This employee highlight is Miles Davis, “Gumby” who is coming up on 12 years with O’Connor. Miles has worked hard to advance within O’Connor from starting in the warehouse, to counter sales lead to now being promoted to Territory Manager at the Lee’s Summit branch.
“Miles is one of the hardest working individuals that I’ve ever met. He always puts the customer first and no matter how difficult, he treats everyone with the upmost respect and integrity. He always has a smile on his face and is a great person to work with. He is always willing to help you out and teach you new things no matter how stupid you feel the question might be and lord knows I’ve asked a few. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be able to work with someone like Miles.” Brandon Sample, Operations Manager – O’Connor Lee’s Summit
Miles enjoys spending time with his friends, family, and of course his new wife, Meaghan. Miles was recently married in October of 2020 and they are currently remodeling their new house. They have 3 Dogs (Harley, Morgan & Payton) and 3 Horses (Poco, Chance & Shaddai).
His hobbies include going to the lake, fishing, going horseback riding, & hunting, hanging out on his pontoon boat, riding his motorcycle, or going to the dunes with his 4-wheeler.
He is a current member of the Redneck Yacht club at Ozarks with this pontoon boat. And an interesting story about Miles is that he went to Tijuana, Mexico as part of a mission trip and built a house for an outreach program in 7 days! What an experience!
Miles said “O’Connor has become my home away from home and a great place to work. Best of all they have provided the opportunity to advance from within.”
Miles recently graduated from Trane’s LEAP program. Instead of the program being 5 weeks long, Mile’s was only able to travel for 2 weeks before COVID hit causing the remainder of the program to be virtual. From Feb of 2020 to Oct of 2020 Miles worked the counter as Counter Lead as well as completed all the work for the LEAP program. These could consist of 2-4 hour per day zoom meetings that he had to sit in on. He was able to successfully complete this along with keep up with his normal tasks. All during a record year with the pandemic.
Let’s congratulate Miles on his accomplishments at O’Connor!
Previous Employee Highlights
This month’s Employee Spotlight is Dennae McGuire. Dennae is part of the Sales Support team and is the Marketing and Sales Specialist for Omaha and Urbandale locations.
Dennae started her O’Connor career four and a half years ago. Her first position was inside counter sales in Omaha. Next, she moved out to the warehouse in a leadership position. Then took on her current role in 2019.
Dennae was excited to take on her role in sales support. “In this role you have deadlines and schedules, which I love, but I have the freedom to create my own processes.” When Dennae is not working she loves to attend concerts. Some of her favorite concerts are Staind and Sevendust and a meet and greet with Aaron Lewis a couple of year ago. She has also seen Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone and Alice in Chains. Dennae loves making unique crafts out of wood pallets, sewing and cooking. Dennae is married to her husband Phil and has three children. Courtney (24), Sebastian (20), and Lilly (15). And has three boxers, who are also her babies, Reagan, Tyson, and Harper. Harper is the newest edition and is 5 months old. Dennae enjoys working with her co-workers. “I know right now we can’t hang out much in the office, but I do feel we are a family.”
“I have been working with Dennae since she took on the sales support role. I enjoy interacting with her daily and taking the bull by the horns in her role. She is always up for a new challenge and ready for anything!” Dee Dee Baron, Marketing.
When asked why she likes working at O’Connor she said, “I am proud to work for a company that allows females to excel. We get to be part of moving O’Connor forward in the industry.”
This month’s Employee Spotlight is Jim Tramposh. Jim is a Corporate Buyer and has been part of Team O’Connor for 21 years. His enthusiasm and spirit of all things O’Connor shines through in all he does.
Jim started his HVAC career back in 1968. He worked in the warehouse of his father’s company, Refrigeration Equipment Company (RECO). His father started RECO in Kansas City, Missouri in 1939 and was one of the first of its type in the area. Jim has been around the HVAC industry his whole life.
