CONRAD’S CLIMATE CONTROL HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING
Scott Conrad offers his clients honest, friendly, personalized service
by Cristi Sanchez
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find businesses that provide personalized service with a hometown feel. That’s exactly the kind of business Scott Conrad has built with Conrad’s Climate Control, providing heating and air conditioning services to Hampton Roads since 2001.
Tucked away on a quiet rural cul-de-sac in Suffolk, Scott’s immaculate farm-style home houses his small, family-owned business. With tranquil green walls and warm, welcoming décor, the home also reflects Scott’s personality—that of a friendly, personable, and easy-going family man who’s devoted to his wife of 15 years, Laurie, and their sons Sawyer, 13, and Spencer, 10.
Born and raised in Chesapeake, Scott graduated from Western Branch High School in 1989 and attended college while giving thought to his career path. Scott’s road to becoming a business owner was not a direct route, but stars aligned early on to help chart the course for his future.
“During college, I worked a few years in the restaurant business,” Scott states with an easy smile. “I made friends with some of the HVAC contractors who came in to fix equipment and spent time talking to them.”
That’s when something began to stir in Scott about a career possibility. “Ever since I could remember, my father and I always worked on something whether it be cars, bikes, or go-karts,” Scott explains. “I started thinking about working in HVAC. Even though it’s not working on vehicles, I could still work with my hands and learn a good trade.” In that “light-bulb” moment, Scott found the direction he’d been seeking for his career.
His choice now made, Scott registered for HVAC classes at TCC; but at that moment in 1996 life took another very serendipitous turn. “My dad saw in the paper that Newport News Shipbuilding was hiring for a QA Technician. Knowing I had college experience, he thought I could get in,” Scott reveals.
After Scott’s inquiry on how to apply, the shipyard sent him a packet and inside the envelope was a surprise that confirmed his desired career choice. “Inside with the application was information on their Apprentice Schools, one of which was for HVAC!” Scott adds with amazement. “So I filled out the application and was accepted for a paid apprenticeship.”
After graduating from Apprentice School in 2000, Scott’s quality work and commitment to excellence quickly moved him up the ladder, first as an HVAC Planner for five years, then an Apprentice Instructor for five years. During those 10 years at the shipyard, Scott began doing “freelance” HVAC side jobs in the summer.
The long hours of those summer jobs began to take their toll on Laurie, however. “I’d get off from the shipyard and then do side jobs getting home at 9, 10, 11 o’clock at night, leaving Laurie feeling like a single mom,” Scott states compassionately. “I knew something had to change. It wasn’t fair to Laurie, plus I was missing out on my family.”
Then with one more twist of perfect timing that summer, Scott was presented with the opportunity to take a job teaching HVAC classes at New Horizons on the Peninsula. “It seemed perfect because it afforded me the opportunity to have summers off and work only one job during the summer,” Scott points out.
It all sounded very good in theory, but as soon as people found out he was “free” during the summer, things didn’t slow down for Scott’s side business at all. In fact, it picked up so much that he decided it was time to step out on his own full time.
“Even though I’d always enjoyed teaching, I was inspired to own my own business. I decided I wasn’t getting any younger, so I might as well give it a shot now,” Scott elaborates with a grin and a chuckle.
“We’re not trying to sell anyone
a new system if they don’t need it.
If a repair can be made
that better suits the client’s budget,
we’ll do it.
If we can help them out
and keep them running
until the next year, the next season,
or until they get their tax returns,
we’ll do it...
We give customers all their options
and let them make
an informed decision.”
Thus, Conrad’s Climate Control was established and was very successful right out of the gate due to word of mouth referrals. “The main challenge I faced, in the beginning, was finding consistent help,” Scott reveals. “It can be hard to find someone who wants to learn HVAC and do it for a living. Those are the people who give it their all.”
And that’s exactly who Scott brought on board. His team of two technicians has been with him for over three years now. “These guys are great, and we have a really good working relationship. My lead technician, Tony, has been doing this for 30 plus years and he really knows his stuff!”
With their combined experience of over 50 years, Scott and his team deliver quality work in maintenance, repair, and new installation of HVAC systems. “After doing this for so long I’ve seen a lot of unhealthy business practices, and I wanted to offer customers personal service with a hometown feel. Working with integrity and doing right by our customers is our main goal,” Scott says unwavering.
“We’re not trying to sell anyone a new system if they don’t need it. If a repair can be made that better suits the client’s budget, we’ll do it. If we can help them out and keep them running until the next year, the next season, or until they get their tax returns, we’ll do it. And if they do need a new system, we’ll let them know. We give customers all their options and let them make an informed decision.”
With his business’ success, and fewer hours worked, Scott is now able to make more time for his family. Whether riding go-karts, ATV’s, or mini-bikes from the “toy barn” on the property with his boys or spending time with the family in their fixer-upper at Lake Gaston, Scott relishes spending quality time with his family.
Through experience, dedication, integrity, and commitment to excellence, Scott Conrad has built Conrad’s Climate Control into a successful family-owned HVAC business. But it’s more than that. It’s more than jobs, projects, and numbers. With his genuine smile and personable, easy-going demeanor, Scott has built a business that provides customers with quality, honest, personal, and friendly service with a hometown feel.
Conrads Climate Control