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Ken Goodrich: From Dad's Flashlight Assistant to $300 Million HVAC Titan

From episode: TGMS Ep: 132 Words of Wisdom from the Industry Titan - Goodrich!

today we want to welcome Ken Goodrich. I've already told you a little bit about him. And I've got some questions for him that all of you will be very interested to know more about and just where our HVAC is going. We just talked a little bit about that. But you know, Ken, a lot of times people ask me, did you know you were going to be this successful or did you know this was going to happen? And did you know you were going to own this and all that kind of stuff? And you know, you're 100 times bigger than we are. And I just have to ask you, if you don't know folks who are listening, Ken used to carry a flashlight for his dad when his dad owned a heating and air conditioning company. And Ken, when you were carrying that flashlight, I mean, did you have any idea what the future held for you? Well, certainly not then. You know, I mean, I was enslaved in the family business and you know, I'm out here in Las Vegas where I'm sure every market has their weather nuances, but I'm in Las Vegas where most of the air conditioners at that time were on the roof. And you know, we were working on the roof all day, every day in the summertime and you know, with, you know, 110, 115 degrees beaten down on you. So no, I was always thinking about when can I get out of this really at that age. And then I went to, you know, I really set the goal to get out of the air conditioning business and I went to college. And so, I studied finance and when they started to get to the point where you're going and talking to recruiters, I'm getting job offers and they're giving me job offers. You know, I think at the time it was something ridiculous, maybe $25 ,000 a year to start. This was in the early 80s, maybe 30 ,000. And I said, I'm making 60 ,000 a year part -time side job in air conditioning. So, I decided at that point that I wasn't going to go the finance route and I'm going to buckle down and start my own HVAC business and be an entrepreneur because I knew that well, I knew how to make money at it. I had some new tools from school and I thought I'd go at it that way. So no, I guess to clean up that question, no, when I first got in it, while it was fun working with my dad and I learned a lot of stuff, I couldn't wait to get out of it back then. You worked with your dad for about how long? 15 years. You know, I started with when I was 10 years old and then, you know, every night, weekend and summer since that moment and then he passed away when I was 25 and I bought the family business from my mom, which was me in a van. It was one van that dad and I used to ride along with and a three by five, those three by five postcards with the customer's names and everything written on them and the last service call in a little box. That's what I got. Sure. So that really wasn't that long ago. I mean, it wasn't 100 years ago. It was about how long ago when you bought the business? I bought the business in 1987. Yeah. So we're talking, what, 35, 36 years ago. And just to give a snapshot, fast forward, Gettle was doing about how much in the last year or so? You know, Gettle's $300 million business in four states and, you know, over a thousand employees

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