problems that we, as contractors, have created over many years through our installations. Once they see the difference that a quality job with proper installation practices can make in their customers’ lives and in their ability to grow their businesses, the change becomes worthwhile.”
Larry’s Sweet Spot
As a consultant, Larry likes to work with “existing residential and light commercial service, replacement, and modernization organizations, including those wanting to expand services into other trades.”
Larry says companies with 2.5 to 7.5 million in sales are his most attractive target, before adding that, “Smaller companies from 1.0 to 2.5 million are great to work with if owners have the attitude to grow, change and move to next level.”
A Man of Integrity
I’ve known Larry for 20 years and consider him a friend. The word I think I most associate with Larry is “integrity.” He is his own man and true to himself. What you see is what you get. He will always tell you the truth, even if he knows you may not like it. He is a strong family man and a good and loyal friend. His experience and character make him a trustworthy consultant.
If you are a consultant who wants to be featured in “Meet the Consultants” or you know someone who should be featured, contact Matt Michel. If you would like to learn more about the Service Roundtable or Service Nation Alliance, call 877.262.3341.