Air Assurance a Strong Family Business
By DAVID JONES
Editor at Large
COMPANY LEADERSHIP: Leading Air Assurance is the Rampey family. From left are Narissa Rampey, David Rampey and Mike Rampey.
Twenty seven years ago Mike and Narissa Rampey decided to clean out their two-car garage then, using it as office space, they started a business. It was just the two of them. Mike ran the installation and servicing of air-conditioning equipment, and Narissa set up an office in the garage.
Today Air Assurance, as their business is known, operates out of an 18,000 square foot building in Broken Arrow. What was once handled literally by Ma and Pa now has roughly 60 employees including 14 installers and 20 technicians. They have, says Mike, roughly 10,000 customers. More important, he says, their first customer is not only still with them but has become a valued family friend.
Mike’s road into the air conditioning/heating industry took a winding route. “At the age of 13, I got a job at a hotel near the airport,” he says, “There I learned how to do just about anything they needed. I went to Oklahoma State-Okmulgee for my education, taught for a few years and worked for another heating and cooling company. I got married, had two kids, and in 1985 Narissa and I thought it was time to go out on our own.”
The venture brought changes to the family lifestyle; son David and daughter Kimberly learned to come into the house quietly from school because Mommy might be on the phone working on a business deal. David, particularly, found his parent’s business venture to be potentially profitable. “David, at the age of nine, fell in love with a bicycle which at the time cost well over $300,” recalls Mike. “That summer I hired him at $1 an hour to go with me and help me on my route. Every once in awhile his enthusiasm would wane, and I would take him over to the bicycle shop and show him what he was working for. At the end of the summer he’d earned his bike.” (David is now an executive with the company, earning considerably more than $1 an hour.)
The new business venture had unexpected benefits. “One day Narissa got a call from a guy who needed a part. Said his name was Warren Spahn. I said ‘THE Warren Spahn?’ The name didn’t mean anything to her.
“David was in school and I got him out early and when Spahn came by to get his part, we were ready pencil in hand to get an autograph. He had a briefcase. When David said he played Little League baseball, Spahn dropped his briefcase and told David to take a batting stance. There was David getting batting tips from a Hall of Fame player. You never know in this business.”
Not all of Air Assurance’s customers carry the pedigree of Spahn, but Mike says he and Narissa try to treat them all as well. “I make sure that I carry out everything I promise. Once our supplier didn’t ship us a vital part and I had promised to get it working for the customer that day. I had to fly to Dallas, rent a truck, pick up the machine, drive it back to Tulsa and install it but I kept my word. That’s important to me.”
The Rampeys keep up with technology. Every truck has a computer and when a new piece of equipment is installed for a customer it goes into the database. Each truck has a system so they can direct their technicians to customers in need. The business has changed a lot since those days of operating out of a two-car garage, but the Rampeys are on the cutting edge. They plan to keep it that way.