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Being the

‘Best We Can Be’ Robin McCombs brings ‘caring and empathy’ to HVAC business By Sherry Jackson

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s a woman-owned and -run business, AZ Perfect Comfort and its managing partner, Robin McCombs, strive to create a legacy for the family. McCombs never thought she’d end up in a career in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. Growing up in northwest Iowa, she had her sights set on a nursing career. And she did that, graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in nursing and then enlisting in the Army as a nurse. She didn’t travel much while in the Army. Her duty stations were in Kansas and Kentucky, but she learned a lot. After about five and a half years in the Army, she and her husband, John, moved to Minnesota where she spent another six years working as a surgical intensive care unit nurse at a VA Hospital. When John’s job transfer brought the family to Arizona, she became a stay-at-home mom for 14 years to their four kids. “I was very fortunate to be able to be there for all of their soccer games, be involved in PTA and our church—doing all those soccer mom kinds of things,” she says. About five years ago, her husband turned down a job transfer, and the couple decided to go into business for themselves. Neither had experience in HVAC, but thought it would be fruitful with Arizona’s desert climate. “We wanted a business and something we could do together,” she says. “And, we really wanted to make a difference bringing a good, reliable, honest company to an industry that is not necessarily always known for having those ethics.” 46

AUGUST 2019 | SEPTEMBER 2019 NORTHVALLEYMAGAZINE.COM

Initially, the couple bought into a franchise, but a year and a half into it, they decided they’d rather go on their own, creating AZ Perfect Comfort. The HVAC company specializes in retrofit installs, service, repair and maintenance for homeowners and light commercial customers. John is more of the “marketing and big picture guy,” says Robin, who handles the day-to-day operations. She frequently goes out to job sites with the technicians and can be seen climbing onto the rooftops and going into attics right alongside them. She’s also certified as a master heat pump technician, something few women in the Valley have obtained. “It’s a very different dynamic with John and I’s roles. I love the customer interactions and to be out with the technicians,” she says. Building relationships and helping educate customers is what she enjoys most. She credits her nursing career and “caring and empathic” background to her ability to relate to customers and understand their needs. “Nursing is definitely more relationship building and building those connections with the customers,” she says. “I love to help customers understand how air conditioning works—if they want to know.” A typical day starts around 6:30 a.m., when Robin gets into the office. She reviews the day’s schedule with her operations manager, and they go over anything outstanding from the previous day. Once the technicians head out for their first jobs, Robin tackles paperwork, emails, phone calls and other

administrative tasks. She often delivers parts to jobsites and serves as backup for the dispatcher to handle calls and scheduling. “It’s whatever needs to be done during the day,” she says. One of her favorite parts of the job? Human resources as she wants to see each of the company’s nine employees succeed. “I enjoy helping every employee figure out their career goals and helping them along their career path and furthering their education and watching them progress.” While she and John work at the company, Robin laughs and says she rarely sees him during the day. “He’s always out at networking events.” Robin is involved with a few industryspecific organizations, including serving as treasurer of the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Even with long hours, especially during the summer, Robin prioritizes her family of three sons and one daughter. Family dinners are important, as are Phoenix Rising games. “We’re big Phoenix Rising fans,” she says. “We have season tickets and we’re there for every home game.” She is driven by building her company’s name and customer base. She also hopes to bring their children into the business and eventually be able to travel. “Not having a background in HVAC, I’m really glad this is the industry we chose. It definitely fits us,” she says. “We don’t want to get too big and lose that personal interaction, though. We’re working hard to be the best we can be. If a customer calls us, they know they’re going to get great service.”

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North Valley Magazine August/September 2019  

North Valley Magazine August/September 2019  

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