Progress, Not Perfection: Building on a Firm Foundation

Campbell & Company
Written by Allison Dempsey

Founded in 1983 by Mike Campbell, Campbell & Company provides quality heating, cooling, air quality, electrical, plumbing, and drain service to businesses and homeowners of the Yakima Valley and surrounding areas, growing from only a handful of employees to more than 250 today.

After graduating with an HVAC Certificate from Perry Technical Institute in Yakima, Washington as well as a degree from Washington State University, Mike started his own business as an HVAC technician and installer.

As the company grew over the years, so did its need for more space, and In the 1990s, Campbell & Company moved to its current location in Pasco, Washington, followed by the opening in the late 2000s of a second branch location in Yakima.

“We strive to meet the needs of the community and adding a store location in Yakima has allowed us to better service the Yakima Valley and Ellensburg communities,” says President Brian Campbell. In the past five to 10 years, the company has added both plumbing and electrical services, and in just the past five years, drain clearing and replacement services. “Having diversification while maintaining our core values is foundational to our continued success,” Campbell says.

Reaching its impressive 40th anniversary this year, Campbell & Company is proud of achieving a milestone that few businesses do.

Meeting the milestones of 40 years
“Celebrating 40 years in business has been monumental,” says Campbell. “We take pride knowing Campbell & Company has become a favorite within the community by providing top quality service in the trades.”

Meeting the milestone of 40 years also represents longevity and a firm foundation rooted in eastern Washington, he adds. “Celebrating this achievement is the direct result of us striving to achieve excellence. We see this through the many awards we’ve won over the years.”

Those wins are truly impressive, and include the company receiving 16 Dave Lennox Awards and 15 Circle of Excellence awards; being named among the Tri-Cities Best 14 times and Best in the Valley eight times; being named Residential Contractor of the Year by Contracting Business; and being a five-time finalist of the BBB Torch Awards for Ethics.

There are many reasons why the company has continued to excel over the years, says Campbell. “Our ongoing success must be attributed to our people and our customers within the community,” he says. “The desire is to create lifelong, raving fans. The path to achieving this is having a consistent growth mindset, never settling, and always remaining true to our core values.”

Better practices
Another example that reflects the company’s growth mindset involves implementing best practices from the National Comfort Institute in the early 2010s and implementing dedicated training that demonstrates to Campbell’s team how to best repair, install, and maintain equipment in a way that provides the best possible outcome for customers by maximizing efficiencies and airflow.

“For us to experience continued success requires us to provide 5-star service to our team, our customers, and our community,” Campbell says. “One of our core values is ‘Team First;’ this industry is the ultimate team endeavor. The more effectively we can serve each other and lift each other up, the more successfully we can serve our customers and community.”

‘Customer Focus,’ exemplified by consistently providing exemplary service and offering options through education, is another core Campbell value. “We have a 4.8 online Google review with nearly 3,500 total reviews,” Campbell says. “This provides us the opportunity to grow, but it also serves as a reminder of the successes we have had to this point.”

The company also prioritizes its commitment to the community and giving back whenever possible. “We believe in being a part of our community and we have a responsibility to lift up the people and organizations within it,” Campbell says.

The team’s community involvement includes Pay it Forward programs and the Feel the Love Program with Lennox, whereby the company donates free HVAC systems and provides repairs for individuals within our community who need assistance.

“We’re at a unique vantage point to be around for some of our customers’ most humbling and trying times,” says Campbell. “We feel obligated to ensure they have access to safe and reliable HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. As much as this community has given back to us, we consistently seek opportunities to give back to them.”

Community involvement also includes speaking at schools and sharing with future generations the impact someone can have working within the trades, he adds.

“The company is consistently voted as one of the best places to work within the community,” says Campbell. “This is achieved by relentlessly focusing on building a great culture by doing the small things the right way.”

Transformation by teamwork
Another reason for the company’s continued success is forward thinking, achieved through collaboration as a team and not as individuals, he adds. Even during difficult economic periods, Campbell & Company has continued to excel due to factors such as the company’s strong foundation, which includes having long-tenured employees. Campbell has numerous employees with over 10, 20, and even 30 years of experience.

