By Nickolaus Hines
When the school day ended for nine-year-old Steve Hanson, he hopped into his dad’s truck to ride to service calls for Hanson Heating and Air Conditioning. He helped his dad repair and install heating and air conditioning units, learning the trade through family business experience.
That was in 1967, the year Hanson’s dad, also named Steve, decided to go into business for himself.
Today, Hanson is continuing their family business in the same person to person relationship style of customer relations that his father started almost 50 years ago.
“I’ve built a lot of relationships over the years,” Hanson said. “I’ve still got some people that we got started with in ’67.”
Hanson took over the business in 1988, but his father continued to work with him until he passed away in 1994. Hanson’s mother, Bernice, still answers the home phone when customers call about a problem that Hanson can fix.
It’s summertime, and Hanson is getting ready to join his employees on a service call. The near 100 degree weather means work for Hanson Heating and Air Conditioning. His powder-blue, short sleeve button up work shirt has “Steve” in flowing letters on the right side and “Hanson Heating and A/C” above the pen-filled pocket on the left.
“It’s a load on the air conditioning with it being so hot,” Hanson said. “In the wintertime, you can always put on a little more clothes, but it’s still against the law to run around naked.”
Work has changed since Hanson attended Opelika Tech, now Southern Union, from 1975-1978 to obtain a license. He has been taking continuous education classes over the past 37 years to keep up with advances in technology. Education has also expanded his list of services. Hanson is licensed to work on furnaces, air conditioning and heating units, gas and electric water heaters and creating and maintaining metal air ducts. Throughout the years however, the company has focused on the importance of local and the importance of the community.
“I want to keep my town and the city I grew up in working and going and keep the people in town comfortable that I work for,”
Hanson said. He believes it’s important to keep business circulating within the community rather than using companies from out of town.
“It’s hard to know which one to pick and a lot of people get burned. You’ve just got to do a good job with what you do and the word will get around.”
The home phone rings and Bernice answers. She has been working alongside first her husband, and now her son since the beginning, and she is proud to say it. She remembers the first days of the company, and recalls that her late husband’s first service call was the last day of March, 1967.
The size of the equipment has shrunk. The water cooled air conditioning units that required water towers on top of the buildings and attracted pigeons to the area have been replaced. The city has grown, contracted and grown again.
But the calls to Hanson Heating and Air Conditioning are still coming in today.