Stephanie Hurd

By: Stephanie Hurd on October 20th, 2020

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Client Spotlight: McIntire HVAC

Life at Innovative | Client Spotlight

What do you think of when you think of an HVAC company?

Quirky culture, modern technology, and participative leadership may not be the first things that come to mind.

But those are the characteristics of McIntire HVAC that stood out after sitting down for coffee with Shelley McIntire, Owner/President/Heart of the Company, and Sarah Elwood, Creative Director. Bill McIntire, Co-Owner/Founder/Estimator, joined us in spirit while he was busy getting his crew up to speed for their morning job assignments (sorry, Bill, we'll make the next one a happy hour when you can join us 🍺).

The Deets: McIntire HVAC

Type of Business: Commercial and residential HVAC

Number of Employees: 10

Location/Service Area: Located in Hagerstown, Maryland, serves Washington County and the surrounding tri-state region.

Year Founded: 2010

Became an Innovative Customer: 2016

What Makes McIntire HVAC unique or special?

Being a woman-owned business in a heavily male-dominated industry isn't the only way McIntire breaks the stereotypical HVAC company mold.

From Story Time with Danny to birthday cards for your central air conditioning (complete with a personalized photo from Bill and Shelley), McIntire cracked the code on making HVAC fun.

“We try to find opportunities in the process to brighten someone’s day,” said Shelley as she described some of their quirky customer touchpoints.

Has your HVAC company ever told you to put down your margarita and get out of the pool; your tech is en route to fix your A/C? McIntire does.

They’ll even remind you to lock your dog out of the way before the tech arrives. But most importantly, if your dog is cute, they want you to take a photo and send it to them. The board of customer dog photos in their office is a reminder of the personal connection these touches allow them to make with their customers.

What do you love about the McIntire HVAC team?

“We love that our team loves us,” was Shelley’s immediate response.

Wondering how she can say that so confidently? When your company has a former employee with your company’s logo proudly tattooed on his arm, you’ll also say, without a shadow of a doubt, that your team truly loves your company.

In addition to employees who permanently brand themselves as lifetime members of the extended McIntire HVAC family, Shelley and Sarah both talked about how much they love growing together with their team.

As a 10-year-old company, they’re incredibly proud of their homegrown team. From the assistant turned business manager to the roofer turned sales leader, the McIntire team is growing right alongside the business

Shelley admits it hasn’t always been perfect, and they’ve certainly made their fair share of mistakes. But they’re proud of the intentional work they’ve done to build an environment where people want to work.

How have you adapted in response to the pandemic?

Bittersweet. That’s the word Shelley and Sarah repeatedly used to describe many elements of their pandemic response.

Like most small businesses, the pandemic presented McIntire HVAC with some tough decisions. Luckily, they began implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) principles about two years ago. Shelley credits EOS with helping them get the people, processes, and data measures in place that were essential in successfully weathering the pandemic storm.

RELATED ARTICLE: Learn why a mature leadership model is one of the six characteristics of Innovative's ideal client. 

As business slowed in March and April, the team had the time and energy to dive even deeper into EOS. They took a close look at every corner of the company. They re-evaluated how they handle everything: finances, marketing, processes, and field operations.

One of the most challenging decisions that came out of that process was eliminating the electric side of the business. The in-depth analysis they did through the early days of the pandemic made it glaringly apparent that they needed to put all their energy into their one core service. They are more than capable of doing great electric work. But it’s not the business's primary focus and EOS exposed how much energy and attention the company's electric side took away from the HVAC side. So, they made the difficult decision to cut electric work from their services.

Technology and the Pandemic Response

When the state of Maryland first shut down face-to-face businesses, McIntire HVAC successfully transitioned 100% of their employees to work from home set-ups in less than 24 hours.

Bill and Shelley credit Innovative (aww shucks, thanks, guys 😊) with making the transition to remote work easy and painless. Thanks to their strategic approach to IT investments over the past few years, they didn’t have to buy anything new to make the work-from-home transition. They already had a centralized server, VPN connection, and remote phone capabilities. It was just a matter of getting the right features turned on and set up for each employee. Our help desk team took care of that with a simple phone call. 

As a managed services client, McIntire has unlimited help desk support for their existing infrastructure. So there were no extra labor costs associated with the transition. 

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Shelley recalled the early days of the pandemic back when there were so many unknowns, and things were changing by the hour.

“We need to reach out to Innovative right away before everyone else bombards them,” she recalled saying to her team when a shut-down looked imminent.

Shelley was right. We were bombarded with calls to help clients transition to working remotely, all while transitioning our own team to work and dispatch from home.

But even through all that craziness, the Innovative team stayed laser-focused on meeting SLA obligations. It was music to our ears when Shelley said that even in the chaos of March 2020, “I always feel like I’m Innovative’s only customer when I call.”

Within a day, the Innovative team had McIntire HVAC’s employees up and running with secure, remote connections to their shared data and communications systems.

How is your company involved in the community?

If you know anything about Shelley McIntire, you know she loves the city of Hagerstown and is an advocate for Hagerstown residents and businesses. As a current City Council Member running for re-election in November, it feels like an understatement to simply say she’s actively involved in the community.

Shelley says she brings her knowledge about the city and opportunities to get involved back to her McIntire HVAC team. She credits them with really understanding what it means to work for a small business with a prominent community presence. She appreciates that her team is always up to participate in service projects and support community organizations.

Most recently, the McIntire team tie-dyed T-shirts for Washington Goes Purple. They also brought in the Washington County Health Department to provide Narcan training to the whole team. 

About Washington Goes Purple

Washington Goes Purple (WGP) is a substance abuse awareness program that engages our community and youth to stand against substance abuse. Each September, in observance of National Recovery Month, WGP makes a community-wide effort to spread awareness and educate our community. 

There are multiple ways your business can also get involved in Washington Goes Purple:

  • Invite Washington Goes Purple to provide Opioid education for your team.
  • Decorate Purple throughout September to show support.
  • Hold a medication take-back event or Narcan training.
  • Become a Washington Goes Purple sponsor, or hold a fundraiser.
  • Encourage "Purple Fridays" with education and awareness activities.
  • Participate in Washington Goes Purple events with your team.
  • Talk to your team about addiction and mental health.

Final Thoughts About McIntire HVAC

It’s an honor to support clients like McIntire HVAC. They’re a strong asset to our community. Their ability to successfully navigate the challenges of the pandemic is a testament to their leadership and agility. 

Want the same type of IT strategy, service, and support as McIntire HVAC? Learn more about our managed services. 

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