“In 1939, my Dad started Refrigeration Equipment Co. (RECO), one of the first wholesale refrigeration heating and cooling parts and equipment supply stores in Kansas City, MO. When my four brothers, one sister and I were very young we would go down to my dad’s store on Saturdays and occasionally help stock shelves. In August of 1968, I started working after school and Saturdays in the warehouse. After graduating from high school, I started working full time in the warehouse, eventually moving to counter sales. As a family, we all worked there at one time or another.”
Jim started working at O’Connor Company February 1999. He worked at the old North Kansas City location on the inside sales counter. He eventually moved into the purchasing department ten years ago. Jim was also an instructor at Johnson County Community College teaching HVAC Basics for a short time.
“I first met Jim when I came to work for O’Connor, at that time he was working in customer service. I have never heard him complain about anything or anyone. It didn’t matter if it was those day when we were so busy that he didn’t even take time for lunch, or the evening he would stay late to return customers phone calls, he always had a smile. He is the kind of a person that would do anything for you, but watch out once he gets to know you he loves to play pranks on you. One Halloween he walked into my office ask to borrow something, so I said sure, I went to open my desk drawer and screamed like no other. There laid a bloody fake hand, and Jim was just laughing so hard at me.” Sharon Bishop
Jim enjoys spending time with his wife, of 45 years, Vicki. They have three children and he loves being a grandpa to five grandchildren. Jim also has a passion for classic cars, especially his two 1961 Corvettes. He has entered and won many car shows the over the years. Jim was also a private pilot at one time.
“Jim Tramposh is a company man, a family man and a great man. I have not only had the pleasure to work alongside Jim at O’Connor company but also alongside him on cars in various garages. He is always willing to lend a hand, a tool and his wisdom. I’m proud to call Jim a teammate and friend.” Greg Borr.
Our May employee spotlight is Miguel Baeza. Miguel is part of the inside sales team at the Wichita branch and has been serving our customers for six years behind the counter.
Before Miguel moved to Wichita in 2008, he worked in various HVAC positions in Southwestern Kansas. He has always worked with Trane equipment, so he had a love for O’Connor Company even before he started working here.
“I always wanted to work at O’Connor. Working with Trane equipment I had a relationship with O’Connor. I loved how family oriented and easy they were to order from. I knew one day I would work for this company.” Miguel said.
In 2008 after Miguel settled in Wichita, he went back to school at WATC and graduated in 2010 with an Associate degree in Auto Cad. He also received his master’s mechanical license. “I went back to school because I was tired of working in crawl spaces and attics. I wanted to work smarter, not harder.”
Miguel enjoys coming to work every day and helping our dealers. “Miguel is very passionate about serving our customers, he will bend over backwards to take care of dealers.” Phil Leiker, Customer Service Manager – Wichita.
“Miguel’s enthusiasm for work is only matched by his enthusiasm for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Wichita State Shockers. Miguel’s desire to help our dealers and his ability to take good care of them is one of the main reasons they call and ask for him by name. Miguel is a hard worker and an asset to the team.” Wendell Miller, Branch Manager – Wichita.
When Miguel is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jocelyn, and four children: Aly, Blair, Xavier, and Brynlee Belle. He loves taking his Jeep off roading and racing his RC cars.
Miguel excels in customer service and his loyalty to O’Connor Company is just one of many reasons O’Connor is the best distributor in the Midwest!
If you don’t know American Standard, you don’t know Dick McKinley.
Dick started at O’Connor Company on April 19, 1993. He began on the counter and it didn’t take long for him to become the counter lead and parts specialist at the Lenexa location. He even played a dual role as we worked for both O’Connor Company and J.M. O’Connor at the same time.
In 1997 O’Connor partnered with American Standard, leaving a vacancy for a Territory Manager in the Kansas City area. Dick was approached about the opportunity to move from the parts side to Territory Manager for this new brand. Dick wasn’t sure he wanted to take on such a big role.
