In 1982, Terry’s A/C & Heating was founded by my father Rex Terry. Born and bred in Houston, dad graduated from Bellaire High School in Southwest Houston. He went on to college at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and graduated with a degree in marketing. While earning his degree he met Patty, my mother, who had also attended Bellaire, and was studying to be a teacher at what is now known as Texas State University. Mom and dad were married shortly after their respective college graduations and dad received his military draft notice right after.
From Service to Our Country to Home
Dad joined the United States Air Force in November 1970 where he became a heavy lift helicopter pilot and a Captain. Dad flew combat search and rescue in the Vietnam War and was stationed in Thailand for a year. During his time in the Air Force, my sister and I were born, and our family moved around quite a bit as dad was training and serving. In the mid-1970s, Dad was honorably discharged from the Air Force and moved the family back to Houston where all of our family was located. With the help of his father-in-law, he soon secured a job at a supply house for an air conditioning and heating wholesaler in North Houston. Dad started in the warehouse and in two weeks moved to the sales counter. Within a few years, he became the purchasing manager. The opportunity for the inside sales and parts came up a year later, so he began working as the parts manager/inside sales manager.
Because dad had this uncanny technical ability to fix just about anything, it was no surprise to anyone that he started working on air conditioning and heating systems on the side. He earned his Houston A/C license in 1981 and worked on HVAC systems as a hobby. He also became involved with Refrigeration Services Engineers Society (RSES), a professional organization dedicated to training and education for professional HVACR technicians and contractors. In 1992, Rex became a certificate member (CM), a test-based certification showing knowledge and skill in installing heating and air conditioning systems that was rare for contractors to possess.
A Hobby Becomes Profession
Still employed with the air conditioning and heating wholesaler, Dad transitioned into a tech support and factory liaison role which allowed him to work along with other technicians in a support role. Because he had learned how to repair and maintain HVAC systems, Dad used the skills for his ͞hobby͟working with service techs and the factory, providing better diagnostics and solutions for “un-solvable” problem jobs. He earned his Texas State HVAC license in 1984.
Not long after, dad made a leap of faith and opened Terry’s A/C and HTG full time. Over the years, he grew the business by word of mouth and by providing honest, fair and excellent service. Dad treated his customers like family, and people told their neighbors and friends who kept calling, especially in the summer. Growing up, dad always had me come along and ride with him on the weekends and summers when I wasn’t working. He seemed to appreciate the extra hands because his days were full and the phone line was busy.
Hospitality Experience Translates to Future Plans
I went to college at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches Texas. I met my wife there and earned a degree in hospitality administration with a minor in business. I spent a semester on a college internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida where I earned my “Ductorate Degree” for my added hours of study above the program. After graduation, I married my wife, Summer, and we moved out to North Carolina where we were both working for restaurants. I have worked almost every position in the restaurant and quickly became the “fix anything” manager. I worked on the kitchen equipment until it was all fixed, and then was transferred to another facility to do the same. My first daughter was born in 2004 and my desire to continue the 80+ hour work weeks quickly diminished. We moved back to Texas.
Dad and Son Combine Forces
Dad asked me to come work for him because I had done it in the past and would quickly be able to relearn because many of the main concepts are the same. “Eventually, Rob, I am going to retire and I would like for you to keep the business and the service going,” Dad said. I thought about it for about a minute but had to go back to my wife to decide. I started working with dad two weeks later and have never been happier. And now, I have had more family time for my daughters and more flexibility with my schedule. I have been working alongside my mentor and father since 2005 full time. My second daughter was born in 2009 which drives me to continue our family business.
Transitioning for the Future
My father came to me in the late season of 2013 and sat me down. “Son, I am going to retire and let you take over the business. Do you think you are up to the task? … With all the time we have worked together, I think you are ready to run everything. I’ll always be here to help and for advice,” my father said. We worked together to acquire my DBA and Tax ID along with many other tasks to be ready to officially take over the business. On January 1, 2014 I became the owner of Terry’s A/C & Heating. It was both a super proud day and sad. I’ve worked alongside my father, mentor and best friend for my life… And now all the responsibility would fall on me. I have extremely large shoes to fill and pray in 35 years, I’ll have the knowledge and foresight my father has.
Currently, my father is enjoying his retirement and is able to help with the business and run select service calls whenever he has free time. He also prepares retired units for recycling to be a good steward of our resources and which keeps heavy metals out of our landfill.
In 2015, I studied to earn North American Technician Excellence certification, a national certification program that tests real-world working knowledge of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. Because the industry is constantly evolving, staying up-to-date with the latest technologies, EPA standards, smart thermostats, and energy efficiencies is critical to our business. At Terry’s A/C, I strive to be a not only a trusted advisor to help you make informed decisions about how to keep your home or business comfortable but also to treat you as I would my own family – with respect, honesty, and fairness. I strive to show up on time, diagnose any problems your HVAC system is having, and recommend solutions that don’t break the bank.