Mike Hughes: A Lifelong Connection to Energy

Comfort Ready Home’s Field Team Manager, Mike Hughes, grew up learning about energy. With his father working as an energy educator for Eugene Water & Electric Board in Oregon, Mike’s path was paved with lessons in conservation and innovation. Soon, he found himself teaching his own classes on storm window construction at the local high school.

Later, Mike began working for Eugene Water & Electric Board. He focused on the practicalities of energy conservation as he insulated electric resistance water heaters and canvassed neighborhoods promoting efficiency measures through local programs. These experiences, along with his father’s influence, fueled Mike’s passion for the field and his work in energy management. He spent a decade working for the utility followed by several years with an electrical contractor.

Aside from his professional life, Mike finds comfort in simplicity. Some of the projects he enjoys include refurbishing his greenhouse, remodeling his home, and taking weekend trips in his trailer.

To get in touch with Mike and learn more about how Comfort Ready Home works with distributors and contractors, send us a message.

Women-Owned Business Spotlight: Energy Exteriors NW

A Business Built on Trust

Erin Ennis’s journey into owning her own business was serendipitous. She stumbled into the construction industry while seeking opportunities to enhance her own home; with her background in sales and entrepreneurship, she was able to turn her newfound fascination into an occupation. Her motivation? The opportunity to add value in homeowners’ lives through comfort and savings.

Erin became the owner of Energy Exteriors NW, a home exterior remodeling contractor in Bothell, WA, in 2014. For more than 10 years, she and her team have been building rapport with customers through empathy and unparalleled service and craft. Erin says, “Every time we are working with a customer we are building a portfolio of trust. When we receive 5 stars and a happy client, we know we added to our portfolio.”

Making the difference

As a woman in the trades, Erin leverages her unique perspective to connect emotionally with homeowners. She emphasizes integrity and reliability in her work, and her experienced team shares her values, ensuring every project is a perfect balance of heart and science.

Community Connections

When Erin isn’t building her own team of female leaders, she is strengthening the woman-led workforce through organizations that share her passion. In 2024, Energy Exteriors NW is sponsoring Women Build, a Habitat Humanity initiative in which teams of women volunteer to learn skills while directly creating affordable housing. Erin also holds a Golden Elite Membership with the Business Ladies of Society and continues her lifelong membership with Camp Fire Snohomish County.

As her journey continues, Erin continues to be a catalyst for those getting started in the industry and looks to provide ongoing support as they grow.

We are proud to support and recognize the women-owned businesses participating in the Comfort Ready Home Contractor Network.

Women-Owned Business Spotlight: The Heat Pump Store

For over 13 years, Sarah Moscatello has owned and operated The Heat Pump Store, one of the premier HVAC companies in the Pacific Northwest. Headquartered in Northeast Portland, and with locations up and down the Willamette Valley, her business has long specialized in designing and installing ductless heat pump systems.

Starting in 2011 with five employees, The Heat Pump Store’s approach focused exclusively on ductless heat pump technology. This set their business model apart from virtually all the other HVAC contractors in the region and allowed them to scale their business dramatically. Today, the company offers both ductless and ducted HVAC systems from multiple brands and the team numbers more than thirty employees.

Sarah got her start in the industry by working for a utility program implementation company, where she marketed ENERGY STAR® certified HVAC technologies. She was drawn to showcasing a more energy-efficient approach to heating and cooling for homeowners. “Incentives are a big part of our business,” Sarah says when asked about how utility programs like Comfort Ready Home support her efforts. “Everyone wants to save money when making a large purchase like this!” Calling on Comfort Ready Home Field Specialist Nick Phillips allows her sales team to stay informed about the latest utility offerings and ways to take advantage of utility programs.

And even though The Heat Pump Store doesn’t offer weatherization services directly, Sarah says it’s a topic that is almost always discussed during the sales process. “Weatherization can have a dramatic effect on HVAC equipment selection, system sizing, comfort and operating costs,” she says. This adds an extra level of care and personalization to consultations, a clear demonstration of the business’ customer-first approach.

Although women-owned HVAC businesses are relatively rare, Sarah sees a benefit to running her own company. “I think it actually works to our advantage, as we often find that women are making the purchasing decisions in their home. Taking care of our customers is really important to us and trust is a big part of that.” Given The Heat Pump Store’s growth and glowing reviews, Sarah’s approach is spot-on.

