Hart-Hammer Inc. was started by Patrick Hart (current President and CEO) as Hart Division of Schwab-Vollhaber, Inc. in December 1967. Pat is a 1956 Engineering Graduate of ISU and a former Trane salesman from the Omaha area.
In late 1968 Pat sold 36 McQuay air handling units for the Coliseum at Iowa State University. This required 36 Cambridge-type filters. Not having Cambridge, Pat approached the Cambridge representative, Curtis Hammer at the Ray Goodwin Co. Through these discussions, Pat purchased the filters from Curt. Later that year Pat approached Curt with the option of becoming a 50/50 partner with the Hart Division of Schwab-Vollhaber, Inc.
The Hart-Hammer Division grew – hiring Curt’s former secretary, Toni Nesbit as the new secretary (now our CFO). The Cambridge line was acquired as was Carnes Company within a year. Similar lines were handled by the parent company, Schwab-Vollhaber, Inc., in Minneapolis.
Denny Leuwerke was added in 1973 as an inside takeoff person (now a salesman); Toni did takeoffs, quotes, submittals and ordering and we expanded. By about 1976-78, Hart-Hammer Division had become one of the top three sales forces in Iowa in the heating and air conditioning business.
Denny Hubert, our present service manager and Owner of H-H, Inc. of Iowa, came on board in about 1974 and we started an in-house, one man service department to do warranty service & factory start-ups. Service gave sales (at that time just Curt and Pat) more time to sell. Dean Grant joined Hart-Hammer in 1977. Marty Raper came on board in 1978.
In 1979 Pat and Curt built a building with 4,000 sq. ft. and moved into 913 – 9th St., West Des Moines. The Hart-Hammer office was 2,000 sq. ft. Our service department added Rick Hayes. Overall, considering all of our lines, we were about number 2 in the Iowa territory.
In 1982 Curt Hammer found out that he had cancer. Charles Schwab of Schwab Vollhaber died that year of cancer. Curt continued to work at full strength understanding that his cancer was in remission.
Late in 1984 Pat and Curt realized that to grow they needed to separate from the Minneapolis office. On February 15, 1985 a separation was accomplished.
In 1985 a decision was made to hire Al Jorgensen, an ex-Trane salesman. Al had 5 years selling experience in Minneapolis and originally came from Iowa. We had acquired the Quad city area in about 1984 for most of our lines. Al started selling these lines in eastern Iowa and the western tier of counties in Illinois.
Renee Happel started in 1986 to do take-offs and quotes and Toni did more administrative and financial tasks.
George Boothe joined us in 1987. George had headed the local Carrier office. This move was successful in increasing sales and customer contact. In late 1987 we hired Lyle Slagle, a very seasoned engineer from General Growth who had the benefit of being a past sheet metal contractor, Carrier salesman and consulting engineer. We now had the best sales force, by far, in Iowa.
Unfortunately, Curt passed away in August 1987. Curt was Iowa’s foremost expert in air devices and air distribution. Fortunately for Hart-Hammer, Curt’s son, Jeff, joined us back in 1984 and is now one of the best in this field.
In Feb. 1988 Pat Hart and Dennis Hubert separated the service department into a separate company, known as H-H Incorporated of Iowa.
Terri McMurray, who had assisted Toni for several years in the early 1980’s, returned in 1988 full-time. By 1989, we had 10-12 employees.
Early in 1989 Carnes was dropped for Titus and Cambridge for American Air Filter, both bigger manufacturers and both gave us the added Quad City territory and more markets. McQuay and Titus were two of our major lines at the time.
Sherry Wohlers started in 1994 by giving Al a hand in the Quad Cities office.
1998 saw the addition of Kevin Hart to the sales team in West Des Moines.
In 2002, Jason Slagle started in the Des Moines office while completing his Engineering degree in Iowa City. Jason graduated in the spring of 2006 with a BS in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Psychology.
Jon Breese joined Hart Hammer in 2004 and works some lines in Nebraska.
Andy Sirois started giving Al and Sherry a hand in the Quad Cities office in 2004.
In 2005, Jason Kems joined the West Des Moines office as a sales engineer. Jason’s 9+ years of consulting engineer background added a great deal of engineering knowledge to the sales force.
Shelly Moyle is our most recent addition. Shelly helps with the Air Distribution team taking off jobs, writing quotes and answering questions.
In the summer of 2008, Denny Leuwerke decided to call it done. He retired after being with Hart Hammer for over 35-years.