“I was nervous about taking the position because we were starting from scratch with this brand. So, what I did was work home shows as American Standard to get leads. I would then take the leads I received at the home shows and would walk into a dealership selling a competitive brand. Hand them the leads, sell them American Standard, and start building those dealer relationships,” said Dick.
Before Dick joined O’Connor, he worked in accounts payable for a company, referencing himself as a “Desk Junkie”. He was really looking for something more than sitting at a desk from 8 p.m. – 5 p.m. every day. So that is when a friend approached him about working for his dad’s HVAC company. He fell in love with the trade.
“I really liked working in the HVAC field. And what is funny is when I worked at the dealership, I worked on American Standard equipment. Things kind of came full-circle.”
The 27 years Dick has worked for O’Connor he has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy to grow the American Standard brand. His territory, at one time, was spread out from KC metro to SE Kansas to Syracuse, MO and up north of Topeka.
“Dick McKinley has been a great person to work with. He’s always willing to help anyone. You can say Dick eats and breathes American Standard and has a loyalty to his Dealers and O’Connor. Over the years Dick developed a name recognition for American Standard through his dedication, integrity and knowledge of the products. Dick’s wonderful sense of humor, his way of resolving issues and willingness to go the extra mile is his trademark. Dick will be missed by all when the day comes that he decides to retire. Thank you for being my friend.” Steve Coburn, Lee’s Summit.
“Dick has been “Mr. American Standard” since taking the role of TM a “few” years ago. He started from scratch and built the largest American Standard territory in the Midwest through his unwavering commitment to his dealers. On any given day Dick might be towing a trailer to deliver a commercial unit, working a booth at a Mavericks Hockey game to drive leads, or making a joint call with a dealer on a builder. No two days are ever the same, but the constant commitment never changes. As Dick moves ever closer to his retirement, I want to thank him for his commitment, his friendship and for helping shape the O’Connor culture in such a positive fashion over the years.” Greg Borr.
If you are looking for great customer service, we have a guy, literally. Guy Landrum works in the warehouse of the Oklahoma City branch. He is entertaining, humble and has a heart as big as the warehouse itself. When we purchased the Oklahoma City branch in July 2019, we knew we had something special. What makes the Oklahoma City addition such a joy is the wonderful people within it. So please enjoy getting to know a little bit about Guy in this month’s employee spotlight.
Guy has been working in the warehouse with Hunton and now O’Connor since 2005. Before Guy started working in the warehouse, he worked for a third-party trucking company that would deliver equipment to the branch. He was such a great help that he was recruited to bring his excitement for life and great customer service to the Oklahoma City team.
When you meet Guy, you can feel the positivity beaming off him. He was in the Marines from 1990-1994 and got to spend a year in Okinawa, Japan. He absolutely loved it. Guy will tell you his favorite part of being a Marine was the brotherhood and camaraderie and that mindset still holds true with him today. Dani Plemons, Inside Sales, thinks Guy is one of a kind. “Guy is always willing to do whatever is asked of him. You can always count on Guy!”
Guy is a family man. He adores his wife, Sherry, of 21 years. He has a daughter, Sarah, who will be graduating high school this spring. Oh, and we can’t forget his black rescue cat, JJ. One thing they like to do as a family is try out new restaurants and events throughout the city. Guy has also been a world traveler going to Israel, Greece and Paris. It’s always great to have a “Guy”!
If you have worked at O’Connor for any length of time, you know the name, Debi Turnbull. She is a petite firecracker with the sharpest fashion sense, a bubbly personality, and loyalty to O’Connor that stands the test of time. She has been a household staple within our company for almost 40 years.
Debi started working at O’Connor on August 10, 1980. Her journey to employment at O’Connor is one of self-determination. Debi was a stay at home mom who was looking for something to occupy her time during the day once her two kids, Barry and Shelly, were in school full-time. “I just wanted to talk to someone over three feet tall,” Debi said as she talked about joining the workforce. “Until this point, I had never worked in my life, but I knew my work ethic was good.”
