John Helbing, a chemical engineer with a degree from Marquette and a former naval officer, founded Air-Tro in 1969. In 1975, John started a separate service department and began offering scheduled maintenance agreements. In ten years, service grew from two to fifteen employees.
John’s oldest son Tony joined Air-Tro in 1985 after a successful career in office equipment sales in New York City. The younger son, Bob, came aboard in 1987 from the aerospace sector. John retired at the end of 1993 and the sons now own and run the firm.
The Air-Tro facility has been located at the same Monrovia address since 1979. The building is 11,000 sq. ft. and serves as offices, warehouse and a sheet metal shop. Vehicles include 22 service vans, 9 Izusu diesel flatbed trucks for the installers, 6 pickups and two stakebeds. Each field employee carries a belt radio for instant access, and all service calls are dispatched via computer to the radio’s built-in LCD display.
The sheet metal shop uses a computer-controlled plasma torch to speed fabrication of the ductwork. The office staff uses a UNIX microcomputer linked to 10 terminals and 9 PC’s for dispatching, accounting, payroll, lead tracking and scheduling, etc.
Today, Air-Tro, Inc. is a $7 million/year air conditioning contractor with a staff of 64 full-time employees. We have twenty-two service technicians and sixteen equipment installers. Our sales staff includes two degreed engineers (from Caltech and Yale). In addition to Tony and Bob Helbing, the management team includes Donn Capps and Jim Hunter. Donn and Jim between them have over 60 years of experience at Air-Tro and in the air conditioning industry.