We are proud to support and recognize the women-owned businesses participating in the Comfort Ready Home Contractor Network.

Mike Stothers and the Craft of Energy Efficiency

Since the 1990s, Mike Stothers has been interested in the intersection of energy efficiency and architecture. In his years working as a carpenter, he developed an eye for detail and an appreciation for the craftmanship of a beautiful house. He also understood that good construction was only part of what made a home truly livable; it also had to be energy efficient for optimal comfort and savings.

After 20 years working construction, Mike transitioned to the solar industry, merging his background as a builder with the emergence of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Eventually, he started his own construction company and learned the ins and outs of running a business.

Years later, when the greenery of the Northwest called, Mike joined Comfort Ready Home as a Field Specialist in 2021. Here, his combination of skills foster growth for contractors while helping them understand how integrating energy efficiency and incentives can strengthen their business. His mix of experience, skills and passion allow him to guide contractors toward sustainable profitability which in turn supports healthier communities.

In his free time, Mike melds his passions for science, art and activity. He can be found building his own backyard skate ramps, spreading watercolor across canvas and making upgrades to his home in Eugene, Oregon.

To get in touch with Mike and learn more about how Comfort Ready Home works for utilities and contractors, send us a message.

Designing the Perfect Customer Experience: Marshall’s Approach to HVAC Solutions

Changing with the Industry

Throughout the years, family-owned Marshall’s Inc. has stayed relevant by focusing on hiring the right people, maintaining expertise in developing technologies and solution-based customer service. Lisa Bruckner, Chief Operating Officer at Marshall’s, says, “The industry has changed over the years, but the core of what makes Marshall’s special hasn’t changed. Experience has shown we need to change what we install to meet the needs of the community, but how we do it remains genuine.”

Prioritizing the Customer

The company, which started by delivering oil in 1948 and then installing oil furnaces to meet customer needs, has followed the evolution toward more energy efficient and sustainable options. Marshall’s Inc. became one of the first contractors in the local area to embrace technologies like heat pumps, insulation for energy conservation and all things comfort. To provide their customers with even more value, Marshall’s partners with their local utilities, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Springfield Utility Board, Emerald People’s Utility District, Energy Trust of Oregon, Lane Electric Co-op, local gas utilities and product manufacturers for easy access to available rebates. By offering incentives on their proposals at the point-of-sale, Marshall’s offers transparency that helps build trust with their customers. “We put the onus on ourselves to bring the rebate to the client. As the professionals in the field, we feel it’s on us to put it all together for them,” says Bruckner.

Collaborating to Improve

Through relationships with other organizations and partnerships with utilities, Marshall’s strives to offer continuous education opportunities for its employees. They are currently working with Comfort Ready Home to assemble a local heat pump water heater training for their team.

Interested in scheduling a free training? Contact your local Field Specialist

A Balanced Partnership

Marshall’s Inc shows that providing excellent service comes from staying true to your roots while embracing the changes that benefit your customers and being open to collaboration. Striking this balance between innovation and customer care has helped the company set an admirable standard and will continue to serve them well into the future.

ThermAll’s Commitment to Affordable HVAC Warms Up During Winter

Winter can be a challenging time for many families, especially when it comes to keeping their homes warm and cozy. This was the case for one family who called ThermAll Heating, Cooling & Electric in the middle of winter to repair their non-working heating system.

Upon arrival, the salesperson discovered a flame rollout issue, where combustion happens outside the designated area. If left unresolved, the situation poses a serious fire and safety hazard. The family had no other heating source and was not financially able to repair the current system, leaving them without heat at a dire time.

Thankfully, the team at ThermAll was not content to simply walk away. They reached out to local organizations and the local gas utility company to seek support to provide the family with a solution. After tapping into their connections, they were able to secure funding for a brand-new system. But they didn’t stop there. ThermAll reached out to their local Comfort Ready Home Field Specialist, David Olivas, to see if there were any other resources available for the family. Through this connection, David put on his other hat as community advocate and helped ThermAll find supporters to raise extra funds to ensure the family was able to have a family holiday celebration.

This heart (and house) warming story is just one example of how ThermAll has been standing behind their name since 1988. Founded as a force for good in the mission to bring affordable heating and cooling solutions to their community, ThermAll has remained committed to this goal despite the challenges that come with being a family-owned business in an increasingly competitive market.

