Online Companion: Residential Construction Academy: Basic Principles for Construction

MICHAEL A. TANGORA
HVAC TECHNICIAN


Title:

President and founder, Tangora Technologies, Inc. in Delmar, New York

Education:

Mike completed an Associate’s degree in HVAC at Hudson Valley Community College in upstate New York in 1985, and is certified in the use of refrigerants. He has also completed numerous product licensing courses and business management seminars.

History:

Mike jump-started his career in HVAC when he was still in high school. “After tenth grade, I found a summer job servicing large boiler systems for a local company,” he explains. In June of 1996, he launched Tangora Technologies, a company that provides design and installation services in heating and air conditioning, home automation and security, structured wiring, central vacuuming, home theater, and more. Mike’s business now employs nine people and has grown by 300%.

On the Job:

Starting at 7:00 am, Mike spends the morning supervising general operations, then visits job sites for quality control, sales, or design. “I plan just one activity for a three-hour block” in the afternoon, says Mike. After some evening family time, he returns to his business to complete proposals and job costing.

Best Aspects:

“We’re always looking for a better way to do things,” says Mike. He especially loves the challenge of creating new solutions for his clients. “As a customer, you have your own fingerprint,” Mike explains. “Our systems are built around your lifestyle.” His devotion to customer satisfaction has earned this entrepreneur one of his greatest rewards—the Consumer Electronics Association’s Mark of Excellence in 2002 and 2003. Tangora Technologies’ winning installation exemplified Mike’s customer focus and technical innovation. He also received the Excellence in Small Business award from the New York State Business and Development Corp. in 2002, and earned recognition from Home Automation Inc. as a Five Star Dealer in 2002 and 2003.

Challenges:

Early on a spring morning, Mike was driving 35 miles through a cold drizzle to treat a customer emergency: An automated home security system’s trip sensor would not shut off. “It’s an important client with an important problem,” says Mike. So after talking the customer through the steps to disable the siren, Mike hit the road to complete the repair. “I’m the sole salesperson for the organization,” says the technician. He’s also the customer relations supervisor, operations manager, chief quality control officer, and financial director in a business that requires 14-hour days.

Importance of Education:

Mike’s college education reinforced his early interest in HVAC. He is “constantly learning and researching” new growth opportunities. Business seminars have been especially useful to him as an entrepreneur.

Future Opportunities:

Mike knew early on that he wanted to create a unique career path. Business ownership has allowed him to explore cutting-edge technologies for an upscale clientele. Within the next five to ten years, he would like to reduce his long hours.

Words of Advice:


Mike advises choosing a trade early and building field experience. “Look for a job now,” he urges. “There is no reason why you can’t start looking in high school.” An apprenticeship “can help you find out if you’re really interested.”