HTS shares why company culture and sustainability are at the heart of its operations

Heat Transfer Solutions Inc., (HTS) is an independent market leader of made-to-order commercial and industrial Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) distribution in North America. It is committed to the individual success of all those involved in a project’s HVAC system selection, design, purchase, installation, and maintenance.

Mike Donovan

HTS Engineering Ltd., is operated by 11 global operating partners (28 in total, including the large subsidiary US distribution businesses and manufacturing) that form parent company, HTS Engineering Ltd. Founded in 1992, HTS Engineering Ltd., has since experienced tremendous growth, having expanded into 22 locations across Canada and the United States, including Texas in 2001. HTS Engineering Ltd., along with the regional subsidiary, large distribution businesses, and manufacturing companies, has 28 total operating partners. Mike Donovan, President of HTS Texas, spoke to Construction Today about the growth of the business, company culture, and social responsibility.

“The core of what we do is distribute, service, and maintain large mechanical equipment that is used for primarily environmental purposes. For example, air conditioning, heat, dehumidification, humidification, ventilation, building automation, chilled water and hot water generation, and commercial and industrial applications and processes,” Mike begins. “Our industry experience spans industrial, institutional, and commercial projects of all sizes across various industries, such as healthcare, hospitality, commercial office, laboratory, industrial manufacturing, residential, leisure, and education facilities.

“My primary role is Operator of our Texas footprint, which is all of the major metropolitan markets in Texas; Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and the wider surrounding areas,” he explains. “Day-to-day, I ensure that the Texas branch runs smoothly, as well as overseeing accounting, marketing, service, aftermarket parts, building controls and large equipment sales.”

Mike continues: “HTS gets involved with the design of HVAC systems in almost any building over 25,000 square feet in the regions in which we operate. Everything is intentionally designed with the manufacturers we work with to suit the clients’ individual needs and specifications. In the northeast corridor of the US and Canada, we have, for example, developed a manufacturer that services the high-rise apartment and condominium market with very tiny footprint air conditioning equipment.”

In addition to its core business, HTS “started and built an off-site manufacturing company, Epsilon Industries, that creates effective pre-packaged hot water and chilled water generation solutions for hospitals, hotels, automotive manufacturing facilities, large higher education projects, district cooling projects, and state, county, and federal government projects,” describes Mike. “These products offer an efficient, cost-effective solution, as they arrive pre-assembled, meaning very little construction is required directly on the job site, which also enhances quality and safety.”

Turning to the people side of the business, Mike is passionate about establishing a successful, positive company culture. “We built our company on the foundation of transparency and envision our role as leaders as equipping others with resources to self-actualize and to succeed,” he states. “We have a flat organization; all the management staff and business partners are active in the business. Our employees are encouraged to make use of our open-door policy, so they can take suggestions or criticism to the top without judgement.”

People firstWith 12 plus years of recognition, HTS Engineering LTD., continues another year of platinum membership of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, evidencing its commitment to establishing a successful company culture. The company takes pride in its social values: honesty, integrity, urgency, and inclusivity, with a desire to bring the most diverse opinions to any given project or initiative. Mike says: “We do not know what everyone’s individual happiness looks or feels like, so we seek to provide all our employees with a pathway to joy and fulfillment in their occupation. We have a broad range of opportunities for giving back to the community, personal progression, and education.”

He elaborates: “I like to allow individuals to take ownership within the company. For example, I encourage employees to approach me with a proposition for personal growth and community service and for company support with something they’re passionate about or involved with. Supporting people on their personal missions, as well as professional ones, is engrained in the fabric of our culture and something I personally love about the business.

“We’re a relatively young management team, so we are trying to bridge our understanding, or even elevation of, the next generation,” Mike explains. “We are constantly assessing what it is that they are listening to, paying attention to, and what is important to them, to shape the future of the company. We have identified that the most common objective in our current climate is sustainability, future financial health of the organization and social, but specifically related to community, responsibility.”

HTS is passionate about and renowned for its efficient systems. “We sell and engineer equipment that requires energy, so it is important that we work to provide the absolute most efficient systems that consume the least amount of energy,” he states. “Energy efficiency is in our DNA; the lower we can make energy consumption while still providing safe and effective systems, the better it is for both the customer and the environment.”

Furthermore, HTS is developing modern HVAC solutions, which, unlike the traditional system, do not require excess water for heat rejection. “Continuing to purposefully innovate methods and systems that don’t consume additional water for heat rejection is one of our priorities,” highlights Mike. “We believe that water is the most precious resource on the planet. It is our mission to preserve water to the largest possible extent, while meeting the needs of today’s building efficiency requirements.”

Sustainable growth
Thinking ahead to the future of the business, Mike proposes: “The electrification and heat pump movement is central to our next decade of existence. As we continue to lower energy consumption across our projects, we must create and implement HVAC solutions that utilize heat pumps, energy recovery from water or air, and systems that are simple to maintain and provide predictable outcomes for the end-user that owns these systems.

“We are still young, so we have a huge appetite for growth and acquisition,” he concludes. “In terms of acquisition, we are more concerned about the cultural, first and foremost, and secondly the financial elements of the business, rather than geographical expansion. Moving forward, HTS continues to acquire businesses that support our growth across North America and complement our mission to provide the utmost care for employees, clients, and suppliers.”