All-Year sells to competitor, business continues

Steve Chapman

Former owner McKean looking forward to well-earned retirement after 30 years in heating and air-conditioning industry
Andy McKean has seen a lot after 30 years in the heating and air conditioning business. And apparently he’s seen enough, as he’s officially sold his company, All-Year Heating and Air Conditioning, to friend J.R. Gardner, also in the industry.
McKean is still working there to help the new owner transition into some of the local contracts. He plans to completely retire by June.
McKean said he became interested in heating and air conditioning repair while working as a security guard at a psychiatric hospital.
“I had the keys to everything, and I’d go down into the mechanical room, where the big air conditioner compressors were … and I became fascinated by it,” he said. “I read some books on it … and I got to thinking that the heating and air business will always be around, because if you live in a house that doesn’t have any heating or air, you’re living in a barn. The job can’t be exported. I can’t be replaced by a robot or a computer, and so, it was definite job security.”
McKean went to work as a heating and air conditioning service technician. Around 2006, he visited his former boss Al Spencer, who owned All-Year at the time. The visit led to McKean eventually becoming the owner of All-Year.
“I dropped in to visit him, was talking, and he said, ‘Hey, I have a company out in Mt. Vernon; I need somebody to run it. Would you be interested?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’ Because, I was tired of driving around Springfield; I can’t stand that traffic. I started out as the manager out here, I ran the place, and then after a year or two, I bought it.”
McKean continued to operate All-Year as the owner for 13 years. He sold the business on Thursday, Jan. 3, to Gardner.
“I wanted to sell it to J.R. because I knew he was a good person; he wasn’t going to be some crook,” McKean said. “(J.R.) is honest, and he’s extremely skilled. His guys are good. He’s the only person I know that was able to pass the Masters license test in Springfield without ever setting foot in a heating and air school. So, he’s very intelligent and hardworking. He does heating and air all day, and then he also raises Angus cattle on his farm.”
After 30 years in heating and air, McKean said the hardest part about retiring will be saying goodbye to the people he’s worked with.
“I’ve been in a leadership position with these guys for a lot of years, and I’ve watched them grow, not just technically, but in their personalities,” he said. “They’ve jelled into a true team.”
However, there are some things he won’t miss, which includes some of the more physically challenging aspects of heating and air conditioning work.
“I’ve been up on metal roofs in Springfield that were so hot that the bottom of my tennis shoes would melt,” he said. “So, I’m not going to miss the pain and suffering of the actual work.”
McKean also said he wouldn’t miss certain customers whom he said made some outrageous demands.
“Some people are ridiculous to the point of mental illness,” he said. “I went to somebody’s home, got into the living room, and there was this 400-pound man sitting in a recliner,” he said, recounting one service call. “He had a box, about the size of a shoebox, full of all kinds of narcotic pills … and he was eating those like candy. He looked down, saw a McDonald’s cheeseburger on the floor, and his wife started yelling that it was two weeks old. He opened it up, took a bite, and said, ‘No, it’s fine,’ and sat right there and ate the whole thing.”
Another experience wasn’t quite so amusing.
“I had an old lady pull a gun on me here in Mt. Vernon because she couldn’t figure out her digital thermostat,” he said. “There was nothing wrong with it, but she was just getting frustrated and pulled out a .22 rifle. I had her son’s phone number and called him. He came over and took the gun away, and when he opened the bolt up, a live round popped out.”
As for his retirement plans, McKean said he hadn’t thought a lot about them, but said he would like to do some traveling and also to ride his motorcycle.
“I’m (also) a firearms enthusiast, so I’ll be burning up some bullets,” he said.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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