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  • Steven Fletcher

We Need More Willie's

Last week, our 86-year-old HVAC technician did his final annual maintenance inspection at one of our properties.

Willie is from Southern Louisiana and lived outside of New Orleans all his life.

He’s an avid hunter, fisher, and seems to know every detail about New Orleans street signs/roads/historic renovations/plants/and countless more.

Willie taught me about the 2 muscadine grape vines at our property (we assumed they were poison), took me on a tour under one of our apartment complexes to discover bottles from the early 20th century, drove me to his hometown to have lunch, and even offered to make jams with berries we had at another property.

Willie is a master HVAC technician and built a great business for his family over the last 50+ years.

He’s a one man show and will occasionally bring his nephew (who’s being trained to take over) to each job.

At 86, Willie is ripping ladders off his truck, climbing into tiny attics, and zipping between supply houses each day.

Most importantly, he’s the type of person that makes this field enjoyable.

Trustworthy, always on time, generous, and constantly insulting somebody from the New Orleans city government.

Willie types seem to be a dying breed in our markets.

Nowadays, most HVAC companies in the area are operating with fleets of trucks, call centers, big rebate programs, and more.

He just kept his head down and naturally developed a network, where he’d source a continual pipeline of jobs off referrals alone.

Willie’s been through a lot- his house burned down, lost his wife, and had all his tools stolen multiple times over the years.

Yet, he kept coming back and doing the work he said he would.

We negotiate nearly bid we receive but don’t haggle with Willie- his prices are extremely competitive but that’s not his edge.

Willie excels at the details.

He’ll spend 5 hours in the attic triple checking each connection to ensure he doesn’t have to return anytime soon.

He’ll drive an extra 10 miles to source the best materials and never cuts a corner.

If we ever need him on site, he’s one call away.

I’ve been lucky to develop a friendship with Willie over the last 3 years and to get a glimpse into how he views the world.

A tough, driven guy who is confident in his ability to provide value….and that’s exactly what he did over the last 5 decades.

A bittersweet ending with our friend but can confirm we look forward to working with his nephew and seeing all the knowledge he passed down.

Working with good and interesting people is what makes the day to day of real estate exciting for us.

There’s a ton of characters across the country doing different jobs, but each has a unique story to tell.

We’re grateful to have been a small part of Willie’s journey in New Orleans.

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