She decided to teach herself to type and ten-key by renting a typewriter and ten-key machine from a local shop in Wichita. She spent many hours practicing at her kitchen table. “Back in those days to find a job, you would contact an employment agency. I contacted Business Services, and they tested me on my typing and ten-key, and because I practiced and practiced, my test scores were off the charts.”
Debi had eight interviews and got an offer from every single one. “When Business Services called me and told me I got all eight jobs, and I could pick anyone I wanted, I decided to go with O’Connor Company because it was closest to my house.”
When she started at O’Connor, she was a secretary/receptionist. Debi has done everything from office manager to writing P21 procedures. There even was a time, Lynn Piller offered her a TM position, which she declined. Debi would also travel to the branches to count inventory. Now she is our Corporate Pricing Administrator.
“Debi Turnbull defines what it is to be a part of “Team O’Connor.” During her 39 years with the company, she has worked in 3 offices, held numerous roles, and has always been there with a smile on her face and hug to share no matter how daunting the tasks in front of her may have been.” Greg Borr.
Debi worked at our Wichita location until our corporate headquarters moved to the Kansas City area in the early 1990s. She has seen a lot of changes at O’Connor throughout the years, but one that sticks out to her is when we got our first fax machine. “I remember when we got our first fax machine. I was blown away by how information could be transmitted from one location to another like that.
Our very first fax was from Bob Piller’s son, Tom, telling us his son was born. Tom was in California!”
“I have known Debi ever since she started working at O’Connor. She is the hardest working, most conscientious person I have ever met. Debi’s dedication to O’Connor is unmatched. She has been a good friend of mine over the years. As she gets ready to retire, her cheerful disposition and wonderful smile will be missed. I (we) will miss her!” Wendell Miller.
Our culture is a big part of who we are as O’Connor Company, and many pieces of our values have been shaped by Debi’s positive attitude, kind heart, and passion for our company throughout the years.
Debi is a one of a kind employee. She is a team player, professional, completes any task given with great enthusiasm. She is a force at the office with her positive attitude and willingness to learn anything she can to improve O’Connor.” Jennie Bryan.
As Debi transitions from full time employment with O’Connor to a consulting role for us in 2020 and ultimately retirement late next year when asked what she is most excited to do, her reply is classic. “I can’t wait to go to the grocery store at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.”
A note from Lynn Piller
I first met Debi in August of 1980 when she was hired to be the receptionist for O’Connor Company in Wichita. We were in the open part of the office and I sat right behind her, so we were able to get to know one another early on.
I have always been struck by how much Debi cares about the company and the contributions everyone makes. She truly gives a damn. She began to work on the computer system early on when there was only one computer for the whole company. She has a passion for accuracy and is so fast it makes your head spin. After we acquired a computer system everyone in the company could use, she soon became the go-to person for the whole company for computer questions and procedures. She was the anchor holding things together administratively as the company grew.
Debi is a warm, caring person and folks recognized that and thrived on it. She always had a good word and a hug for customers. She cares about all those she works with, and that enriches work life for all who are around her.
t has been a real pleasure to work with her for almost 40 years, and we are all better for having known her.
Debi thank you for being a key part of Team O’Connor. We look forward to celebrating your 40th year with us, our 100th year in business and your full retirement later next year!
There are a lot of things within O’Connor Company that make us unique and one of the special things is the long tradition of dedication from our employees. These days it is rare to have employees that stay with one company for decades and O’Connor is proud to have several. In this edition of the O’Connor Company Employee Spotlight, we highlight one of those employees, Wendell Miller.
