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Navigating Growth, Challenges, and Future Leadership in the HVAC Industry

Magnolia Heating and Cooling staff

To deem a company successful, it must demonstrate a consistent pattern of growth. Accompanying this growth, the team should adapt to fulfill the increasing demands of the company. This is the journey of Magnolia Heating and Cooling, an enterprise rooted in history, being founded in 1951 and experiencing stewardship from three distinct owners. The current proprietor took the helm in 2002, marking over two decades of leadership during which the HVAC industry has undergone significant transformations. In 2002, the owner began with only five employees, a company name, and a contact number: 800-2GET-AIR. 

Fast forward to 2022, Magnolia boasts a workforce of 27 dedicated individuals. Assembling this team, however, has not been without its trials and tribulations, with this year being the most formidable. The owner’s objective is to onboard young individuals, offering them a solid start in the HVAC trade—a field we firmly believe is a necessity today and will remain so in the future.

This year, we at Magnolia were faced with the necessity to expand our team. A growing demand for our business and services, accentuated by the increase in remote working, necessitated this move. California’s grueling summer heat makes air conditioning almost indispensable. Coincidentally, several of our employees relocated out of the state during spring. Anticipating the impending summer season, the management team outlined staffing goals: Magnolia needed to bring onboard 2 lead installers, 3 install helpers, 2 maintenance technicians, 2 service technicians, and 2 administrative personnel. We initiated recruitment drives in April.

The dearth of employees, however, poses a significant issue. Many scheduled interviews fell through due to no-shows. Numerous candidates did not make it through the screening process for varied reasons, including a poor driving record, lack of license, or a positive drug test. The inability to include certain candidates into our policy due to their being under 21 posed an additional hurdle.

Magnolia’s mission is to recruit only the cream of the crop. While interviewing consumes considerable company resources and time, every new addition to the team is inducted into an intensive training process. The role of an HVAC technician is a challenging one, often set in severe conditions—a fact underscored by an employee quitting on the first day. Mistakes are bound to happen during the learning phase, and through them, we gain invaluable lessons. Many heating systems are located in attics, so learning how to maneuver within these confined spaces is part of the training, leading to occasional minor incidents such as having to patch up a ceiling.

As of August 2022, we have managed to fill most of the positions. Our forward-looking goal is to remain leaders in our field while inspiring future generations. We are thrilled about our partnership with the Riverside Unified School District. Our team has volunteered their time and expertise to develop an introductory HVAC curriculum for the construction students at Ramona High. We look forward to our first classroom visit scheduled for August 19th. To kick things off, we’ve curated materials on our first topic: the history of HVAC.

air conditioning unit outside brick home
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