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Featured Entrepreneur: Jason Stom

Originally published: 09.01.18 by Pete Grasso


Featured Entrepreneur: Jason Stom

Jason Stom’s entry into the HVACR industry wasn’t planned. His father worked for NASA, so Jason was born and raised in Houston. After high school, he went to school for network security, getting a job in the IT industry.

When his father retired, he began working weekends helping his friend service air conditioners.

“Once he retired from NASA, he decided to start his own HVACR business,” Stom says. “He asked me and my siblings to come work for him in the business.”

Stom started by helping out part time, learning as much as he could from his father. He also used those years working in IT for the government to learn as much as he could about managing people.

“I packed in as much reading as I could on managing,” he says. “I learned the most from my dad, however, as he spent 35 years leading people in the space industry.

“He was an expert at it … his job was to help support the astronauts in the Apollo and Shuttle simulators.”

Jason Stom

Title: CEO

Company: Clear the Air Cooling & Heating

Website: cleartheairac.com

Year Founded: 1990

Headquarters: Alvin, Texas

Work Performed: Residential, IAQ, Geothermal

No. of Employees: 16

Annual


Revenue: $4 million

Vendor-Partners: Trane, Mitsubishi, Ferguson

Affiliations: Service Roundtable, Comfort Institute, Air Conditioning Contractors of America

Certifications: Texas Licensed ACR Contractor, ADC, EPA

Stom was impressed with his father’s approach — a balance of listening and patience, mixed with understanding and firm guidance.

Eventually, he grew tired of the travel involved with his full-time network security job — he had also just married his wife, Dawn, and was ready to start a family — so he made the leap to the HVACR industry, working with his father full time.

Since 1990, Clear the Air has been focused on residential service and retrofit. Under Stom’s leadership, the company has also taken a whole home health approach with indoor air quality (IAQ), insulation, thermography and energy solutions.

Along the way, Stom admits he’s made mistakes, as any entrepreneur does. But, the key is he’s learned from those missteps and continued to move forward.

“Multiple mistakes were made when we set up a new division to enter into commercial new construction,” he says. “We expanded too fast and cash couldn’t catch up to the expansion. This was part of the risk I was willing to take, but it didn’t go as planned.”

It was a minor setback and nothing compared to some of the bigger challenges in life.

“The passing of my father was the hardest change in my life to date,” Stom says.

Even still, he powers on, fueled by his non-stop obsession with building something from an idea… identifying a need or improving on a need and filling it.

His parents taught him early on that it’s okay to fail, as long as you don’t quit.

“I never give up, no matter what,” Stom says. “There is no finish line. It’s really more about failing and learning.”

Today, Stom credits the success of his company to his people. The company slogan is, “Cool Solutions. Warm People,” and Stom believes it truly embodies the spirit of their mission.

“We provide the best service possible by employing the most friendly and warm personalities,” he says. “When the customer calls, they’re stressed and upset because something is broken.

“We fix the mechanical problem, but we train everyone in the company to help fix the customer by removing the stress.”

In fact, it’s serving his people and community that Stom finds most rewarding about his job. He’s extremely proud of his team and enjoys making families comfortable and providing them with healthy environments.

Of course, like many contractors and entrepreneurs, Stom knows he needs to work on learning to say “no.”

“Not every job or idea is one you want to take on,” he says. “I have to continue to remind myself to double down on our strengths and not get caught up in everything that comes along.”

His current focus is on perfecting the delivery of their service, because it never stops evolving.

“It’s so much fun to build long-lasting relationships with our customers and create raving fans,” Stom says. I really enjoy working with people who have the same passions.”

As Clear the Air Cooling & Heating continues to adopt more technology and improve operational efficiency, Stom believes they can soon become a dominant player in the south Houston market.

“I see greater integration in smart home technology with HVACR and our company is poised to adjust with any changes,” Stom says. “But most important, we will continue to build on our company culture and develop training curriculum to grow our own technicians.”

 




About Pete Grasso

Pete is the editor of HVACR Business magazine and the Ahead of the Curve enewsletter, as well as web content editor for www.hvacrbusiness.com and author of the blog Keeping it Simple. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!

 




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