You may not have had the pleasure of meeting Wendell personally, but odds are you have been affected by him at some compacity. Wendell started at O’Connor Wichita in 1977 while he was still in college at Wichita State University. While looking for a summer job he saw a posting on the student center bulletin board for warehouse/warranty work at O’Connor Company. He figured it would just be a summer job to get him through until the next semester started, but 42 years later he is still here.
Wendell transitioned from working in the warehouse to the customer service counter in the 1980s. He eventually got promoted to branch manager in the 1990s. It goes without saying that Wendell has worn just about every hat possible at O’Connor Company.
Wendell has worked with so many people and one of the joys Wendell has had all these years is meeting and working with fun and dedicated employees. Debi Turnbull, Corporate Pricing Manager, has worked with Wendell for 40 years and she recalls how important Wendell has been to O’Connor. “Wendell is that rare individual who has his priorities intact. He’s fair, honest, and dependable.” Debi goes on to add, “He is not a diamond in the rough, he is the diamond. Valuable, brilliant and bright. The real deal!”
Wendell has seen many changes throughout his time here at O’Connor both professionally and personally. In his family life, he met and married his wife, Dana, his daughter Sarah was born and now Wendell is a grandfather to James pictured here. Wendell is also excited to share that he has another grandchild on the way and looks forward to spoiling both. On the work side, Wendell went through the transition switching brands from Bryant to Trane in 1988, remembers when all of our data was stored on the WANG computer with these big plates that housed vital information, and when the Wichita branch moved from their office on Bayley street to its current location.
Lisette Stover, Warranty Administrator in Wichita has worked with Wendell for almost 27 years. “Wendell has been the best boss to work with all these years. He’s the most considerate, thoughtful and knowledgeable team player I know. He has always wanted O’Connor Company to be on top in the industry and strives to make it the best it can be by going above and beyond to achieve this goal.”
What makes Wendell such a great man is his love and compassion for his employees. “Wendell is a loyal, hard worker, good decision maker, and even-keeled,” says Bruce Bishop, Commercial Sales Wichita. Bruce and Wendell have worked together for 35 years. “He rarely complains, never gossips and is tolerant and understanding of employee’s issues whether personal or work related. I’ve been very lucky to work with Wendell for many years.”
When Wendell is not making things happen in the office he enjoys traveling with his family and watching sports. He also volunteers at Eastminster Presbyterian Church and he and Dana have opened their home and hosted seven different foreign exchange students in past years.
Wendell is a perfect example of loyalty and leadership. He eats, sleeps and breathes O’Connor. From managing and taking care of employees to loving on his grandson and family, people like Wendell are hard to find, and we are so thankful to have him on Team O’Connor. Maybe we can convince him to stay around another 40 years?
Everywhere Tina Meyer goes, she finds family. It starts at home, with her husband, Frank, two cats, and her dog, Chewie.
At her job, there is a family. Her volunteer work involves a family.
“Family is important,” Meyer said recently by phone. “If we don’t have family, what do we have?”
Her work family is the great workforce of O’Connor Company with her team in its Urbandale branch.
Meyer is the counter sales team lead, a position to which she was recently promoted. Originally from the San Francisco area, Meyer has been at O’Connor for just under four years, and she said it’s the best job she’s ever had.
“O’Connor is amazing to work for,” she said. “They care first and foremost about their employees and their customers. If you have a concern, it’s an open door here.
“It’s family oriented. They have employees who have been there for a really long time for a reason.”
When she started at O’Connor, she said she answered the phone and took parts orders. Now her job entails, among other things, warranty work, answering customers’ questions and handling their concerns. Recently, that required her to go the extra mile.
It was her turn one evening to be on-call to take after-hours customer service calls. She answered a call at about 10:30 p.m., shortly after going to bed. A customer needed to buy a part, so she went to the office to take care of that person.
There is another family for Meyer away from work. She volunteers with Adult & Teen Challenge of the Midlands, which helps people with life-controlling issues such as addiction. Meyer has served in the ministry since about 2012 and last year was presented the first Myron Towers Volunteer of the Year award.
