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Home | SAN ANTONIO | Spotlight | Spotlight - Chase Anderson, Shafer Services

Spotlight - Chase Anderson, Shafer Services

image Chase Anderson, President/CEO, Shafer Services, San Antonio, TX

SAN ANTONIO - Chase Anderson had steered his life to go in a certain direction. However, it was someone else’s driving that finally motivated Anderson to put the brakes on, turn around and take a new road into the HVAC industry.





Share about your background.
    Growing up, I aspired to be a veterinarian like my dad. I watched him affect people’s lives and animals’ lives in a positive way. That was something I admired and aspired to do, but before entering into high school, I realized that medicine was not my passion.
    Instead, I thought I might become a professional golfer; I was competitive in the different golf circuits in Texas and throughout the United States. I wanted to pursue a golf career in college and potentially after, but as life goes, that also changed. The TCU golf team recruited me and, although I decided not to pursue golf, I did love the school. When I went to freshman orientation, I knew I wanted a business degree because of its value; I knew I could do whatever I decided to do with my life. That’s how I earned a business degree with a specialty in supply chain management at TCU in 2013.

What path did you take after graduation?

    After that, I really wanted to learn Spanish. At that point in time, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life but I knew I wanted to build my life in San Antonio, and I needed to learn Spanish in order to do that. I found a Spanish immersion program in Santiago, Chile and bought a one-way ticket there. I lived there for five weeks just focusing on improving my Spanish, and then I continued the program in Mendoza, Argentina. I was always interested in the Argentinian culture; I fell in love with it, and worked seven months shipping wine and gas all over Argentina for an over-the road transportation company that was implementing an ERP system.
    I moved back to San Antonio in 2014 and began working as an analyst in JP Morgan’s private bank. I didn’t have much background in finance but I was passionate about finding a good career in San Antonio, and their division there was growing. It was great exposure networking with folks that had pretty good influence and I loved learning about public markets and how finance works.
    I loved that job, but after two years I realized I wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial path. I decided to part ways with JP Morgan and I got into an executive MBA program at St. Mary’s business school. Also during that time frame, I was having conversations with peers and mentors about what I could do in the service industry.

What prompted the change?
    I had a pretty bad car accident. I was parked in a parking lot and an intoxicated driver lost control of his vehicle, drove off of an elevated roadway and his entire vehicle landed on top of my truck while my black Lab and I were inside. I was sitting in the driver seat, my dog was laying down on the floorboard in the backseat, and the whole cab of my truck was crushed. However, because the driver was coming at an angle, the only thing that was not crushed was the driver’s seat. My dog and I both made it out okay, by the grace of God. That was eye-opening for me, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to do some soul searching. Leaving that job was tough for me; it was a great career and I was working with some great people, but life is short and I felt called to do what I love doing. I figured out that what I wanted to do was put myself in a position to improve as many lives as I possibly could. I didn’t know what that was going to look like, but I had a pretty good sense that by being in the service industry I could at least get close to accomplishing that.

What happened next?
    I had a conversation with a good friend who was an electrical contractor. He knew everything that was going on in my life and, since I was looking into the service business and I loved working with my hands and fixing things, he encouraged me to consider going into HVAC. I jumped into some market research for the San Antonio market, saw that it was a fairly attractive opportunity and decided that if I wanted to go for it, I wanted to learn the trade from the ground up.
    I interviewed with about 15 com-panies in town before somebody gave me a shot, and in 2016 I took a job as an installation helper for a residential install team. For about 10 months, I was replacing air conditioners during the day and going to business school at night. I then worked as a service technician for another three months before deciding I wanted to get my feet wet with heavier commercial/industrial equipment.
    I started interviewing with other companies, and one of those companies was Shafer Services. I met with the HVAC manager, the office manager and Jimmy Shafer and was really struck by the professionalism and the experience that this team had. My dad called me after the interview and said he had heard great things about the company but, ironically, I didn’t take the job with Shafer; at the time they weren’t doing quite as much heavy commercial as I wanted to get exposure to. I told my dad that if I ever got the chance to work with them at a strategic or management level, I was going to jump all over that.

How did you finally have the opport-unity to work with Shafer?

    I took a position with another company. Less than a month later, my dad was playing golf with a guy who asked how I was doing. Dad told him about my career path and that my end goal was to buy a business. The guy told my dad that one of his best friends, Jimmy Shafer, was thinking about selling his company! Three months later, I left the job I had just taken and Jimmy and I were sitting at the closing table. In May 2017, I purchased the majority of the company’s equity from Jimmy.

How has the experience of owning a business been?
    It has been a lot of fun. It has been extremely eye-opening as to the demands and pressures entrepreneurs and business owners carry on their shoulders. I’m not going to lie; I underestimated that. I’m making decisions every day that can truly impact 39 other people. That’s a lot of weight but it’s also something that really kind of energizes me. In a way I think I thrive off of that pressure. At the end of the day, it’s given me the opportunity to pursue my reason for making that jump back in the end of 2015. This really has given me the opportunity to improve lives. When I originally thought about the service business, I thought I would be interacting with customers, taking care of people and improving their lives – and that is 100% the case. I love that, but it’s almost more fulfilling to be able to work to improve the lives of the people here that are part of our team.

What mark have you made on the company so far?
    I have focused on really setting goals for us. Jimmy and the whole Shafer family have built and incredible organization and foundation. This business has been around for 130 years and has done some amazing things. What I was energized about and what I have worked to bring to the table is setting our sights on the future. Since we have so much great history, let’s leverage that to take the company to the next level and create something bigger and better for the community. A big part of that is painting that picture of what the future looks like, setting both short-term and long-term goals and working to build that team atmosphere and that congruency that is necessary to achieve those goals.
    In the last year-and-a-half, we’ve also made a more significant push into the commercial space on preventative maintenance, service, and replacement. That’s been really successful for us and we’ve grown significantly because of those efforts.

    What do you hope the future holds for the company?

    Our “WAG” – which is what I call our “Wild Ass Goal” – is to grow our 19 trucks to 100 trucks and our 39 employees to 150 employees by 2030. It’s definitely aspirational but totally doable. It’s not about striving to be the biggest or baddest, but really about setting ourselves up to be able to pursue that core purpose of improving lives. We really feel, at that level, we will be able to start having a significant footprint in the community, be able to give back and offer real career opportunities and multiple layers of growth for people that wanted to start a career in our industry.

What does your personal future hold?

    The biggest news for me is that I’m getting married on May 4. I have a beautiful, young fiancée, Elizabeth Hutchison. She’s not a Horned Frog; she’s a Sooner and a Dallas girl but she’s fitting into San Antonio pretty well. Her family has a ranch close to Stephenville, so we’re just going to do a small wedding out there, which has always been a dream of hers. I bought a house in San Antonio about three years ago, and we’ll be able to start our lives in San Antonio together, which will be awesome.
    HVAC subcontractor Shafer Services is in San Antonio. –mjm

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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net