The Mobile Air Conditioning Industry Pioneer Award was originally established by the International Mobile Air Conditioning Association (IMACA) in 1988. In 2003, MACS Worldwide assumed the role of continuing the tradition of recognizing individuals who have made outstanding career contributions to the mobile A/C and heat transfer industry.
On Friday, February 8, 2013 the Mobile Air Conditioning Industry Pioneer Award was presented to five individuals at the MACS Worldwide Delphi Keynote Luncheon during the MACS 33rd Annual Training Event and Trade Show. Today’s we profile David Pitts.
David Pitts is President and CEO of MEI Corporation, located in Peachtree City, Georgia. David has spent his entire professional career in the HVAC industry, literally growing up in his father’s mobile air conditioning business. From the time he began working in the family business at age 12, David has gained valuable industry insight working, growing and developing MEI into one of the nation’s largest independent after-marketers of heavy duty and off road vehicle A/C components.
David graduated from the University of Georgia in 1985 with a Bachelor of Business Administration focusing on new venture formation and feasibility studies. Utilizing both educational and real-world experience, David applied his branding and market positioning expertise to his family’s business, Mathews Equipment Inc., founded in 1957 by his father, Charlie Pitts.
David immediately infused new passion and strategic direction into Mathews Equipment, assuming all management responsibilities by 1990. He became President of Mathews Equipment in 1993 upon the passing of his father.
Acting on a strong desire to re-position Mathews Equipment as a national distributor, David created MEI Corporation in 1993 to expand the company’s reach and footprint beyond the regional markets it had traditionally served. Having worked the parts counter from an early age, David identified the need for advanced catalog development to assist countermen across the country in easily identifying the growing population of aftermarket truck A/C parts. He developed the industry’s first picture catalog of “glamour shots” for easy parts inventory identification and to present each part from the most revealing angle. David’s picture catalog creation would eventually become the AirSource Catalog—now considered the industry standard reference tool. As a result of David’s creative foresight, MEI Corporation is recognized as the industry leader in the cataloging and distribution of heavy duty truck A/C replacement components.
David’s incessant drive to synchronize operational efficiency with customer service and profitability is a cornerstone principle for MEI. “Owning and operating a business requires a constant focus on improvement in all aspects of the company,” notes David. True to that ideal, he constantly researches and explores ways to operate more efficiently and invests in technology that delivers competitive advantages for MEI, and ultimately, its customer base.
David continually pioneers advanced packaging and branding concepts never before seen or used in the heavy duty A/C market. Just in Time packaging enables MEI to attach packaging costs to products after they are sold and invoiced to the customer—rather than the traditional method of packaging product and placing it in inventory. David also applies this same strategy to branding, utilizing the JIT format, which allows MEI to distribute over a dozen different trademarked product groups.
MEI has strategically applied focused growth initiatives to develop and secure additional market share as the company has diversified. David negotiated and completed transactions resulting in the acquisition of Truck Air Parts in 2003 and Euclid Air in 2005. Further, David has created and developed many nationally recognized brands including AirSource, AirCentral, AirConnection, EliteAir, MAG and CoolStar.
As a direct result of company growth and the need for more production capacity, David relocated MEI from Atlanta, Georgia—its original location since 1957—to Stockbridge, Georgia in 1996 and then to Peachtree City, Georgia in 1999. MEI has since completed its third warehouse expansion, currently occupying 80,000 square feet of operational space.
Taking care of the customer is a paramount philosophy for MEI. “The customer who seems to ask for too much is really just a customer in need of a solution,” explains David. “As a business owner, I am obligated to try to deliver solutions that meet each customer’s unique needs. When I get a request that sounds impossible, I can’t automatically respond with, ‘no that can’t be done.’ My response is always, ‘Yes, we can do that, and let me figure out how to deliver it to you.’
MEI believes that you can meet a customer need without sacrificing profitability. You can always reverse-engineer profit as long as you look at each situation from all perspectives.”
The MACS Pioneer award holds a special significance for David, as his father, Charlie Pitts, was an inaugural IMACA Pioneer Award honoree in 1988.
David lives in Naples, Florida with his wife Carrie Ann. He has two sons, Chad and Preston, who are both interested in business and hope to someday work at the company that “Grand Daddy Charlie” founded.
MEI has been a member of MACS since 1992.
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The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.