SBA award winners: City Air Mechanical Inc.
Heather Jones grew up in a family that owned an HVAC and plumbing business for more than 90 years in Minot, North Dakota, so naturally the experience transitioned to her professional life.
After graduating from college, she didn't know what she wanted to do, but opportunity knocked when an old sheet metal shop in Bismarck, North Dakota, went up for sale. "As far as staying in the in family industry and expanding the market area, we bought that shop and added on the plumbing and hydronic heating sections,” she says.
Jones is the president of City Air Mechanical Inc., a full-service commercial and industrial HVAC and plumbing construction company in Bismarck, North Dakota. The business specializes in industrial and commercial HVAC installation and repair, ventilation and duct work, full-service plumbing, refrigeration and custom sheet metal fabrication.
City Air Mechanical opened in 1999 with 10 employees and has since grown to more than 50 employees. The company has seen an average annual growth rate of 20 percent.
Jones’ success caught the attention of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She was awarded Small Business Person of the Year for the state of North Dakota, and will compete against the other state winners at the 2012 Small Business Week conference in Washington D.C. May 20-22 for the SBA’s National Small Business Person of the Year award.
Jones says one thing that sets the company apart is its highly skilled employees. “We have staff engineers on site and that is a unique thing in our market,” she says. “We not only do the construction side, we do the design side of the business, and most contractors that we compare ourselves to don’t have that capability. We’re like a one-stop shop.”
City Air Mechanical prides itself for being the sole manufacturer of spiral seam pipe and fittings in western North Dakota. “They’re easier to install, you don’t have all those joints and you don’t have the friction where you get air loss issues,” she says. “We not only fabricate it and install it ourselves, but we sell it to whole sellers and distribute it all over western North Dakota.”
Since 1963, the U.S. SBA has used the National Small Business Week to recognize small business owners and entrepreneurs in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The majority of businesses on Angie’s List are small businesses and, as a former small business itself, Angie’s List is happy to join with the SBA to celebrate these companies and highlight the importance they play in each of their communities.