Trevor Pisinger, a Commercial Estimator who started in 2012, says, “We have a team that we can all trust and work together to achieve success. We constantly push each other for improvement, which is key to the growth we have achieved and continue to strive for.”

“We understand the most impactful way we can grow as a company through difficult economic times is to lean on our team members who have their boots on the ground,” agrees Campbell. “They are the foundation of everything we do, and we would not be successful if it wasn’t for their hard work that has created continuous growth.”

Those hardworking team members have gone a long way to creating loyal customers, with more than 85 percent of all jobs coming from repeat customers, says Campbell.

Additionally, it’s common for work to be somewhat weather-dependent in the HVAC industry, and the company has taken tremendous pride in generating more than 10,000 Maintenance Members who have chosen Campbell & Company as their full-time contractor to best service their home.

“The members who choose to trust us are also the ones who bless us daily because it’s that customer base and foundation that enables us to take care of customers in their homes every single day,” Campbell says. “It also creates an opportunity to keep our team working for their families daily even when times are difficult.”

Quality no matter what
While many factors set the company apart, the most fundamental might be its commitment to quality ‘no matter what.’ “We are always empowered to do it right, no matter the circumstance,” says Jerry Cooper, a senior Commercial HVAC Superintendent.

“We pride ourselves in consistently achieving a 96 percent or higher ‘Done Right’ percentage,” Campbell says. “This simply means that on 96 percent of all our jobs, the work is completed the right way the first time. In those cases where we don’t get it right the first time, each of these is treated as a learning opportunity and they are often shared across the business to encourage education.”

Indeed, another core value is ‘Progress, Not Perfection’ which is frequently heard in the company’s hallways and on its job sites.

“We also believe that integrity is shown in challenging times,” adds Campbell. “Jobs we don’t get right the first time are prioritized over all others and we make sure we resolve them quickly and fairly. How you respond once you make the mistake is where growth happens.”

Asking customers for feedback—and tracking that feedback—defines clear paths for the company to improve, coupled with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that is a “phenomenal” measure for such things. Campbell & Company consistently boasts an NPS score over 82 points. For comparison, some of the largest, best, and most well-known national brands will have an NPS score of 65.

The company also strives to create a culture of continuous improvement with a commitment to grow and find new ways to serve the community. “The way we run our training is in collaboration and not someone simply dictating the direction to take all the time. Additional contributing factors include how we perform our ride-a-longs—weekly one-on-one employee meetings—with accountability and a commitment to train, grow, and develop our people.”

When it comes to challenges, Campbell notes that a few of the biggest the company has faced recently are that HVAC and home improvement repairs are down from 2022 to 2023 and that customer spending habits have changed in the past one or two years.

“People have been more hesitant to invest in their homes and businesses,” he shares. Other challenges have included keeping up a consistent flow of service calls, navigating the business through inflation, and maintaining its fleet of 187 vehicles.

Growing into the challenges
As with all businesses across the industry, Campbell & Company is concerned about levels of recruiting and retention of qualified workers. “We face each of these challenges every day, and hiring the right people who are qualified and have bought into the culture isn’t always easy,” Campbell explains.

Despite these challenges, the company has grown overall in 2023, in staffing levels, products and services offered, and overall revenue, while growing each of its individual departments and strengthening them. “Our commercial sales and installation team deserves special recognition for the work they’ve completed this year,” Campbell says. “They’re largely responsible for our continued growth over the past 12 months.”

Over the past decade, Campbell & Company has grown its commercial division throughout the region. This growth has paved the path for many team members and the company as a whole over the years. Rudy Mason, a Senior Commercial HVAC Technician, who started with the company in 2002, says, “We have continuously evolved our technical capabilities with our regional businesses’ needs. It has allowed my job to evolve into a career.”

The company also has its eye on upcoming milestones in the coming years, including building a new Yakima branch facility in 2024 that will include 1,500 square feet of dedicated training space and continual expansion of all its HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and sewer services for its commercial and residential customers.

“We’ve worked hard to minimize rising costs to our customers while maintaining the best products and quality service we can without compromising our core values and beliefs,” Campbell says. “We always choose to do what’s right. Even when it hurts.”

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