“Teen Challenge is a huge part of my life,” she said. “I’ve had a hard life, and a lot of the students have a hard life. I know the change that God has made in me, and if God can do what he’s done in me he can do it in them.
“Teen Challenge is an amazing life-changing program. We started building relationships with the students – my husband Frank and I – and it’s hard to not want to be a part of what God is doing.
“Some of the best relationships I have are with students who a year ago we didn’t know and past students who are now on staff. They become family. You don’t have to be blood to be family.”
In her spare time, Meyer enjoys beekeeping, which she’s been doing for three years. She keeps her hives at a friend’s house.
“I’ve always been fascinated with honey bees, and once you start doing it, it becomes addictive,” said Meyer, who this year will be the historian for the Iowa Honey Producers Association.
Team player. Those are the words that describe our July Employee Spotlight, Stuart York. Stuart is the Operations Manager in the Tulsa branch. He has been a part of the O’Connor family for over 41 I/2 years.
On his birthday in 1977, Stuart started in the warehouse after being recruited from another distributor. It wasn’t long before Stuart added to his job duties. Over the years, he has done purchasing, calculated loads and layouts, IT backup, janitor, and the after hours call operator.
Stuart has always taken pride in his work, a good lesson learned from O’Connor’s former President, Bob Piller. “When Bob would come to the branch, he was very particular about the way things looked. When he would see me, he would run his finger along the top of a framed picture to see if there was dust on it. Then he would look at me and wink.”
Stuart grew up on the North side of Tulsa and started working at a young age. When he was a junior in high school, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life, so a decision was made that HVAC was the way to go. Before HVAC school in the mornings, Stuart would cram for tests and do his homework on the back of the school bus. The evenings were spent working as a janitor in a high-rise building in downtown Tulsa.
Darrell Robison, Director of Sales and Operations Southern Region, knows just how valuable Stuart is to O’Connor. “Stuart has always been an integral part of the branch. His organization, attention to detail, and loyalty to both our customers and our company are his greatest attributes. He has become my most valuable right-hand man on branch matters and our relationship has become a friendship. We and our customers are lucky to have him as part of our team.
Stuart has seen many significant changes over the course of his career, none bigger than O’Connor switching to Trane. “Before we took on the Trane line, all our parts and accessories came from one place. The game changed, and we had to bring in different vendor reps, and I was heavily involved in that transition.”
Stuart has been in the innovator of many programs at O’Connor. The parts preseason program he created in Tulsa was a such a success in Tulsa that he was invited to the corporate offices for a week to help put together the program for all the branches. Stuart has also been heavily involved with Tulsa’s open house and has organized bass fishing and golf tournaments that increased sales and created a fun experience for dealers.
“Stuart and I have worked together for seven years. He has always shown dedication, loyalty and takes his job seriously and with pride. He has worked hard and strives to help the Tulsa branch and its priorities. He works closely with the purchasing department taking the initiative to following up on the latest information. His work ethic speaks for itself.” Gina Brehm, Corporate Buyer/Purchasing Manager.
When Stuart is not working at O’Connor, he is enjoying time at his lake house with his wife of 30 years, Charlene. He has three adult children, Stuart Ray, Christina, and Marcus. Stuart is very proud of his five grandkids and plans on spending more time with them when he retires as he loves to be around his friends and family. Stuart also brews beer, makes wine, golfs, and loves to fish.
Fifteen years ago, when Stuart’s daughter was still in college and still trying to figure out a career path, she asked her him a question. “Dad, you must be ready for change and face new challenges, why have you been at O’Connor for so long?” Stuart replied, “I have had different responsibilities with constant change at O’Connor. Every day is a new adventure, and there are no two days the same.” Stuart’s dedication is undeniable. He has given four decades of service to the O’Connor Company and always willing to help others. We are thankful for Stuart’s hard work ethic and joyous spirit.”