In 36 years, Randy Norris, the residential division manager for Sunset Air, has seen the company grow, both in personnel and in scope of service. Despite the expansion, he has witnessed the company retain their core values of integrity and family. Randy’s retirement at the end of the year is marked as a bittersweet transition, but he remains grateful for the community he has built with customers and fellow employees over the years.
Sunset Air is a family-owned company specializing in heating and air conditioning systems as well as other electrical services. Randy started at Sunset Air in 1979, after deciding that operating his own business wasn’t compatible with his home life. Aside from briefly leaving the company in the mid-1980s, he has remained constant with the company since 1987.
Throughout the decades, Randy moved up through the ranks of Sunset Air and has worked out in the field, in the sales department and as a division manager. In his current position as a residential division manager, he does what he loves most by working with customers and solving problems.
Randy mainly works with customers who are homeowners and have questions or concerns about their systems. In alignment with the values of Sunset Air, he always works to come to a solution and do right by the customer. Around the office, Randy has become the all-around problem solver. “Because I’ve been in this industry a long time, a lot of things, even if it’s something that I’m not directly involved with or my responsibility, they are referred to me,” says Randy. “That is what I am here for.”
Randy’s experience throughout multiple divisions of Sunset Air has helped immensely in his current role. “Working with customers gave me the opportunity to take a lot of the things I learned in the field and apply them,” says Randy. “I look at a project and think through a different lens. There is so much to learn in this particular industry. You have to know the product, but you also have to know every application and they are all a little different. Homes aren’t cookie cutter. They are unique and so the challenge is to figure out what the best application is for that customer’s needs and what they are after. That is my favorite part, to interact with people and solve problems.”
In addition to working with customers, another passion of Randy’s is solar energy. He was instrumental in Sunset Air adding solar panel installation to their list of services, as well as adding applications for solar energy to the company’s main office. “One of the things I’ve been allowed to do is be creative with things that we’ve never delved in,” says Randy.
“Back in 2011, the solar program was something I became really interested in,” he adds. “We weren’t doing anything like that. We had recently taken on an electrical division and all the planets lined up and it made sense to do this. I went to ownership and our engineering department and ran everything through there and said that this is very viable and something that we should do. We’ve been really successful in installing solar panels. That has allowed me to think out of the box. My sales group will still ask all kinds of questions about nuances of the panels. I am going to miss things like that when I am gone, so I told them that they could still call me.”
During his time at Sunset Air, Randy has seen similar businesses in the industry slowly lose their customer-oriented spirit. He is glad that Sunset Air has been able to retain and practice the values listed on their mission statement. “The mission statement has always been something that’s at the forefront,” says Randy, “because even though this is quite a large company now, it is still family-owned and with family-owned, we don’t have investors that try to change the mark. We have seen different corporations, where once it was purchased from being a family business to what it is today, their mission statement changed. The relationships are different. By being a family-owned, family-based company, that mission statement hasn’t changed and we’re not moving away from that. It is harder to do as you get larger because you have more players, and it is difficult to orchestrate everyone to make sure that we are all on track, but the message is still there. I never felt that we weren’t looking out for the customer’s best interest.”
Looking ahead, Randy’s retirement plans include world travel. “We are going to do some traveling,” says Randy. “In February and March, we are going to Costa Rica, then Hawaii for a couple weeks in April and May. We have a motor home and we are going to take a ride with another couple down to New Orleans.”
Most of all, Randy appreciates the supportive atmosphere that has been created by the employees and owners of Sunset Air during his time with the company. “We have a great group of people here, all the staff,” explains Randy. “Everyone’s striving for the same end result. That is the part I am going to miss when I retire.”
To learn more about Sunset Air and the services they offer, visit the Sunset Air website.
5210 Lacey Boulevard SE, Lacey
360-456-4956 – 24-hour service
Monday – Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.