It was August in Chicago when 18-year-old Jason Parkis, on his first day on the job in heating and air conditioning, found himself in the attic of a 100-year-old farmhouse during one of the hottest days on record.
“It was 90 some degrees with 100 percent humidity and I was wrapping duct work with fiberglass insulation. I asked myself, ‘what am I getting myself into?’” Parkis said.
What he was getting himself into was a career that has already lasted more than 18 years and has resulted in a business of his own in Prescott Valley.
Parkis, who owns Indian Air along with his wife Christine, bought the existing company two and a half years ago. Despite the economy, through very hard work, they have turned it into a healthy, growing business.
They purchased the existing business in July 2008 and they acknowledge that owning your own business has its ups and downs.
“It’s got its good points and its bad points,” he said.
She said that at first it was not easy.
“We bought it when the economy took a nose dive, but we’ve survived. You take the good with bad in anything you do,” he said.
But it has been worth it.
“We like being our own boss with no one looking over your shoulder,” Jason said.
They have six employees who help the company by installing new heating and air conditioning units, servicing the units and repairing those that stop working at both residential and commercial establishments.
“We do refrigeration for restaurants, their walk-in coolers and ice machines,” he said.
Despite his misgivings on his first day on the job, Jason said he is glad he stuck with it.
“I get to go to different places and I’m not stuck in one place all the time,” he said. “It’s not like a factory job.”
Jason is originally from Chicago. “My whole family lives there,” he said.
Christine calls herself an “Arizona girl,” having moved to Phoenix from New York with her family in 1970.
Jason said the weather in Chicago was harsh in the humid summer and then again in the winter when it is 40 to 50 below zero because of the wind chill factor. He decided to leave.
“I was 23 years old and needed a change,” he said.
He moved to Arizona in 1997, remembering a trip to Sedona he had taken with his family years ago.
“I found five jobs the first day here,” he said.
“He met me here too,” added Christine.
They both worked for the same large air conditioning business in Phoenix.
Jason worked for the company for six years before they offered him a job with the same company to run a whole division. Christine found work with a heating and air conditioning supplier there.
“We decided we wanted to go into business for ourselves,” he said. “We were tired of working for somebody else.”
Christine said they had the knowledge, as well as the support of their family and friends.
“We decided to just do it together, just Jason and me,” she said.
“The couple lives in Antelope Meadows with their cat, Gus, and dogs, Streigh and Wrigley.
They support the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, Little League and the Yavapai Food Bank, where for every ton of air conditioning sold, they donate $25.
“So far, we have donated $5,000. That is pretty good for a mom and pop company,” Christine said.
They dote on their 18-month-old godson and sponsor three children who live in Bangladesh, Ecuador and India.
Accredited by the Better Business Bureau, they are members of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation and are listed by Arizona Public Service as a qualified contractor.
They regularly support nonprofit organizations doing fundraisers and Radio Shine, a Christian Radio station, and are members of The Heights Church in Prescott.
They also allow the police department to use their building to train their K-9 units.
“We really enjoy living up here. The people are really nice. We chose to move up this way because it’s just beautiful, and you have the four seasons,” Christine said.
Jason agrees. “I am a motorcycle rider and this is the place where people come to ride their motorcycles,” Jason said. QCBN
To learn more about Indian Air, call 928-772-8890 or visit www.indianair.net. They can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.