Norman Grimes: Out of the Warehouse, Into the Field
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
PACHECO — When Norman Grimes got a job shipping HVAC equipment, he never thought he’d one day be an HVAC service technician—or, for that matter, owner of an HVAC company. “As a young man, I worked for an HVAC supplier that shipped equipment all over the country,” he explains. “During my time there, I nurtured connections with a few of our clients and eventually started working for one of them. After 10 years of doing HVAC service and installation, I started my own business, which I’m still running today.”
Today, as owner of Connolly Heating and Air Conditioning, Norman says his favorite part of his job is interacting with customers. “When I worked in shipping, most of my interactions were with truck drivers, but since switching to HVAC service, I get to deal directly with homeowners, which I really enjoy. Often, customers are a bit distressed when they call us, so I like taking care of them, coming up with honest solutions and gaining their confidence.”
A resident of Martinez (where he lives with his wife, Amor), Norman expresses his appreciation for the unique character of Bay Area life. “I moved up here from Southern California, and it’s just a whole different vibe,” he says. “The people are a big part of it, but it’s also the weather. Down south, the climate is kind of monochromatic, whereas in the Bay Area, we get to experience the four seasons, which I like a lot.”
Outside of work, Norman stays busy with a variety of hobbies and pastimes. “I’m an avid golfer, bicyclist and soon-to-be pilot—I’ve almost finished getting my pilot’s license,” he says. “I also enjoy playing guitar, which is something I’ve been doing since I was 14. When we go camping, I always bring my guitar and sing songs around the campfire.”
In regard to a professional philosophy, Norman espouses the importance of honest, helpful service. “I’m all about being true to the customer,” he explains. “We professionals possess a world of knowledge, and it’s our responsibility to impart that to our customers and help them make informed decisions. That’s a big part of the culture I’ve created at Connolly Heating and Air Conditioning—a culture based on honesty and integrity.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Norman says he’d put more energy into the activities he currently enjoys. “I would probably compete in some golf tournaments and join a band. I’d also be more active in my church and invest some time into working with young people.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: 88 Noodle House in Martinez.
Q: Who’s your favorite professional golfer?
A: I have two: Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. They’ve been big inspirations for me personally.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird—I go the gym every morning before heading to work.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Guitars and other musical instruments.
Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
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A: The piano. I have a grand piano that I inherited from my grandmother and I’d really like to be able to play it.