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
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.
“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.”
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!