Triad Cooling & Heating

by Tonya Dixon | May 10th, 2014
Donald Gladney and the Triad Cooling & Heating Team

Donald Gladney and the Triad Cooling & Heating Team
(Photo by Howard Gaither)

Seventeen years ago, Donald Gladney had a fairly cushiony job with all the flexibility he wanted. The money was decent, but eventually job security became an issue. Gladney says he received a vision from God and was assured that he had the necessary skill and certainly the faith to start his own business. He says the Lord showed him that he would be successful as long as he put the Lord first; which is what he has done. He is the proud owner and operator of Triad Cooling and Heating, a residential and light commercial HVAC installation, repair and service company.

He started the business part-time, while working as a full-time painter for two car dealerships. Known as somewhat of a jack of all trades, he can do basically anything he puts his mind to doing. From plumbing and carpentry to automotive repair, he is gifted with his hands. Gladney has a background and diploma in industrial maintenance and a diploma in auto mechanics. Additionally, he has worked with a brick cleaning business and carpenter for several years, and also has worked as a paint and body technician for 21 years at a auto body shop dealership. As if that wasn’t enough, Gladney also is experienced with operating a high pressure steam genie. Nevertheless, he was always fixing and toying with different heating and cooling systems and discovered he had knack for it as well. “My dad had an old steam genie. It’s like an oil furnace on wheels,” he says. “I kept it going by repairing it and tinkering with it. That’s pretty much how I got started.”

Gladney spent more time and effort honing his craft and ability. He began servicing a few units and decided he wanted to do more. He studied, took the required tests and became a licensed North Carolina HVAC contractor. He has been servicing Greensboro and surrounding areas for nearly 18 years.

Triad Cooling and Heating is more than just a business or money-making machine for Gladney. Although it is his livelihood and he is in business to make a profit, he also views it as a means to meet the needs of the community. When he first started out back in the 1970s, and even until today, he says all he wants is to be able to help people; really help people. There was a time, he notes, when there weren’t many qualified HVAC servicemen, and people were easily taken advantage of. He simply wants to get paid for an honest day’s work, be fair and treat people fairly.

Consequently, Gladney and his company have developed a reputation for honesty and fairness. He is known to go out of his way for clients. His wife and office administrator, Ella Gladney, is proud of the work her husband does, the growing business and the excellent reputation that follows the Triad Cooling and Heating name. Both Gladney’s tell stories of customers that are so loyal that they would rather wait for service availability with Gladney (if the company is completely booked) rather than call another company.

Although the company is well established and maintains a consistent client base, life as a business owner hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Gladney recalls the stress and losses he endured a few years ago when the housing and construction industry collapsed. Many companies went out of business or left town without fulfilling outstanding debts. The company was often on the receiving end of those bad business practices. Even though those were discouraging times, he persevered because he was confident he could recover. Gladney says it’s not work for the faint of heart. “You will have long hours (especially in the beginning) and always be on call,” he says. Additionally, he notes that the working conditions can be very trying; from spiders and snakes under houses to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Triad Cooling and Heating has grown beyond Gladney’s expectations. He’s no longer the sole serviceman. Growth has afforded him the opportunity to hire additional employees to handle the workload. In addition, his three sons, Donald Jr., Sherrod and Ryan are a big help as well. It’s Gladney desire to retire early and pass the business down to his sons and grandchildren. For right now Gladney is content making sure he does his part providing exceptional service and using fair business practices. He’s in the business of quality and service. In fact, quality and service is what Triad Cooling and Heating has stood upon for many years; and will continue to for years to come.

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