What started as a family business in Lexington, is still operating as one to this day. Erika and her younger brother are the second-generation owners of MMI, taking the baton from her mother and father who started the company almost three decades ago as Monthie Mechanical Inc. Even though Erika is the daughter of the owners she still had to work through the ranks like everyone else. No special treatment here as she had to earn that baton pass, so Erika knows pretty much all the ins and outs of the business. Her summers were spent with her mother and father, helping to keep the business running as smooth as possible. This is actually where she started here first paying job, being in charge of stocking the vending machines! Since then, she has worn many hats within the MMI from all the way from custodial duties to sales then earning her Master HVAC license. Today Erika is the head of operations.
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Forming a company is always difficult but growing an already successful brand can be even harder. Erika told us how challenging it has been staying relevant and working to grow the business but it being a part of her family so, she knew she had to keep pushing to keep it successful. After the untimely passing of her father in 2016 she's stepped up to earn her Masters HVAC license to have a complete understanding of duct work but then 3 years later her mother passed away and it was now completely in the hands of here and her brother. “A lot of people depend on us to keep the doors open as we only hire local residents to operate the business” .
Trying to get a better understanding on why her father started the business, Erika told us
her felt that there was a big void in the industry for a HVAC contractor who was honest with their customers, fair to their employees, didn't cut corners, used the best practices and just displayed general sense of integrity. " Her parents saw the obvious a need for the service so they decided to become the ones to fill that need. What started out as Monthie Mechanical Inc has now been rebranded MMI and its definitely growing.
Luckily for Erika and MMI, HVAC maintenance and installation is a necessary and "essential" service so they were one of the few businesses in a few Industries who were able to keep their doors open during start of the Covid-19 pandemic. since they were considered an. Keeping consistent work flowing generated under the new conditions meant there had to be some major adjustments with the way they interacted with clients and potential customers. Erika decided this was a great time to begin implementing some new technology to make interactions between clients and the companies safer for everyone.
This transition to implement more technology into the companies’ processes is not something which was decided out of necessity; it was a something Erika had been trying to emphasize with her parents for years as times were changing. Transitioning to MMI in April of 2020 Erika shared they company was still using carbon copy service tickets which caused a decent amount of miscommunication and conversations were not as streamlined as they could be internally between employees as well as externally between the company and clients. The frustration prompted Erika heavily invest in not only technology for their technicians out in the field but also upgrading their computers, Network systems, modes of communication and overall efficiency. As the covid-19 epidemic was running rampant through the world an already well-established solution of being able to assess all of their customers of virtually was already in place. Erika commented that being able to FaceTime with a customer to assess their needs during a time where social distancing was mandatory to keep the doors open. As manufacturers also Implement diagnosis systems to detect Falls in there equipment it allows for MMI and the potential client to look at that fault readout to determine just what the problem can be and come up with a diagnosis without ever having a technician come out to the site.
Another way Erika and her brother are looking to create a better working environment that allows a lot more flexibility for their staff is going back to a four-day work week with one day in the middle being an overlap day where all hands are on Deck. Wanting to follow the example of countries such as Spain and France to be more accommodating to skilled Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, a four-day work week something no one else in the industry is really offering to their staff. It is forward-thinking ideas such as these is what will make MMI a long standing long-standing pillar of the community. Being part of a getting more female's involved in the HVAC trade is another thing MMI is pushing hard for. MMI has already sponsored one student to obtain her Masters HVAC license and they are looking sponsor more and more as the years go on.
Compared to the other heating and air companies in Lexington which are a part of a large conglomerate MMI is homegrown as you can get as Erika takes care of a lot of the in-house work such as budgeting, marketing, advertising, public relations etc., and her younger brother is now their lead installer. This takes it back to 1993 where their father had a phrase that he kept repeating "Your mother handles the paperwork and I handle the ductwork!". Working with MMI them you will get that special homegrown Lexingtonian touch and you will feel a personal sense of care as well. Erika went even further to not that all jobs are priced independently without using some price book. All measurements are taken on site and everything is prices with the customer in mind, every time.
She and her brother already have their sights on the future for what kind of services they want to offer current and new customers. One of those Services is electricity generation via a PV solar panels , as well as vapor barrier installation to help keeping client’s climate envelope as tight as possible. Their goal is to be the company everyone reaches out to consultation, advice and expertise in becoming a net-zero household. The attention on personal and corporate carbon footprints are becoming larger talking point as homeowner are receiving tax credits for installing solar panels, so this is a great shift for a heating and air business.
MMI has a very bright future and as we wish them be best of luck with competing in the very competitive sector of heating and air. These guys are what it means to be a local business in Lexington Kentucky.
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