If you looked around you at the 2015 MACS Training Event and Trade Show, you saw an increase in young faces and this is a good thing! Another phenomenon observed is second and third generation MACS members, also a good thing. As we move through 2015 into 2016 MACS will be focusing on the next generation of mobile A/C members and how they are shaping the future of our industry.
The Coll family of Universal Air Conditioner (UAC) in Mansfield, TX is one of MACS’ most active and engaged members. UAC is family-owned, founded by Luis Coll. Educated as an oral surgeon, he chose to pursue his passion as a mechanic and engineer and created a company in Puerto Rico that manufactured mobile A/C parts, ultimately exporting them. In 1987, Luis created UAC to supply the manufacturing facility. Luis passed away in 1990 and his son Carlos left his profession as a lawyer to run the business.
Carlos quickly put his stamp on the company by importing parts from Asia, collaborating with Chinese factories and focusing on product development. Carlos refined logistics, grew the company to new success and was named a Mobile A/C Pioneer in 2006.
Product development and customer service are two of the company’s core pillars. Ensuring product quality controls and timely new product launches in addition to having a customer-focused and service-oriented team differentiates UAC from its competitors. Given the trend toward parts proliferation, UAC understands that its customers rely on it to be well-inventoried and have the ability to ship quickly.
Now history repeats itself for the Coll family as both daughter Sophia and son Francisco are the next generation to join their family business. The next generation will leverage their father’s industry experience and expertise while contributing and executing on their own unique skill sets.
So everyone is together at work, what is that like? Carlos explains, “It’s invigorating and it drives me to keep going, with youth comes passion, motivation and new ideas. It is important to stay innovative. Both Francisco and Sophia have skills and networks that add to what UAC is trying to accomplish. Plus, they are smarter than me… Just the other day Sophia did a task in 30 minutes that may have taken me several hours. Soon they’ll be my boss!”
Sophia is a 2013 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics; she also interned at Goldman Sachs in New York. How does she see her role at UAC? “After 1.5 years in the industry, I finally feel like I have a grasp of the products, the customers and the competitive landscape. It’s a very steep learning curve, especially for someone with no relevant industry experience. On the other hand, it’s incredibly rewarding to learn something new every day. My role initially focused on shadowing my father, which entailed interacting with UAC’s top customers and executing on daily priorities. One of my biggest contributions has been implementing process-oriented guidelines around some of our key functions to enhance efficiency and accuracy.”
The deadline for this article came just as Francisco, a Financial Economics and East Asian studies graduate of Vanderbilt University was moving back to Texas from New York and he shared his first impressions for this story, “Given that I joined UAC about two seconds ago, actually this week (March 9), I still haven’t formed a comprehensive view on the A/C industry. I’m currently at (0,0) on the learning curve but am constantly drinking out of a water hose. My previous experiences of working at large investment banks in NYC have equipped me with many tools that I feel can help UAC grow and evolve. Specifically, I will look to focus on (1) human resources – people are a company’s greatest asset, (2) business development – how we can win new business and increase our share of wallet with existing customers, and (3) financial / operational efficiency.”