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HVAC Hall of Fame Welcomes Stan Johnson, Jr., Advocate for Higher Standards

Sept. 26, 2022
Stan Johnson, Jr. saw a need for better standards in HVAC installations, and helped to rewrite ACCA Manual J and other texts. He was a Texas ACCA founder and past-president of ACCA national, and a founding member and investor of Service Nation.

The year was 1954. Stan Johnson, Sr., was working in a two-man company in Austin. He learned all he could, and In a few years, started Stan’s Service & Installation out of his garage. It came to be known later as Stan’s Heating & Air Conditioning (now Stan’s Heating Air & Plumbing).

His son, Stan, Jr., would hand his dad tools and hold the flashlight, but he never thought it would go beyond that. During college, he figured he’d get a degree, and work for his father in the summer. After college, the Viet Nam war escalated, but his attempt to join the Air Force was denied due to a technical glitch that wrongly disqualified Stan and others. Wanting to serve in some way, he worked in a communications post for the National Guard in Fort Polk, La., followed by a marketing position at Houston Light & Power.

Back to HVAC

Stan, Jr.  and his wife Delaine each had college degrees, hers in teaching and Stan’s in marketing. But his dad needed help, so Stan and Delaine moved back to Austin in 1972. Father and son worked the business together from 1972 to 1987, as president and vice president.

“It went from being a service business to new construction, because Austin was a boom town, and still is,” Stan says. “For 10 years, we took out over half of the air conditioning permits issued each year by the city of Austin. We were doing 5,000 to 6,000 houses a year. Among our customers was President Lyndon Johnson, at the LBJ Ranch.”

Then came a shocking development: the Texas oil industry bust hit, followed by the Texas savings and loan housing crisis of 1986, followed by a great reduction in new housing starts and bankrupt home builders. It vaporized the company’s new construction work.  

“We lost other trades, builders, and banks. By then, my dad had left the company, and said to put it into bankruptcy if that’s what you want to do,” Stan shares.
Instead, he worked with the banks for an extended line of credit, and family members helped out, too. “In 1992, we had paid off the banks and got out from bankruptcy. It took me to 2000 to really get us back into just decent financial condition, but we kept the company going and built the business back,” he recalls. He also noticed the proliferation of other small HVAC companies that needed help with business management.

Seeking Better for All

Stan Johnson’s legacy is as one who was tireless in his efforts to improve the business and technical proficiency of both new and well- established HVAC business owners. “I was convinced that the HVAC industry was underpaid, underappreciated and undereducated, as far as getting to the top of what we needed to know to do the business,” He says. “I also needed to make more money, but couldn’t unless everybody could make more money. My goal forever after that was to do what I could to increase contractor connectivity in the air conditioning industry and their education and understanding of the business side.”

In the early 1970s, before the housing crash, Stan and a group of contractors from across Texas had already started to establish licensing, because there was protectionism going on in communities surrounding the bigger cities, that required licensing to acquire a permit. A licensing law passed in 1981, when Stan was president of the Texas ACCA. He continued to run the business, assisted the state of Texas in establishing the licensing department, and helped start the Austin chapter of ACCA.

In 1982 Stan stepped away from industry activities to help care for their three year-old daughter Tara, who was undergoing many years of cancer treatments in St. Jude’s hospital. She eventually recovered, and now works in the medical field.

Stan Johnson served on the board of the Texas ACCA, the national ACCA board for 12 years, was a national ACCA chairman, and helped to rewrite ACCA Manual J and other energy and comfort related documents and procedures.

Stan Johnson was a founding member and investor of Service Nation and currently serves as a facilitator of Service Nation Alliance groups and as an Alliance Coach. He helped form the “Excellent” MIX Group for ACCA.

From fellow Hall of Famers:

  • “I didn’t know Stan when he helped fund the start of Service Nation. He got involved because he believed the program we were creating was good for the industry and good for contractors,. As I got to know Stan, I found him to be a man of good character, with the heart of a servant, as well as an accomplished businessman and great family man." - Matt Michel.
  • “In Texas, we have a saying, ‘He is the type of man you would ride the river with. He’s a good friend, father, husband and businessman. I am honored to support his nomination,” - Larry Taylor
  • “Stan Johnson was an excellent business planner with above average understanding of the complex elements required to resolve building needs. Stan was loved by his co-workers, appreciated by code enforcement and respected by his clients.” - Steve Saunders

Stan Johnson will be inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame during the Service World Expo, October 18-21 in Tampa, Florida. His fellow inductees will be Tom Casey, Jr. and Joe Cunningham.

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.