HVAC Legend-Crusader is a term many use in describing Ron Smith. Throughout his HVAC business career, starting in 1962, Ron has enjoyed starting new ventures, developing and applying new creative ideas, freely sharing information and introducing enthusiastic and bright people to the industry. Many of his operational systems and processes, and marketing and sales programs are in wide use throughout the United States, Canada, and many other foreign countries.
A true entrepreneur, in 1965 he founded Modern Air Conditioning, Inc in Ft. Myers, FL with a borrowed $500, no customers and no coworkers, and built it into one of the premier and most recognized and respected firms in the U.S. with $15 million in annual revenues (that translates to $40 to $45 Million in today's dollars) before selling it in 1986. Later he purchased, significantly grew, and then sold three similar air conditioning companies in the Louisiana and Florida markets.
In 1985 he founded Service America, based in Atlanta, GA, the first national HVAC franchiser. In less than four years the firm had over 100 franchisees. It was later sold to a Swiss public company, purchased back from them two years later, then sold the second time in 1991 to Roto-Rooter.
Ron Smith & Associates (RS&A), an HVAC exclusive training and consulting company based in Roswell, GA, was founded in 1991. RS&A, with its focus on operations, systems, processes, and disciplines soon became one the industry’s leading training and consulting firms. Ron developed and then over the next several years personally presented his Dominant Market Share year long training program to over seventy distributor groups with well over 1700 contractor attendees. He sold the company to Service Experts in 1997.
In 1997 he joined Service Experts in Brentwood, TN, an HVAC consolidator and public company, as Chief Operating Officer and served in that position until after the company was sold to Lennox Industries. When it sold in 2000 it had 116 locations across the U.S after making over 200 acquisitions, with revenues of over $600 million.
Ron founded, co-founded, owned, has had or currently has an ownership position in seventeen businesses.
He served eleven years on the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, and also served on the Florida Governor’s Conference on Small Business. In 1979 he was chosen Free Enterprise Citizen of the Year in Ft. Myers/Lee County, FL. In 1980/81 he attended and graduated from Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program, Managing Organizational Effectiveness.
He is proud of being one of only 29 people to have been elected to Contracting Business magazine’s HVAC Hall of Fame, was recognized with Service Roundtable’s Servant Leader award and Service Roundtable's Consultant of the Year award. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of HVACR Business magazine, and has authored many articles in various trade journals for the past 35 years.
In the past he served on the Board of Directors of Spiro International S.A. in Friborg, Switzerland, the Advisory Board for North Carolina National Bank and the Advisory Board for Roto-Rooter/Service America. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Service Roundtable and is one of the founders of the company.
Ron, the author of the best selling book HVAC Spells Wealth and the book HVAC Light Commercial Service Agreements consults and coaches with contractors and distributors. He also is a real estate investor and a real estate developer.
Ron’s civic work includes involvement as area coordinator in a South Florida youth drug abuse program, and chairing a huge church construction project in Ft. Myers, FL on both the Planning Committee and the Building Committee. He and his wife, Betty, do church mission work in foreign countries and are very active in their church. He was also a member of the Rotary Club in Ft. Myers, FL.
His pleasure-filled personal achievements include driving a late model stock car for several years at various Florida racetracks including winning the South Florida Late Model 100 lap Championship and climbing to the summit of the Grand Teton Mountain in Wyoming. He hikes and has done so in many countries around the world. But, his greatest pleasure comes from seeing contractors become more successful and enjoying their profession as a result of his help.