Secretary Timothy Geithner’s Visit
Early on the morning of January 28th, 2010, Standard Heating & Air Conditioning officials were alerted to the likelihood that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would visit later that day. With quick preparation, members of this family-owned Twin Cities business rolled out the welcome mat to give Secretary Geithner a tour of their new facility, a chance to meet with employees, and to see firsthand what has made this small business a big success for 80 years.
“We were sincerely honored,” said Standard Heating & Air Conditioning co-owner Ted Ferrara. “It’s not every day that you get to host a cabinet member at your place of business. What a privilege it was for us that Secretary Geithner took time to visit our headquarters while he was in the Twin Cities.”
Local Community Development Banks Recognized
The Secretary’s trip to Standard Heating & Air Conditioning was coordinated through officials at Sunrise Community Banks. Sunrise Community Banks comprises three Twin Cities community development banks; Franklin Bank, Park Midway Bank, and University Bank. The three banks are part of a limited number of banks recognized as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The banks are certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund, and Park Midway Bank is Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s, banking partner.
As a fourth-generation business with a reputation for quality service, professional staff, and community engagement, Standard Heating & Air Conditioning was an ideal representative for Secretary Geithner to witness what works well in America’s small business sector.
Commitment to Staff Training Key to Success
“We had a meaningful dialogue,” said Ferrara. “Secretary Geithner spent time talking with our leadership and staff and was genuinely interested in our business and what we had to say. He asked about our concerns, and what message we wanted him to take back to Washington.” Ferrara continued, “We shared that we are seeing a better business climate emerging and are in an anticipatory hiring mode. We let him know that our financial needs are being well met through our banking partner. Our concern is for our customers—homeowners throughout the Twin Cities—to ensure their credit needs are being met. If our customers are financially healthy, we’ll be healthy.”
As Secretary Geithner toured Standard’s new facility in North Minneapolis, they spent considerable time in both the training room and metal shop. The Secretary was interested in the company’s commitment to staff training and retention. “We conveyed our belief that training is the great competitive un-equalizer and is critical to attracting and retaining exceptional employees.” Ferrara added, “Not only does it provide our clients with knowledgeable, skilled service providers, but an investment in our staff provides stability for our employees, our company, and the economy at large. Everybody wins.”
Small Businesses Contribute to Economic Growth
Co-owner Todd Ferrara was equally enthusiastic about Secretary Geithner’s visit. “As we embark on a new decade, it’s also a new era for our business. Secretary Geithner’s interest in our company—a business that invests in its employees, the surrounding community, and is contributing to this economy—is a wonderful acknowledgment of our commitment and success.” Ferrara added, “We are optimistic about the future, and look forward to serving our customers for many, many years to come.”
“It was a truly extraordinary day,” said Ted Ferrara. “We even had time to ‘talk shop.’ The Secretary said it had been some time since he had last purchased a furnace. As he surveyed our line of energy-efficient systems we discussed new, innovative products on the market. I assured him that when he’s next in the market for a new furnace, we would happily provide him guidance.”
Standard Heating & Air Conditioning is a fourth-generation, family-owned heating and air conditioning contractor serving Twin Cities homeowners since 1930, offering a full array of services and specializing in energy-efficient replacements, repairs, and updates.