Hill York Names Jason Katz Chief Financial Officer

Hill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has appointed Jason Katz as Chief Financial Officer. He joins the firm’s executive management team and will lead its finance and accounting operations from the corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Mr. Katz brings over 25 years of finance, accounting and operations experience to the position along with a proven track record of leading technology-driven teams through periods of high growth.

“Jason is a great fit for us as we continue to evolve into a high-tech leader in the commercial HVAC industry,” said Hill York CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty. “He possesses the ideal combination of exceptional financial insight and significant experience developing strategies for technology-backed businesses.”

According to Lafferty, Mr. Katz will play a key role in advancing the company’s push to leverage its investments in various software platforms while optimizing overall cash flow and mobile billing in the field operations. He will also work to align individual and departmental expertise with business goals to drive Hill York’s growth and profitability.

Mr. Katz has held various high-level positions throughout his career and most recently served as CEO and CFO of Host.net, a multi-location data center, cloud service and network provider.

He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in business management from Kent State University and a certificate of accounting from the University of Pittsburg. He is also a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania.

A full-service commercial air conditioning company, Hill York provides system maintenance, service, repairs, energy solutions and installation for a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. The company has served the state of Florida since 1936. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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Hill York Ranked Among Best Places To Work By South Florida Business Journal

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – (February 26, 2018) – Hill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the South Florida Business Journal. The third-generation family-run firm was part of SFBJ’s Large Companies category featuring businesses with 100 or more employees.

“From our office-based staff to our technicians out in the field, this recognition is a tribute to the special bond we all feel as a close-knit team that grows and prospers together,” said CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty. “We’re proud that, for many who join Hill York, what starts out as a job becomes a career calling to be a Hill Yorker for life.”

The Business Journal compiles an annual list of top companies by asking employees across South Florida why their employers should be named one of the Best Places to Work. Participants are asked to fill out confidential online surveys rating companies in a program developed by Quantum Workplace.

“The Best Places To Work honor reflects the consensus here that it’s an exciting time to be a Hill Yorker,” noted HR Director Monique Estevez. “Along with a performance-based culture that features annual reviews and rewards for meeting individual and department goals, we truly are a work family that takes care of each other and celebrates our successes as a leader in our  industry.”

Hill York is a full-service commercial air conditioning company providing energy efficient solutions for the installation, maintenance, and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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Mobility and Collaboration Tools “Make Life More Comfortable” for Hill York

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Case Study by Onix

Hill York Air Conditioning Services & Energy Solutions, a full-service HVAC contractor specializing in commercial air conditioning and energy solutions, provides energy efficient services for the installation, maintenance and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, Hill York serves the state of Florida with the vision of “Making Life More Comfortable”.

Background: Pioneering HVAC Company Looks to Streamline Technology for Workers Across the State

Since designing and installing the first air conditioning systems in Miami Beach hotels after World War II, Hill York has led Florida facilities such as hospitals, colleges, government buildings, performing arts venues and fitness clubs to new levels of indoor comfort and energy efficiency. Hill York relieves building owners of maintenance chores by using smart technology and remote monitoring.

Today, the company has more than 200 employees in four office locations with an additional 120 field technicians serving customers statewide. Michael Harris, who joined Hill York as Vice President of Information Technology in 2016, saw an opportunity to elevate the company’s technology. He also knew that the ownership was ready to make changes.

The Challenge: Unacceptable Service Disruptions and Outages

Hill York’s existing email setup was subject to disruptions and outages, as was the company’s hosted server. In a service industry where timeliness and responsiveness are key, Hill York needed a more dependable solution.

The company researched both Office 365 and Google G Suite, considering several factors:

  • Some employees use a desktop computer while others work entirely remotely, depending solely on mobile solutions. Therefore the solution needed to work well across various devices including phones, laptops and tablets. Mr. Harris and the team sought a complete solution. They needed the standard office tools like documents and spreadsheets, but also wanted to improve their collaboration by leveraging calendar sharing, text / chat options and video calls.
  • Though cost was not a deciding factor, it was considered during the decision process.
    The team determined that Google was the better choice. Hill York went live with G Suite — and quickly saw improvements across the organization.

The Solution: G Suite Meets a Variety of Needs

Mr. Harris reports that for field technicians, the transition was needed. “They use Gmail and Drive. They use Google Photos to upload job pictures to Drive. In the past, pictures would be taken and emailed. This became a problem when sending several photos or needing to access the photos weeks later. Additionally, we use Google MDM (Mobile Device Management) to publish and manage apps on their phones. The techs have everything they need to do their job.” He added, “All data is backed up because it’s a company phone. Replacement phones are quick to deploy; all of their data is right there in the cloud. We only have to sign them into the new phone and they have everything they need.”

