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Home | SAN ANTONIO | Spotlight | Spotlight -Tim and Patty Wilson, Mr. Wilson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

Spotlight -Tim and Patty Wilson, Mr. Wilson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

image Patty Wilson with daughter and husband Tim Wilson

SAN ANTONIO - Tim Wilson and Patty Wilson are approaching the 20th anniversary of the start of their business, Mr. Wilson Heating & Air Conditioning. Over the years, they have grown as individuals, as a couple and as business owners and look forward to celebrating for years to come.

 

 

 

Tim, share about your background and introduction to HVAC?
    Tim: I got started in the vocational trades in high school. My father was an apprenticeship coordinator for many of the trades in San Antonio, including bricklayers, sheet metal workers, plumbers, pipe fitters, electricians; he was involved with union contractors. He talked to me one day about different trades, their pay scales and what would be a good fit for me, and he thought plumbing and pipe fitting would be a good fit. In high school, I took heating and air conditioning courses my junior and senior year. My father was involved with adult night school classes, so I was taking air conditioning classes at night twice a week for quite a few years.

What path did you take after graduation?
    Tim: I applied and was admitted into the plumbers and pipefitters local union 142. In 1979, I began a four-year apprenticeship school; large construction was during my workday and then Tuesdays and Thursdays were school nights. It was exactly where I wanted to be.
    I completed the apprenticeship program in 1983. I became a journeyman, got a license in plumbing. During that same time, my current employer was Kleck Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Company. I was taken in by a gentleman that wanted to teach me air conditioning and put me in service. At that time, I did not know much about electrical. It was an adventure for me, but I was more so guaranteed that I would be a full-time employee instead of finishing one major job and waiting for the next job to start
     I stayed there full-time for 12 years and then I merged with Friesenhahn Heating & Air Conditioning –Friesenhahn worked with the first company I worked with – and I worked with him until 1999. During that time, I met Patty and, in 1994, married her.

What motivated you to start a business?
    Tim: Friesenhahn was an owner-occupied company and with new changes in the company, I decided it was time to venture out on my own. With all good graces and no burning of bridges, I left and became Mr. Wilson Heating & Air Conditioning in 2000.

Patty, how did you become involved?

    Patty: Our daughter was born in 1998, so when we started our company in March 2000, I began by assisting with creating and maintaining the books. Tim was in the field and I worked the office side. Seven years later, we moved to a shop around the corner where I could still work daily and be able to be at my daughter’s school activities. We built the company from customers that loved Tim, from the Yellow Pages and word of mouth, and it just took off.

Did you feel ready for such a big leap?

    Patty: We took a lot of risks. We jumped off the edge, buying a home, starting a company and having a baby!
    Tim: It was scary but I was ready to do it. I basically wanted to start a business to provide for my family and it grew into me providing for many families. There are times over the 19 years where there have been some ups and downs with learning to grow a bigger business and manage-ment skills. All of that has brought on new meaning.

How has the business evolved?
    Tim: We started out with referrals and the phone book both doing residential and commercial. We did mostly repair service. Replacements were always done by myself and a technician. As we’ve grown, we’ve been heavier on commercial some years and heavier on residential other years, but we’ve had nothing but a continual slow growth through the 19 years. We have 10 employees, we now have an install department, we’ve become paperless and we have bought the top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art equipment where we can be involved in the troubleshooting from the office.
    The days of the old hoses and gages are also now the past for us. We’re doing more and more air performance tests and diagnosing homes with existing systems. We’re making drastic improvements that can mean up to 30% savings to those customers without them having to purchase a new unit. It has been fun to see it as part of the ‘why‘ of what we do. Being able to make those changes has been a treat to me.

What did you learn on this journey?
    Patty: I’ve learned to be flexible. I’ve had to wear many hats: bookkeeper, manager, wife, mother, room mom and coordinator of all of our daughter’s activities. I’ve learned to balance a family-owned business with family life. I like to be involved in everything so as the company grew, I had to learn to delegate.
    Really, it’s been a journey for us. I look back and I would never want to give that up because we’ve grown a lot as business owners, and we’ve learned a lot through bumps in the road. We’ve learned the hard way, that’s for sure. Tim built it from the ground up and we have learned everything from experience, so those are the things that I value the most from having our own business.
    Tim: I learned through two contractors before I started my business. Through the years, I’ve met employees that have come from many different shops who contributed new ideas and helped me learn new things.
    It’s been a growing experience as the whole company has also grown. It’s actu-ally me growing as a leader, being responsible for these families and taking that home with me in the slower seasonal times of the year. We try to gear up and keep our employees happy; it’s a big priority. Today, we’re still growing and still learning.

What strengths does your spouse bring to the business?

    Patty: First of all, Tim brings his humor. He can always make you laugh in a hard situation. He brings optimism. I’m the pessimist and he’s the optimist, especially in winter when we’re kind of using the silo of the hay we’ve made during the year. I’m usually overreacting and he’s the one that says it’s going to be alright. I’ve always felt he’s had this halo over him. It’s amazing that we’ve done so well through the years and I do credit that to his optimism.
    He’s also a hard worker and he’s very good with customers. He’s very caring and will do whatever it takes to make that customer happy; that’s really our company’s foundation. I think everybody enjoys working for us because of our culture. Tim has blessed our company with what he believes in throughout our whole culture and I think that’s why it has led to our longevity with many of our employees.
    Tim: [Naming Patty’s strengths] could take up the rest of the hour. She’s been quite involved with this. It’s been a blessing. The fact that she’s here during the day and helps with the team is just a big asset, comfort and relief to me. She’s endless with what she does here. She does all things related to customer service and our employees. She also became very involved with TACCA, served on the board and Expo chair and networking with others in our industry. She’s been with me every step of the way. We are quite proud of this lady.

What do you hope the future holds?
    Tim: For the company, I  hope to continue to provide a good place to work and a challenging environment for our employees. For our customers, providing a “wow” experience for my family, and more time at our Port Aransas house. After the devastation of Harvey, we can finally enjoy it again.
    I enjoy barbecuing a lot. The competition side of it might be a retirement thing for me and my wife to do.
    Also, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for our daughter. Making retirement decisions might be based on where she might move to. She’ll be 21 in a few weeks and we are looking forward to the next chapter. We’ll see where her career goes. We’re excited, we’re quite proud of her, and she’s very supportive of us.
    Patty: Our daughter has her own career vision, so I don’t think passing our company on to her is a viable option for us. Although retirement would be nice, we still have years of hard work, growth and change we want to see happen. Our company turns 20 years old next year, which is hard to believe. Can’t wait to see what’s in store by year 25!
    HVAC subcontractor Mr. Wilson Heating & Air is in San Antonio. – mjm


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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net