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Your company culture is the sum of the company values. Everyone may not share every value, but everyone should accept and be compatible with every value.
Terry McIver

Hall of Famer Steve Miles & Team Keep on Hitting Home Runs

Sept. 26, 2023
This new member of the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame follows the "just do it" approach. Funny how that works.

A September visit to Jerry Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning, St. Peters, Mo. provided me with an opportunity to check in on a good friend of this publication, Steve Miles, who leads the most excellent team at Jerry Kelly Co., our 2006 Residential Contractor of the Year.

 The occasion for my visit was to present Steve Miles with admission to the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame, reserved for independent business owners who have devoted a lifetime to excellence in HVAC contracting.

Steve had requested I visit, so that he could recognize the entire Jerry Kelly team. What he didn’t know was the morning his leadership team had prepared, with decorations and breakfast. About half of the technician team was there, those who were not taking morning training at the
local Johnstone Supply, along with Steve’s trusted managers, including Shelly Smith, service manager, and marketing director Bethany Delaurencio.

Another mutual friend and long-time CB author and consultant and Hall of Famer, Matt Michel, was also there as a special surprise guest.

“I don’t know who screwed up [by selecting me],” Miles said. I’m being inducted with Rob Falke and Dominick Guarino of National Comfort Institute, who are amazing giants in the industry. But I’ll take it,” he said.

Miles joked about always keeping his opinions to himself. Truth is, Steve Miles's passion about business excellence makes him quite vocal about what needs to be in place at a successful HVAC business.

“When somebody at another company asks me, I’ll tell them what I see, what I think. I don’t tell them what to do, I tell them what I might be changed in the approach. If they’re doing something good, I congratulate them, and will try to emulate it here.”

One of Steve’s mottos is, “’Let’s just suck a little less.’ Obviously, we want to get better. That’s what we do as a company, and all you guys are part of it. I couldn’t have done any of this without all of you and the predecessors that have sat in your seats for the last 30 years. A lot of them are not walking around, but we thank all of them. They all had a part in getting us to where we’re at.

“I’ve got to thank my family, my wife Jill, and Jerry and Janet Kelly, who brought me in as an electrician 30 years ago.”

Always an information sponge, Steve wasted no time in attending industry events once he started there as a dispatcher. At those events he met various industry influencers like Matt Michel. “I joined the Excellence Alliance in the mid-90s. And then, when Matt [rebuilt it] as Service Nation Alliance, it became a very successful organization that helps contractors from around the country.

“We go to these meetings to learn what the best-of-the-best are doing, and we try to emulate them. That’s all we’ve ever done.”

I made the presentation to Steve at the company’s rather new headquarters, a 21,000 sq. ft. complex that features an open-floor design, so everybody can see everybody else. After knocking down some walls,  there is no more hunting for each other down a maze of hallways or multiple floors. The facility gave them the ability to eliminate four buildings across 13 blocks in St. Charles, and includes a huge billboard visible from a major highway, ample space for training, screens that track and display daily company goals, and a kitchen space I know my wife would like to have. “Here, communication is better, and we’ve improved the advertising potential of this building versus our old location. We get 40,000 vehicles a day on this highway."

Jerry Kelly Co., started by Steve’s father-in-law Jerry Kelly, has endured through every economic storm, supply chain setback that came along, because it’s always been grounded in solid principles of service. They're in your face, with purple truck wraps, private label products -- "Emerald"-- and community service. The weekend to come was to be the company's annual Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease, in honor of Janet Kelly, one dear lady who is afflicted by it. They foot the bill for everything, and have raised more than $100,000 for research.

They’re not the cheapest service and installation provider, and don’t want to be. They pay more than union shops, and have implemented a 4-day on/4-day off technician schedule that the team has accepted with joy.  Any techs that have left often want to come back.

Congratulations, Steve Miles, and continued best wishes for you and the team at Jerry Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning!

About the Author

Terry McIver | Content Director - CB

A career publishing professional, Terence 'Terry' McIver has served three diverse industry publications in varying degrees of responsibility since 1987, and worked in marketing communications for a major U.S. corporation.He joined the staff of Contracting Business magazine in April 2005.

As director of content for Contracting Business, he produces daily content and feature articles for CB's 38,000 print subscribers and many more Internet visitors. He has written hundreds, if not two or three, pieces of news, features and contractor profile articles for CB's audience of quality HVACR contractors. He can also be found covering HVACR industry events or visiting with manufacturers and contractors. He also has significant experience in trade show planning.