We’re kinda big on time around here … so, we’ve got two versions of this here ‘about us’ thing so you can learn a little or learn a lot – depending on where and when you’ve got to be someplace.

About Pass One Hour – The Short Version

About Pass One Hour – The Short Version

You ever heard of some goobedygo called an elevator speech?

Hi, this is Francis Pass – Pass One Hour Heating and Air – and I was at a continuing education thing a couple weeks ago … and some fancy hair got up on stage and started talking about how every business needed an elevator speech – where you could tell someone about your company and its values in two minutes – about the time it takes to ride top to bottom in an elevator.

Two minutes? Alright … here goes. We’re the company that actually does what we say we’re going to do. With sharp-dressed, friendly, drug-tested, background-checked employees with yes sir, yes ma’am values. We’re always on time, or you don’t pay a dime.

That’s it.

If you see ole’ fancy hair, tell him I don’t need two minutes. At Pass One Hour, we don’t like to waste your time. Besides, there’s no real tall elevators around here far as I know. Can you think of one?

About Pass One Hour – The Long Version

My wife, Patricia, and I started the original company – Pass Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning – in the basement of our Herrin home back in September of 1971.

At that time, gas furnaces were replacing old coal furnaces and most people did not have central air conditioning.

With the oil embargo in the mid 70’s natural gas was limited to the residences that already had meters. New home subdivisions were primarily all electrics. Electric furnaces or baseboard heat with central air were the systems installed in these homes. Because of this, equipment manufacturers reintroduced the heat pump which had been available in the early to mid 60’s but had limited success because of the cost of natural gas. There were other problems with heat pumps in those days. Most were related to the installation rather than the equipment. The idea of using a heat pump for home heating was very appealing and was a turning point for our business.

Air conditioning manufacturers were committed to training and the certifications of heat pump dealers. Our company was one of the first to be certified and focused in specializing in heat pump design and installation. During this time we became known for our quality and leadership in the servicing and installation of heat pump systems. The second quarter of 1978 we saw the beginning of high inflation which brought about high interest rates and high unemployment. New construction basically ended.

We redirected our company to focus on service.

The years 1979 through 1981 were a terrible time – yet I credit this period of time as one of the defining moments for our company. It caused us to focus on customer service to a much higher degree than before. We downsized and cut all the operating costs that we could to survive.

Before the economy turned down we had purchased land that is now 208 Rushing Drive in Herrin. We had constructed a storage building and rented individual storage units at this location. We decided to move our business to that location in April of 1982 and had completed the move just before the Memorial Day holiday. On May 27th of that year, we lost almost everything to a tornado that destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses along with ours. We picked up what we could salvage and moved back to our home. It was during this time that Richard Pass, my brother, became a partner in the business. Reconstruction was not complete until March, and we moved back to our current location on April 1st, 1983.

During the '80s we expanded our business to include commercial new construction as well as residential new construction while still trying to grow our service business.

In the fall of 1984, at a business meeting in St. Louis, I met Mike Callahan.

That meeting with Mike changed my business and life forever. Mike helped me change my business philosophy and shaped the way Pass One Hour still does business today.

We began to implement some of the business practices Mike had suggested, and I attribute this to part of our success today.

  • Take care of the customer.
  • Always be the cutting edge of technology.
  • Take care of the customer.
  • Always strive to improve.
  • Take care of the customer.
  • Make no less than 80% of your business proactive.
  • Take care of the customer.

In June of 1994, I met two people: Jim Abrams and John Young who, like Mike Callahan, impressed me with their knowledge of our industry. In September of that year, we joined an organization called C.S.G. (Contractor Success Group) which was owned and operated by Jim and John. From that date, we reorganized the business, dropping all new construction and limiting our commercial service to a select few. Through the marketing ideas we received in C.S.G., we grew our business with a laser-sighted focus on delighting residential customers.

When the opportunity to purchase the One Hour franchise came available, we jumped on it. It was a natural fit with our business philosophy. Today, our focus is our mission statement:

Our clients’ time is our #1 priority.

We are always on time, or you don’t pay a dime.

We fix it right the first time.

We do it with convenience, courteousness, competence, cleanliness, and character.

On October 15th, 2003, Pass One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning became the 33rd company to join the franchise. Today, even though we’re in one of the smallest markets, we routinely grace the national leaderboards for sales, service, and satisfaction.

From our meager beginnings as husband and wife, we worked together to fulfill a dream to create and build a business that will stand the test of time.

I hope you feel – when we’re in your home and after we’ve cleaned up and left – the same way.

It’s our dream for Pass One Hour to last and prosper, provide job security and create career opportunities for men and women of character and their families, and to generate the finest word-of-mouth recommendations of any service company in southern Illinois.

I have to be one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth.

I love what I do.

I work with fine Americans.

I love my country.

And I’m striving to become the greatest grandpa in the world.

And, heck, if you read all this, I hope you’ll imagine me chuckling. It’s hard to believe anyone would be interest in reading about the life we’ve been blessed to live, but I sure enjoyed writing it.

Thanks for sharing in some of the foolish dreams of an old soldier.


Oh, and PS: If you’ve got a question or comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Service To Our Country