In the offices, the team is putting the collaboration tools to good use. The billing department generates a Google Sheet with past due balances. Sharing this information with account managers gives everyone an accurate financial status when speaking with customers. Mr. Harris noted that employees like that history is visible in Chat, and that Cloud Search is so powerful for both Drive and Gmail. He also noted that, “Hangouts and Chat are proving to be very popular. Our team has really discovered Forms recently and have begun using them to streamline several internal processes.”

The company now has an intranet built with Google Sites housing training information, an employee recognition board, a shared events calendar, forms and more. “It’s the one stop for everything Hill Yorkers need,” said Cristina Crenshaw, brand manager for Hill York. Mrs. Crenshaw gave another Sites example, “When Hurricane Matthew was heading for Florida in the fall of 2016, we were able to build a site in a day — without having any programming experience. This site was a way for employees to get updates about company operations, employee availability, storm status from various weather and government agency news feeds and other relevant info.”

Hill York has an IT team of four people; Mr. Harris notes that moving to G Suite has helped them become comfortable with the cloud. They have one Google admin and one help desk manager that can quickly rectify needs such as restoring information deleted by accident, or wiping a Hill York-registered mobile phone remotely when lost. Additionally, he was able to cite some impressive cost savings realized as a result of going Google:

  • Saving $180,000 in licensing over four years since the company qualified for Google’s Enterprise Agreement promotion
  • Offsetting the running cost of cloud-based servers that were supporting email at about $16,000 a year for four years
  • Licensing servers, regaining another $10,000
  • Avoiding the need for an OCR and indexing application costing $24,000 a year, instead using Google Drive
  • Transitioning to Drive storage by turning off a file server to save $12,000 a year
  • Terminating the purchase of AirWatch for 260 phones for about $120,000 over four years by instead using MDM from Google
  • Moving to an integrated fax solution, sending and receiving faxes by email. Eliminating fax machines and their phone lines will save $24,000 over four years.

Conclusion: Increasing Adoption and Implementing New Uses for Google Cloud

“Our industry is slow to adopt new technology; users can be uncomfortable with it. While adoption varies across the company, some users have very successfully adapted and are much more productive,” said Mr. Harris.

When analyzing Onix’s role in the G Suite migration, Mr. Harris commented, “They’re very knowledgable and kept us organized on the project management side. They made solid recommendations on how to deploy and manage the environment. Onix validated our change management approach. The technical team was excellent and quickly resolved any issues.”

As an example of the success of the deployment process, Mr. Harris explained, “We wanted a single sign-on solution designed for iOS devices. Google says that doesn’t exist and can’t happen. But Hill York and Onix implemented it along with Google MDM features and a device management policy application.” Due to great teamwork and project team communication, the timeline was accelerated; the project was completed ahead of schedule.

He concluded, “We’re not as deep into the Google platform as we will be in another year. Next on the radar at Hill York is Google App Engine and Cloud SQL.” With Onix, Hill York is starting work on a client portal. “Onix is great at teaching us to fish. We want to learn how to do things ourselves and Onix has been very receptive to that. We’re learning something new all the time and making the Google platform work for us.” Up next for Hill York are transformation workshops to expand the G Suite experience and brainstorming new ways to work even more effectively.

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Hill York Gears Up Leadership Team To Drive New Wave Of Growth And Innovation

Leadership-Team-Press-Release-PersonnelHill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning services and energy solutions company, has announced a strategic recasting of its leadership team to manage rapid
growth in both traditional and smart technology services.

Leveraging decades of experience in their respective areas, three company leaders have been tapped to sustain Hill York’s momentum as an HVAC pacesetter: Jeff Phillabaum,
Rob Pulsifer and Mike Senecal.

“As we embrace innovations that create a higher standard in our industry, Jeff, Rob and Mike provide the drive to ride the next wave of growth,” said CEO Robert “Chip” Lafferty.

The following Leadership Team promotions were announced:

Jeff Phillabaum will take the reigns as President of Hill York Service Corporation. Phillabaum joined Hill York out of college and has led virtually every area of the company in his 39 years of service. “Jeff’s deep level of experience and industry respect will be a huge asset as we continue to develop and market our diverse capabilities,” Lafferty observed.

Former Vice President of Energy Solutions Rob Pulsifer has been named Executive Vice President of Existing Building Solutions. Hired by Hill York in 2010, Pulsifer has spent his 18-year career as a rising star in the industry. “Rob will be bringing his leadership and enthusiasm to our service team further integrating energy solutions, building controls, and HYStat smart technology monitoring businesses,” said Lafferty.

