Clackamas County contractor provides HVAC to underserved areas
This is the second of three stories profiling Clackamas County-based finalists for the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for small businesses.
Control Techs NW, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning service provider based in Clackamas, was one of three Clackamas County-based organizations selected as finalists for the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Oregon's Small Business of the Year.
Founded in 2018, Control Techs NW is a minority-owned small business serving clients' HVAC needs in Clackamas and Multnomah counties.
"We work with residential, commercial and industrial HVAC," said Office Manager Cate Nelson. "We work with repair, replacement, ongoing maintenance, pretty much anything to do with a home or businesses heating and air conditioning components."
Nelson said Control Techs NW serves several rural communities that she said many larger HVAC service providers do not cover, typically due to either a small client base or restricted income among community residents.
"They just don't see it as being a generally worthwhile market and so we really try to make sure that we're making a positive impact in those communities — like all the communities we work in, but those especially," Nelson said.
Nelson, who has been with the company for slightly over a year-and-a-half, said a priority of Control Techs NW staff is raising awareness about common HVAC problems that can potentially be detrimental to homes and businesses, adding that the company saw many homeowners become more conscious of the air quality in their homes while quarantining over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When you're in your home all of the time, and especially if you're somebody that has allergies, or maybe you have a chronic medical condition such as cancer or an autoimmune condition, making sure of your home indoor air quality is crucial," Nelson said.
"We've seen positive growth in that market, which is beneficial to everybody to make sure that the air that we're breathing is clean, especially if there's a nasty bug that's going around," Nelson added.
Air quality has been an increasing concern throughout the Pacific Northwest as the intensity of yearly wildfire seasons have escalated in the region in recent years.
Nelson said during the unprecedented wildfire season of 2020, Control Techs NW staff had to evacuate their office for a period of time alongside thousands of other Clackamas County residents. Also during that time, company phones were ringing off the hook with callers worried about the safety and breathability of their air inside their homes.
"I had clients calling me frantic because their homes were smoke inundated," Nelson said, adding that Control Techs NW is working on a prevention campaign to educate homeowners on what to do in the event of another intense wildfire season.
"Make sure that your filters are being changed regularly; that's going to take care of your HVAC system so that if you are getting smoke and ash coming through the roof penetrations in your home, that's not getting into your systems spreading through your ductwork," Nelson said.
"Always make sure that you have yearly maintenance done on your system so that if there are deficiencies with the ductwork, that gets caught before it becomes a contributing factor," Nelson added. "Also, many HVAC systems, when they're not properly maintained, can start house fires."
"It's all about being mindfully aware," Nelson said. "We understand as professionals that a lot of the time for our clients, as long as the system's working, it's kind of out of sight, out of mind, but finding certified and trained professionals that you know and trust to come out every year so that if there is something wrong with the wiring, if there is something wrong with the combustion components, that can be caught before it starts to fire."
Nelson, who submitted the application for the BBB award, said she did so out of a strong belief in the company's morals, values and ethics.
"Our company is an excellent candidate for the award, because we go above and beyond, from bottom to top, with all of our procedures to ensure that our clients receive truly exceptional service," Nelson said.
"Throughout the course of this pandemic, we've seen how much our economy has changed and so now more than ever, supporting small local businesses, family owned and run, it's key to maintaining the health of our local economy, and also making sure that our workforce is staying active so that we can continue to offer good quality services to clients," Nelson said.
"I think that everybody deserves to have exceptional service," Nelson continued. "As small companies shut down, it gets outsourced to larger companies that are notorious for brushing off things that are that are key."
The 2021 BBB Torch Awards will take place Thursday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m., streamed live on BBB's YouTube channel.
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