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Carrier Presents Annual Hall of Fame and President’s Awards to Factory Authorized Dealers

INDIANAPOLIS – Carrier presented its annual Dealer Hall of Fame and President’s Awards at the 2014 Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The Dealer Hall of Fame Award is presented annually to select industry-leading contractors. Nominees must be Factory Authorized Dealers and have a minimum of 20 years associated with Carrier as their primary brand. This year’s recipients are Tommy Estes of Estes Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. in Atlanta; Mario Taylor of Taylor Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Inc. in St. Augustine, Fla.; and the late James Lane of James Lane Air Conditioning & Plumbing Co. in Wichita Falls, Texas.

“The Carrier Dealer Hall of Fame was created to honor dealers who demonstrate enthusiasm, loyalty and courage in their work and who embody the same leadership philosophy as Willis Carrier, the founder of our company and the inventor of modern air conditioning,” said Chris Nelson, president, residential and commercial systems, Carrier. “These three gentlemen have exemplified compassion and commitment to their employees, communities, customers and Carrier. It is our honor to present them with this recognition.”

Tommy Estes
Estes Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

Estes’ father, N.B. “Nap” Estes, founded the company in 1949, and it has been affiliated with Carrier ever since. When Tommy joined the company full time in 1971, Estes Heating & Air Conditioning was already one of Atlanta’s leading HVAC companies and Carrier dealerships. Tommy, however, had the foresight to recognize the changing competitive market, and he persuaded his father to allow him to manage a small residential department within the company. He introduced maintenance agreements to Atlanta long before they were popular, positioning the company for solid growth through challenging economic times. He has since expanded the business into home-performance contracting, plumbing, electrical, commercial retrofit, service and replacement.

Tommy Estes is proud to be transitioning the business ownership to the third generation; his son Brian will take over the helm of Estes Heating & Air Conditioning in the near future.


Mario Taylor
Taylor Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Inc.
St. Augustine, Fla.

During World War II, Mario Taylor was an engineer in the U.S. Navy, and it was there = he learned about the Carrier legacy. Carrier flew technicians to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to repair equipment on Navy destroyers, including one on which Taylor was stationed. He was so impressed that a company would make that kind of an effort to support its equipment that he decided he’d like to be associated with Carrier.

When he returned home from the Navy in 1951, Mario opened his own Carrier dealership, Taylor Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, the original Carrier dealer in St. Johns County and one of the first in the entire state of Florida. During his six decades as a Carrier dealer, Taylor has seen many changes in the HVACR industry.

Over the years, Mario has given generously of his time and money to support several local and international charities, including Shriners Hospitals for Children, the St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fishing for Dreams (an annual fishing tournament to help ill children who like to fish) and Pie in the Sky (a local food bank). He helped to provide funding for the building and annual operating expenses for The Wildflower Clinic, a free clinic in St. Augustine. He donated all air conditioning labor and materials during the construction of the clinic and continues to provide maintenance and repairs as needed at no cost.


James Lane
James Lane Air Conditioning & Plumbing Co.
Wichita Falls, Texas

James Lane’s first training in air conditioning repair and maintenance was aboard a U.S. Navy ship. After completing his military service, he worked as an engineer for more than a decade and then started his own shop, working from home.

What began as a small family business in a garage in 1957 has grown into a large company with a crew of 70, occupying a 17,000-square-foot facility. From the beginning, James involved his family in his business. His wife, Elizabeth, was involved in daily operations for 50 years, and his daughter, Deloris, has been part of the company since 1972 and currently serves as its president. In addition, Lane’s son Louis, who joined the company in 1977, and Louis’ son Leo, who joined in 1979, now serve as vice presidents.

Lane had a deep love for his Wichita Falls community and was very active in business leadership, civic groups and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls. His dedication to the Boys & Girls Clubs went well beyond generous financial support; he spent time each week with the children and also took a personal interest in the organization’s day-to-day operations. Each year, the community looks forward to the James Lane Memorial Dinner and Auction, benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Carrier is a leader in high technology HVACR solutions and is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For additional information, visit carrier.com

Gustave A. Larson Company Welcomes Benischek as VP of Operations

PEWAUKEE, Wisc. — Gustave A. Larson Company welcomes Dan Benischek as Vice President of Operations. Benischek joins the Larson family as a senior leader for the company, after working at Briggs & Stratton Corporation the past six years, with prior experience at General Electric and TD Ameritrade.

A Nebraska native and Nebraska Wesleyan University alumnus, Benischek earned his MBA in Management and Operations from the University of Iowa and brings substantial experience directing metric-driven operations, e-commerce marketing, and ERP/CRM systems integration and customer satisfaction excellence. Benischek also holds a Green Belt certification in Six-Sigma and brings experience as a Lean Kaizen facilitator.

Benischek is charged with applying his experience to help the company become more efficient company-wide, as well as, branch operations and overall profitability. His experience leading organizations through initiatives enhancing the overall customer experience will foster the company’s vision for continued growth and execution of strategic goals, making him an invaluable asset to the company.

The Gustave A. Larson Company is an independent wholesale distributor of HVACR equipment, parts and supplies, serving the Midwest, Plains and Mountain states. The company represents products from more than 450 different leading industry manufacturers in the areas of residential and commercial HVAC, commercial refrigeration, food service and controls.

For additional information, visit www.galarson.com.