Mike Senecal has been promoted from Vice President of Construction to Executive Vice President of New Construction and will provide strategic direction for construction, operations, and projects. “Mike is a true blue Hill Yorker who is highly respected by the construction team,” Lafferty noted. During his 19 years with the company, Senecal has progressed through the ranks, starting in duct and pipe fabrication and moving up to a series of management roles.

“Jeff, Rob and Mike have proven track records for facilitating faster, smarter ways of meeting our clients’ challenges,” Lafferty reflected. “At a time when business is booming and growth opportunities are substantial, they will be instrumental in guiding our biggest successes going forward.”

Hill York is a full-service commercial air conditioning company providing energy efficient solutions for the installation, maintenance, and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

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Cities Set New ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Requirements

As I referenced in a post earlier this week, business driven markets and government policy go hand in hand with Energy Solutions. With the consistent trend toward long-lasting infrastructure improvements and smarter buildings in most industries across the country, it’s no wonder why we see government policy working to accelerate the savings of both money and energy.

Government regulation can be on a macro (federal) level between countries and a micro (city) level, like the movements we are seeing today. Cities across the nation are adopting policies requiring building owners to benchmark and publicly report on their energy use through ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager.

Adding to the list of 17 in the past months, Portland, Atlanta, and Berkeley join cities like New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Denver, and Philadelphia as municipalities that are making it easy for Energy Solutions to be implemented. It’s only a matter of time before Florida cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville enact policies that require ENERGY STAR Benchmarking. When they do, Hill York will be there as an ENERGY STAR Partner with over 6 years experience and a Portfolio of over 100 buildings benchmarked already.

Leveraging the Market and Government Policy

The private sector has been driving energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction as a part of a sustainability movement for the past 10 years. Companies and industries such as Microsoft and Coca Cola, and many more, now release sustainability reports so that consumers can see everything that they are doing to help reduce the impact made by their product or service. Apart from the private sector, governments are now pushing the sustainability movement even further with new goals to reach and a plan on how to get there.

In November of 2014, the Obama administration announced a joint sustainability venture with China to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% below 2005 levels in the United States by 2025 and to peak carbon emissions by 2030 in China. In late March, the United States submitted its plan to achieve such reduction in greenhouse gases that included reducing building sector emissions and four other actions. One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was the utilization of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to benchmark buildings and drive efficiency through building upgrades and efficient appliances. Other possible ways to achieve this is offering federal rebates for efficiency upgrades or grants on both the state and federal level.

What does this mean for Hill York, a company at the forefront of efficiency in Florida? It means that while we have been operating on a market driven wave of efficiency, we can leverage new sustainability goals by the US to bring Energy Solutions throughout the state. Hill York is already using Portfolio Manager and has benchmarked many facilities that have grown into large-scale efficiency projects. We also recently secured two Energy Solutions jobs by leveraging state grant money to improve energy efficiency; a perfect example of keeping up with all the tools at our disposal. Read, download, and print the press release here. Our business is driven by both the “invisible hand” of the market as well as government policy, and staying on top of both has put Hill York at the front of the industry.

Energy Efficiency Solutions with ENERGY STAR Data Trends

Hill York Energy Solutions utilizes data and systems from the US Department of Energy called, ENERGY STAR. The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool allows Hill York to benchmark buildings in our portfolio and compare energy use to similar buildings around the country.

That being said, ENERGY STAR has a plethora of information that is available to anyone and everyone who wants to learn about energy efficiency for work or for home.
Data Trends, visualizations compiled from all of the information in Portfolio Manager to track trends and report findings, was recently released by ENERGY STAR. The Data Trends took the comprehensive data from all building types and focused on reporting upon the specific characteristics about similar buildings.

Each two page PDF takes the information for the sector and builds a report that gives helpful visual data as well as easy-to-read paragraphs explaining the data and highlighting important or interesting facts. For example, the illustration above depicts the states that have benchmarked offices in the Unites States with the darkest blue being the most. It also explains a typical operating profile for a building so that anyone can explain why some offices are more efficient than others.

The use of big data like this to improve the efficiency of commercial buildings cannot be overstated. With so much data at its fingertips, ENERGY STAR has visualized information for thousands of buildings across the country and made it easy to access so that all property owners can benefit. The first step to managing a building and its energy use is to first measure it, create a benchmark, and set goals for reduction; ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is the perfect tool to accomplish this. Check out the different sectors that these Data Trends were created for and read the ones for the sector you are interested in here.