A little more than 40 years ago, a 20-something named Giorgio Bernardi showed up at Northern Weathermakers to ask for a job. He had several years of unrelated experience — laying bricks and doing construction work — so he wasn’t a candidate we were too interested in hiring.
But Giorgio wouldn’t give up. So, after showing up at our office two more times, our then-president said, “OK, Bernardi, I’m going to hire you because you are so persistent!”
It was clear from the start that Giorgio Bernardi was excited about his work as a service technician. He was “like a sponge,” he recalls. “I couldn’t absorb information quickly enough.”
Giorgio was hungry to deepen his knowledge of HVAC, and attended many training classes offered by our vendors. His passion for our industry was felt by residential and commercial customers alike. (When Giorgio started, our service team of 12 handled all customers. Today, we have separate service teams for our commercial and residential divisions.)
One of the reasons Giorgio is so well known by his customers is his approach. “The first thing I do when I am on a job is present myself to the customer,” explains Giorgio. “I’ll ask if the equipment is working ok, whether they have any issues I need to address. I also make sure I talk to my customer after I’ve serviced their equipment, to let them know if I have any concerns.” Take the Highland Park Library, for example, a customer Giorgio has serviced for 34 years. “The director isn’t necessarily interested in the details, but I always want to present her with what I find.”
There are still a few residential customers Giorgio continues to service due to his longtime ties. One homeowner of a large property with four furnaces, for instance, insists that Giorgio visit with her each time he makes a service call. “The Mrs. likes to see me. And she always gives me a bottle of wine from Tuscany. She must know I’m Italian.”
In 2013, Giorgio almost retired. “My knees were killing me,” he recalls. Then he had surgery to replace one knee and felt so good he had surgery to replace his other knee. Now, he says, he can easily go up and down ladders and stairs. “There’s nothing stopping me now. I’ve told them I have no intention of retiring.”