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NewsWednesday, May 9, 2012
Walter McGee, owner of McGee Heating and Air Conditioning, was named one of the College's Faces of the Decades as part of Tri-County's 50th anniversary celebration. An outstanding alumnus from each decade (1960s - 2000s) was recognized by President Ronnie L. Booth at the spring commencement.
1967 Alumnus Walter McGee Named One of the Faces of the Decades
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/7/2012
(By Lisa Garrett)
HARTWELL, GEORGIA -- Back in 1966, 18-year-old Walt McGee didn't understand why he needed to take a psychology course as part of general education requirements to earn his heating, ventilation and air conditioning certificate at the new Tri-County Education Center, now Tri-County Technical College. But after working for a few years, McGee says he began to realize it was an important course.
"I saw that people are what make a business a success," said McGee, who has owned McGee Heating and Air Conditioning for 31 years. "Attitude is everything in business and good people make a good business. That's where success comes from," says McGee, who is proud to report that for more than three decades, his business never has reported a loss. "From day one it took off. I wouldn't be where I am today without Tri-County Technical College," added the Hartwell, Georgia resident, who was named one of the College's Faces of the Decades as part of Tri-County's 50th anniversary celebration. An outstanding alumnus from each decade (1960s - 2000s) was recognized by President Ronnie L. Booth at the spring commencement.
He entered the new Technical Education Center in 1966 after graduating from Crescent High School. "The minute I graduated I had a job at S.T. King Company," he said. "There were only three refrigeration companies in Anderson at the time. I was hired at the first place I applied. There was a demand for qualified refrigeration mechanics back then just as there is today," he said. After five years of working for Mr. King, he went on to work at McAlister Heating and Air for six years. In 1980 he started McGee Heating and Air from scratch with one office in Hartwell.
"It was scary starting my own business at age 31," he said. "I learned something new every day." Over the years he opened offices in Anderson, Elberton and Toccoa.
"I keep in touch with my employees. I want them to be happy. Good customer service is key for a business," said McGee, who opened MCG Mechanical in Anderson in 2009. Between the two companies, he employs about 95 persons.
One of them is Robert Kesler, who is general manager of the Anderson office of McGee Heating and Air Conditioning. Kesler started out working for the company as a teenager on weekends. "For the last 30 years, Walter has been a mentor to me. He has been like a father at times, but most of all he has been a trusted friend," said Kesler.
Over the years both companies have received awards for sales and customer service. "Our first year we did a million dollars in sales," McGee said. Since 2006 the McGee Heating and Air in Toccoa has received the Georgia Power Heating and Cooling Partnership award, in 2009 received the Trane Platinum Club Sales award, the Apex Top Sales award for 2010 - 2011; the Excellent Customer Service award from Trane since 1999, and the Honeywell Bronze Achievement award in 2009.
The Anderson office has received the following awards: Top Ten Award for 1999 and 2001- 2005; Distinguished Dealer Award. 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006; Xli Award 2006; Soaring Eagle Award 2009; Highest Overall Sales 2010 and 2011; and Trane Comfort Specialist Dealer of the Year 2010 and 2011.
McGee and his wife, Brenda, have two adult children and four grandchildren.