Dayton – When he was approached about acquiring the building next door, Greg McAfee was initially reluctant. His company, McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, had flourished at the 11,000-square-foot facility that was built in 1996, and even though the neighboring structure in Kettering was almost three times larger, it was not in prime condition.
“When you are a business owner, you owe it to yourself to at least be open to possibilities for growth, so we decided to take a tour,” McAfee said.
Originally the headquarters for the now defunct Fortune 500 company Miami Computer Supply, the 30,000-square-foot space at 4750 Hempstead Station was no longer posh. It had become run down and was in dire need of repairs, but McAfee and his leadership team envisioned the possibilities. The company had four locations around the Dayton area, and moving all operations under one roof would be a plus, McAfee recognized.
“We bought the property in February 2016, completely renovated it and moved in,” McAfee explained. “This is an exciting new chapter for the company because it enhances camaraderie and productivity for our team members, and further improves our operational efficiency.”
McAfee moved its headquarters to the new location in October and will locate its sister company, NuFab Sheet Metal, to the facility in February. The larger headquarters building represents the newest stage in what is one of Dayton’s most positive business success stories.
Born in Akron and raised in Mansfield, McAfee believed he was destined for a career with Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. like his grandfather and father. At 19, he accepted a job at a Firestone location in Dayton; loaded his pickup truck with a bed, and chair and a few other belongings; and started work in the Miami Valley. He had never been to Dayton, and after enlisting and serving in the Marine Corps, a motivated McAfee was guided with a new focus.
“I took an HVAC course in the Marine Corps, felt comfortable with it and realized there would always be work in the industry, so when I returned to Dayton, I worked for a small HVAC company to gain experience,” McAfee said. “The owner let me go after nine months, saying I would never make it as a mechanic.”
Undeterred, McAfee decided to open his own business in 1990. With $274 in his bank account and a used Ford Ranger emblazoned with the McAfee logo, the former Marine launched his company. He spent hours every day pouring through the Crisscross Directory, making hundreds of phone calls just to get one “Yes” for a service call or system tune up.
“During one two-week period, the phone didn’t ring once, but I kept making calls and driving my truck around the area,” McAfee said. “When a new business opened, I stopped by and introduced myself. One day, a customer said, ‘I see your trucks all over town.’ That was a compliment because, at the time, I just had the Ford Ranger and operated out of the garage in our house in Beavercreek.”
Eventually, McAfee moved to a 400-square-foot garage, and then the 11,000-square-foot facility on Hempstead Station before the newest chapter in the sparkling 30,000-square-foot headquarters. McAfee is exhilarated about 2017 and the continued growth of the company, but he retains the same drive and philosophy that he shared when he was working out of the garage in his house.
“Being passionate about growth will keep you from becoming satisfied. The worst thing for a business owner to be is complacent, so we are always striving to improve our operations and implement new ideas,” McAfee said. “Our new headquarters is an ideal forum for accomplishing those goals.”