Carrier presented its annual Dealer Hall of Fame and President’s Awards at the 2013 Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer conference in Las Vegas, March 21-23.

The Dealer Hall of Fame Award is presented annually to select industry-leading contractors. Nominees must be a Factory Authorized Dealer (FAD) and have a minimum 20 years association with Carrier as their primary brand. This year’s recipients are Tom Hawkins of Hawkins Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Abilene, Texas; Kenny Long of Long’s Air Conditioning, Inc., Avon Park, Fla.; and the late Bob Bell of Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, Des Moines, Iowa.

“The Carrier Dealer Hall of Fame was created to honor dealers who demonstrate enthusiasm, loyalty and courage in their work and who embody the same leadership philosophy as Willis Carrier, the founder of our company and the inventor of modern air conditioning,” says Chris Nelson, president, residential and commercial systems, Carrier. “These three gentlemen have exemplified compassion and commitment to their employees, communities, customers and Carrier. It is our honor to provide them with this recognition.”

Although thousands of dealers across the country sell Carrier brand products, fewer than 1,500 qualify as FADs, with the following three inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

Tom Hawkins – Hawkins Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Abilene, TX
Tom Hawkins got his start in the heating and cooling industry while pursuing his Business and Marketing degree at Western Michigan University and working part-time as a technician at a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) firm. Upon graduation, he married his wife, Dianne, and accepted a position as zone manager with Carrier Bock, the Carrier distributor in north Texas. Nine years later, in 1976, Hawkins opened Hawkins Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Inc.

For more than 37 years, Hawkins Air Conditioning & Refrigeration has been a Carrier dealer and a FAD since the program’s inception in 2003. The couple has won numerous sales awards from Carrier and has been an active proponent of continuing education through Carrier University. In the mid-1990s, Hawkins helped form the Abilene chapter of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), where he has served as president at the state level, and on the Board of Directors at the national level for more than seven years.

Hawkins’ daughter, Lea Ann, is an office manager and bookkeeper at Hawkins Air Condition & Refrigeration. Currently she and her husband, Andrew, are being groomed to take over the business when Tom retires.

Kenny Long – Long’s Air Conditioning, Inc., Avon Park, FL
Kenny Long’s history with the HVAC industry began in 1960, when he joined the Marine Corps. As a Marine, Long completed courses in accounting, bookkeeping, air conditioning, refrigeration and electrical work.

In 1964, Long purchased half of his father’s business and he and his wife, Freda, started selling residential and commercial central air conditioning systems in central Florida. In 1973, he purchased the remaining half of the company and renamed it Long’s Air Conditioning, Inc. In 1974, Long’s Air Conditioning became an official Carrier dealership when Jim VanLandingham, owner of Carrier Florida, offered Long an exclusive territory in Highlands and Hardee counties. This partnership resulted in Long becoming the largest dealer in the Ridge Area of central Florida, a title he still holds today.

Long’s has also received the Business of the Year Award and the Citizen of the Year Award from the Avon Park Chamber of Commerce.

Bob Bell - Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, Des Moines, Iowa
In 1955, when Bob Bell and his brother started Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, they chose Carrier as the major brand to represent.

Bell passed away on March 28, 2011, leaving behind his wife Anita, two children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Until his death, he maintained his office and stayed close to his customers and 45 employees. Bob’s son, Grant, now carries on his legacy at Bell Brothers.

Bell was a well-respected member of the HVAC community and constantly gave back to the industry. He organized his fellow contractors to start the Greater Des Moines Heating and Cooling Association, where he was not only a founding member but also served as president.

Bell served in the military as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, as well as impacted the Des Moines community, served on numerous committees including the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines and the Iowa Natural Gas Association. He was also a member and board member of the Better Business Bureau, the Highland Park Business Association and was active on committees to aid in developing energy efficiency programs.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, Carrier also presented 154 active dealers with its President’s Award, an honor presented annually to Carrier dealers who exemplify the company’s model for operational excellence, business effectiveness and delivering the best in cutting-edge technology to consumers.

“The President’s Award is designed to encourage and recognize dealers who have continually focused on customer satisfaction,” Nelson says. “This year’s winners provided superior customer satisfaction while delivering exceptional customer value and successfully representing the Carrier brand in their communities.”