• Hurlburt
    Hurlburt’s service area is approximately 80 miles wide in west-Central Wisconsin. Its customer base is more than 12,000 strong.

    CONTRACTOR OF EXCELLENCE: Hurlburt Heating, AC & Plumbing

    Oct. 18, 2021
    Our HVAC Contractors of Excellence embody values of family and community, to enrich their employees, their customers and their communities. Hurlburt Heating, AC & Plumbing

    Commonly known as America’s Heartland, the Midwest invokes the values of family and community. This Midwestern "Contractor of Excellence" embodies those values to enrich their employees, their customers and their communities.

    Hurlburt Heating, AC & Plumbing
    Location: Durand, Wis.
    Owner: Greg Mericle 

    Hurlburt Heating, AC & Plumbing opened its doors in 1959; founders Perry and Fran Hurlburt built their business by providing high-quality work to their customers. The Hurlburts built trusting relationships with their customers by standing behind the company’s work. 

    Greg Mericle, who bought the business six years ago and now serves as its president, continues under the same principles the Hurlburts
    emphasized 62 years ago. As such, Hurlburt Heating has grown to 41 employees (8 office, 33 field) with 27 trucks serving west-central Wisconsin.

    “We’re in the heart of rural, small-town America in the upper Midwest,” Mericle notes. “Despite sparce population, our service area is large (approximately 80 miles wide) and our customer base is more than 12,000 strong and constantly growing.” He adds that the company has service agreements with 517 customers. 

    He describes the culture as “close-knit, fast-paced, organized, value-driven, family-oriented and customer-focused.” 

    Company goals include 20 percent growth, year over year, with separate goals involving growth of the customer base and increased review counts. 

    “Our philosophy is to empower every member of our team to have the confidence and ability to do what it takes to provide the customer over-the-top satisfaction,” Mericle explains. 

    Mericle notes that the majority of the firm’s technicians are NATE-certified. “NATE provides a good industry standard that is nationally recognized,” he explains. Techs also are encouraged to pursue EPA certification and master geothermal installer training.

    To help accomplish this, Hurlburt’s staff received extensive communications training — including technicians “We hold bi-weekly communication training for CSRs, as well as weekly technician training for customer communication and technical skills,” he adds.Technical expertise also is important, and Mericle notes that the majority of the firm’s technicians are NATE-certified. “NATE provides a good industry standard that is nationally recognized,” he explains. Techs also are encouraged to pursue EPA certification and master
    geothermal installer training.

    “Investment in our employees is one way we differentiate ourselves from competitors,” he says. “Ongoing training, interest in employees — they’re not just a number to us.”

    That investment pays off in many ways, including a “commitment to over-the-top customer service, including personal service 24/7,” Mericle explains. “We’re community minded, and very technology-forward.” He adds that his staff excels in marketing, customer service, training, technology, customer fulfillment and satisfaction.

    But the management team at Hurlburt doesn’t do it alone — they leverage memberships in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors, Service Nation and the Wisconsin Geothermal Association to keep abreast of best practices and industry issues.

    The management team at Hurlburt doesn’t do it alone — they leverage memberships in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors, Service Nation and the Wisconsin Geothermal Association to keep abreast of best practices and industry issues.

    “We are very active in industry best-practice groups that meet virtually on a weekly basis, where we share ideas and solutions,” Mericle states. 

    Giving back to the community is important to Hurlburt employees; they have donated heating and cooling systems — as well as the installation labor — for families in need. In 2020, Hurlburt Heating created a "Love Local" program to help local businesses that were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

     In 2020, Hurlburt Heating created a "Love Local" program to help local businesses that were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The people here are incredible, and we feel that we are extremely progressive in our level of service and use of technology,” Mericle says. “Due to our success, which is driven by the communities we serve, we’re able to give back at a high level.”

    Kelly Faloon is a contributing writer to Contracting Business magazine and principal of Faloon Editorial Services. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, she has more than 20 years of experience in the plumbing and heating industry and B2B publishing. Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University.