They continue to grow adding great people to the team, including recently adding a whole electric division. The ThermAll team continues to work with Comfort Ready Home to stay at the top of their game by accessing free Comfort Ready Home trainings and their on-call field specialist, David Olivas.

 

Women-Owned Business Spotlight: Total Quality Air

For years, Rosie Garcia’s husband, Carlos, worked for HVAC businesses and spent stretches on the road away from the family. Eventually, the pair decided to venture out on their own and started Total Quality Air in Pasco, WA. They moved into a tiny office building with a small storage space and got to work. Rosie, a mother and full-time schoolteacher, added the title business owner to her already busy schedule.

Through the Garcias’ hard work, dedication and strong family bond, the Total Quality Air team grew year after year. After a sprint of hiring, Rosie made the choice to leave teaching and focus on the HVAC business. As she reflects on that time, she realized that one person can only do so much. “You always have to grind as a business owner, but I had to realize when it was time to bring more employees on,” she said. And that’s what Total Air Quality did, purchasing a building in Pasco and growing the team to more than 16 people.

When Rosie is asked what she values most about how the business is run, family is the common theme. “My daughter’s upbringing taught me a lot about the need for flexibility for family and the people we love,” she said. “It isn’t uncommon to see children in the office somedays.” She runs the business by relying on the family that is created by prioritizing a comfortable workspace with open communication.

Another way that Rosie and Carlos have made Total Quality successful is by taking advantage of Comfort Ready Home’s support, working with dedicated Field Specialist David Olivas and attending in-person trainings. Rosie says, “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with David. He has been one of our best support systems; if he doesn’t know the answer, he will make sure to find someone who does.”

We are proud to support and recognize the women-owned businesses participating in the Comfort Ready Home Contractor Network.

Women-Owned Business Spotlight: Eastern Oregon Heating & Air Conditioning

In 2018, Becky Hayden started running Eastern Oregon Heating & Air Conditioning, the HVAC business her father started in 2010. Having grown up around her father’s 30-year passion, she too caught the bug for hard work. Hayden says, “I liked how amazing things could be built with just a flat piece of metal.”

Eastern Oregon supports their clientele with Becky at the helm and nine team members, including North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certified technicians and salespeople. With growth happening in all directions for the community, the team is ready to heed their customers’ calls for comfort. “There will always be a need for HVAC, and we are in the business for it.”

When asked about the most important thing she has learned along the way, Becky says, “Running a successful business depends on how driven you are. It is never a 9-to-5 job; it takes time and dedication to make sure our customers are taken care of and ensuring the community knows our team is built with honesty and integrity. Word of mouth goes a long way and having a great team standing beside you is very important.”

Becky says she is looking forward to continuing to work David Olivas, her regional Comfort Ready Home Field Specialist. “David is always ready to answer questions about energy efficiency and utility incentives. He also keeps us updated on the trainings that are available”

We are proud to support and recognize the women-owned businesses participating in the Comfort Ready Home Contractor Network.

Outreach Specialist Spotlight: John Heflin

When John Heflin landed his first job as a Comfort Specialist at an HVAC company, he quickly became hooked on helping homeowners save money and solve home comfort problems. Now, as a Comfort Ready Home Outreach Specialist, Heflin is helping connect distributors and contractors with utility incentives and training opportunities so they can bring the benefits of energy efficiency to their customers’ homes.

“I enjoy what I do because I like showing people things they didn’t know were possible when it comes to increasing energy efficiency and comfort at home,” said Heflin. He enjoys learning new things, too — one of his favorite experiences working in HVAC was selling a Spacepak Solstice air-to-water heat pump, a specialized and uncommon system that Heflin had to study up on. With his background in HVAC systems and utilizing rebates to increase customer satisfaction, Heflin is an expert when it comes to helping contractors find unique solutions to meet the needs of their customers.

In his free time, Heflin is a drummer for several bands in Portland and is currently setting up a home recording space. He’s adding temporary sound reduction (“to keep the neighbors happy,” he says) and a power conditioner, which smooths out voltage fluctuations and protects his gear.

To get in touch with John and learn more about how Comfort Ready Home works with distributors and contractors, send us a message.