Casto Technical Services, Inc. of Charleston, West Virginia, recently marked 50 years of providing HVAC services for commercial, institutional, and industrial customers. The company was founded in 1969 by Harry Casto, who passed away in January of 2014 at the age of 90. During his long life, Harry Casto became known as a benefactor of the arts, avid sports fan, world traveler, and all-around outstanding citizen.
Casto Technical Services provides state-of-the-art HVAC services for buildings such as schools, large corporate buildings, and hospitals in all of West Virginia, and sections of Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Casto Technical Service offerings include HVAC commercial services, retrofit and replacement installation services, energy services, building automation systems, and designed solutions.
Casto Technical Services has done an excellent job of keeping in step with the latest trends in commercial HVAC and being prepared for a variety of customer needs. Those include building optimization, remote monitoring, light and heavy commercial services, chiller overhaul projects, and fire damper inspections.
Founder Harry Casto was a life-long Charleston resident and graduate of West Virginia University. He secured a Trane franchise in the West Virginia area. At that time, Trane was not in the business of providing local service, and encouraged franchise holders to start service companies to fill that need. The Trane franchise ended in 2014.
As president of Casto Technical Services, Nate Casto, 70, has managed the company through 40 years of business. While building the company, Nate worked in and filled many of the roles within the organization. Beginning as a service technician helper, Nate worked in the parts warehouse, as service coordinator, and as an account manager. As he grew the organization, Nate filled these roles and began managing the business.
“That work was essential in providing the necessary exposure to the full scope of the business operation, especially working as a service technician. It showed me the difficulty that can come with working under certain circumstances, from an emergency situation, to inclement weather, to just being puzzled by a mechanical problem. Through it all, I learned that it’s not an easy job,” Casto says.
As Casto Technical Services continues to develop its customer base and expand its territory, Nate Casto does all he can to help technicians feel secure in all circumstances. Seeing this need, he and the management team developed a Service Advisory Council, in which a small group of technicians meet quarterly, for the purpose of making recommendations to the
“The meetings are completely open, and the employees are empowered to schedule a time for what they wish to discuss, and they speak freely. They generally invite me and our two service managers, the Operations Manager and the General Service Manager, and sometimes others,” Casto says.
The subject of training often rises to the top as an ongoing employee need. “As a result, our technician training programs have continued to improve, and we invest a significant amount of money in technical training,” Casto explains.
“A retired service manager comes in and teaches courses. We have other technicians who teach courses, and we have guests who come in who are usually representing vendors who will teach, and we enroll technicians in outside courses and seminars,” Casto says.
“We work on training constantly, and not necessarily just in a classroom,” Casto adds. “Technicians talk to each other, and text each other about technical issues. Our field service manager, Chris Pierce, is an industry veteran, and one of those people who every company needs and wants, because he knows everything. He’s an excellent technician, and he’s available all the time. On-the-job training is what matters for those guys.”
Nate Casto knows that company mission statements can be forgotten over time, which is why he came up with an alternative to the formal statement, one that he believes works just as well.
“We have the tagline of, ‘We make buildings work…better,’ he explains. “We call it a mission statement, even though it isn’t. But we really work on our core values.”
Those core values have been developed from the letters in the Casto name:
C: COMMUNICATION —“In many organizations communication is always spoken of as an area of concern. And I think everyone here would say communication is not good enough,” Casto admits. “A management team must be as open with communication as it can possibly be, but also ask for the same in return, from employees.
“Communication is a difficult, next to impossible thing to make work really well, and yet, I am very close to many of the employees. I text with employees. So there is a good line of communication, but I bet if you ask employees what the biggest problem is they would say communication. So, it’s a funny thing that does require a lot of attention even if you don’t get anywhere with it. I would say we have done a good job.”
A: ACCOUNTABILITY— Nate Casto believes that if you truly want to improve accountability throughout an organization, it will happen.
“Accountability is one of the more difficult concepts to work on, to implement, and to really live by, as much as anything,” he says. “But, like communication, it warrants a lot of attention and discussion. Accountability is as small a thing as turning your service reports in on time. Or, as large and comprehensive as truly taking on the responsibility for a customer, a job, or a situation. And that goes throughout the organization. That’s not just field technicians; it’s service coordinators, it’s financial people, it’s managers, and I hope it will soon be coming from the apprentices, too.
S: SERVICE — “What I value most is when a customer writes or calls, or sends an email to say that a technician or an installer did a great job, or that a visit from an account manager was a very positive experience,” Casto says. “How you accomplish that as an employee is something a little bit more involved than ‘being on time.’ Yes, being on time is necessary, but communicating and giving excellent service to customers is the core of our business.”
T: TRUST — “An organization builds trust with honesty as it’s constant.” Casto says. “It’s a continual building and re-building process. “First, we must build trust within the company among all employees, and then we can outwardly communicate that trust to our customers. Mistakes are inevitable, and we all make them. As a company, we try to take responsibility when we mess up. We understand this, and so do our customers, some who have been with us for decades. I think when both the employees and the customers stay with your company for decades, that shows an atmosphere of trust.”
O: OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE — Excellent performance at Casto Technical Services is recognized and rewarded in a variety of ways, including by something as simple as internal recognition when someone does a great job.
“Those people are rewarded emotionally as well as financially. Being told you do a good job encourages operational excellence,” Casto says.
Nate Casto believes that the Casto team is a superior organization, and one that’s continuing to grow and build a reputation for excellence in the industry. Nate will always testify that the success Casto Technical enjoys is due entirely to the work of highly qualified associates working as a team. And he intends to be around a while longer as they continue to expand and achieve new goals.
“My father worked until he could no longer move, so longevity is in the family,” he says. “I see a slow and careful expansion of our business, and in five years I see no reason why we shouldn’t double our revenue and double our geographic area, or increase significantly our geographic area that we work in.”
CONGRATULATIONS to Nate Casto and the team at Casto Technical Services, Inc., for being named a Contracting Business Commercial HVAC Contractor of Excellence!