Crusader is a term many use in describing Ron Smith. Throughout his HVAC business career, starting in 1961, Ron has enjoyed starting new ventures, developing and applying new creative ideas, freely sharing information and introducing enthusiastic and bright people to the industry. Many of his operational systems and processes, and marketing and sales programs are in wide use throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and other counties.
A true entrepreneur, in 1965 he founded Modern Air Conditioning, Inc in Ft. Myers, FL with a borrowed $500, no customers and no coworkers, and built it into one of the premier and most recognized and respected firms in the U.S. with $15 million in annual revenues (that translates to $40 million to $45 million in annual revenues in today’s HVAC industry) before selling it in 1986.
Later he purchased, significantly grew, and then sold three similar air conditioning and heating companies in the Louisiana and Florida markets.
In 1985 he founded Service America, based in Atlanta, GA, the first national HVAC franchiser. In less than four years the firm had over 100 franchisees. It was later sold to a Swiss public company, purchased back from them two years later, and sold the second time in 1991 to Roto-Rooter.
Ron Smith & Associates (RS&A), an HVAC exclusive training and consulting company based in Roswell, GA, was founded in 1991. RS&A, with its focus on operations, systems, processes, and disciplines was soon one of the industry’s leading training and consulting firms. Ron developed and over the next several years personally presented his Dominant Market Share yearlong training program to over seventy distributor groups with well over 1900 contractor attendees. He sold the company in 1997.
In 1997 he joined Service Experts in Brentwood, TN, an HVAC consolidator and public company, as Chief Operating Officer and served in that position until after the company was sold to Lennox Industries. When it sold in early 2000 it had 116 locations across the U.S after making more than 200 acquisitions, and with annual revenues of over $600 million.Ron founded, co-founded, owned, had or currently has an ownership in seventeen businesses.
He served many years on the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, and also served on the Florida Governor’s Conference on Small Business. In 1979 he was chosen Free Enterprise Citizen of the Year in Ft. Myers/Lee County, FL. In 1980/81 he graduated from Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program, Managing Organizational Effectiveness.
He is proud of being one of only 33 people to have been elected to Contracting Business magazine’s HVAC Hall of Fame, and has been presented numerous awards including being recognized with Service Roundtable’s Servant Leader award. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of HVACR Business magazine and has authored many articles for various trade journals for the past 35 years.
In 2014 Contracting Business magazine published an article titled “The 22 Most Ever Influential People in the HVACR Industry”. Ron was listed as number three on the list after only Willis Carrier and John Copeland.
In 2017 at the Annual Service World Expo event Mike Murphy, Publisher of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News announced that henceforth, the News will present the Ron Smith Leadership Award to a person in the industry who has given of themselves in outstanding fashion for others in the HVAC industry.
In the past he served on the Board of Directors of Spiro International S.A. in Friborg, Switzerland, Buckeye Ventures, the Advisory Board for North Carolina National Bank and the Advisory Board for Roto-Rooter/Service America. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Service Roundtable, Inc and is one of the founders of the company. He is on the Advisory Board of HVACR Business.
He has attended Marietta College, George Washington University and Harvard Business School.
Ron, the author of the best selling book HVAC Spells Wealth, the HVAC Light Commercial Service Agreements book, the 9 Disc Audio CD Set HVAC Spells Wealth, and the book “More and New” HVAC Spells Wealth book, consults and coaches with contractors and distributors.
He also is a real estate developer with his last project being a tract with several small farm estates of 8 to 40 acres located in Mid-Tennessee.
Ron’s civic work includes involvement as area coordinator in a South Florida youth drug abuse program for several years, and chairing a huge five year church construction project in Ft. Myers, FL on both the Planning Committee and the Building Committee. He and his wife, Betty, do church mission work in foreign countries and are very active in their church. He was also a member of the South Rotary Club in Ft. Myers, FL. And, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves for several years in Washington, D.C., Cherry Point, NC and Parkersburg, WVA.
His pleasure-filled personal achievements include driving a late model stock car for several years at various Florida racetracks including winning the South Florida Late Model 100 lap Championship. Enjoying mountain climbing he climbed to the summit of the Grand Teton Mountain in Wyoming. He hikes extensively and has done so in many countries around the world. One of his other enjoyments is whitewater rafting and has several times done the Chattooga River in Northeast Georgia where the movie “Deliverance” starring Burt Reynolds was filmed.