Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v08n18)
Howald Heating and Air Conditioning opens - by Mario Morone
posted: Sept. 02, 2011
Indianapolis entrepreneur Larry Howald says his blood type is not A, B or O. Instead, he says it is HVAC. He's not kidding.
Larry Howald with one of his new heating and A/C trucks.
image courtesy of Mario Morone
An Indianapolis native, he grew up working in his family's Broad Ripple business. "My dad, Wayne Howald, began operations at Broad Ripple Heating and Air Conditioning in 1962. I was seven years old at the time. He had me do miscellaneous work, like sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathrooms and washing the windows. I was really proud of him and the building that was at 823 East Westfield Boulevard, caddy corner from Indianapolis Fire Department (Station #32)," he recalled.
Howald grew up in the business, eventually graduating from sweeping floors to riding service trucks with the technicians and his dad. After high school graduation, he went to Ball State University only to abruptly find himself returning home to take over the company in the mid-1970s. "After my father passed away, I quit school to manage the company with my mom and sister. We asked many of dad's staff to stay with us promising to keep the business going. Some of those same people still work with us today," he said.
By "today," Howald means at his newest business venture, Howald Heating and Air Conditioning that opened Sept. 1 at 6542 Westfield Boulevard. The location was originally Ford Wire in the 1940s, which later moved to Columbus, Indiana around 1990. That's when Howald purchased the building, moving their family business a few blocks north in Broad Ripple.
So how did the company go from Broad Ripple Heating and Air Conditioning to the new name? "I sold the company in 2000 when there was a lot of consolidation going on in the industry. We were prime bait as a top dealer. I stayed with the new company for over 10 years and in February (2011), my family and I decided to get back to the basics of a family-owned business focused on customer service with honesty and integrity in everything we do. That was the start of Howald Heating & Air Conditioning," he mentioned.
The family is so appreciative of the reception from past clients and partners that they are throwing a celebratory grand opening event on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free food, free advice and great prizes will be available. The highlight of the day will be awarding a Carrier furnace or air conditioner to one family in need in the community. The family has a webpage dedicated to the project at www.howaldheatingandair.com and sent out mailers throughout Indianapolis asking people to tell them why they are in need. Letters were due by August 29.
"I've had a number of letters written to me by families describing their situation of why they need a new furnace or air conditioner and others nominating someone else they know. Our entire family will review the letters to make the final decision. We know it is going to be a hard choice," he noted.
"When Larry told us about his plans to give away and install a furnace or air conditioner to a family in need, it was easy for us at Carrier to step up and offer to partner," said Eric Bond of Koch Air, a Carrier partner. "The Howald family has worked in this business for decades in Indianapolis. The Howald name is synonymous with honesty and integrity. Larry's dad built Broad Ripple Heating and Air Conditioning decades ago and the family operated it until it was sold about 10 years ago. It doesn't surprise me that this is how they've chosen to start their new company," he added.
So what's in store for the future of the new Howald Heating and Air Conditioning after the opening events? Howald says, "We will continue to do community projects. Our company is family owned and operated. When customers call they will talk to me, one of my two daughters and our extended family of professionals. We all live and work here in Indianapolis and are dedicated to delivering more of a personal touch because we feel it's what the people in our town deserve. We want to make it easy for customers to do business with us. I want their calls to be answered and make their experience pleasant. Howald Heating and Air conditioning promises to go on for another 50 years," he said.
Howald is passionate about the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Rock Steady Boxing. He is a frequent spokesperson inspiring others not to let the disease slow them down. "I exercise a lot and that slows the progression of Parkinson's. I climb mountains and play racquetball," he explained.
Among the mountains Howald has climbed-Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mt. Ixta in Mexico, Mt. Rainier in Washington along with all 54 of the 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado. It is this character and guidance that continue to inspire his employees, partners and customers.
As Howald continues his father's legacy in the family business serving the greater Indianapolis community, he has adopted the slogan: Coming home has never felt so good. "If you give somebody your word or promise, always keep it. I've always been a real advocate to do it right the first time. It's what dad instilled in me. Always treat the homeowners and fellow employees with respect," Howald emphasized.
Call Howald Heating & Air Conditioning today for a tune-up or new furnace/air conditioner at 255-HEAT (4328) before the seasons change in Broad Ripple.