HVAC Career Generates Warm Memories For Former Lande Owner

Carl Stanke Former Owner of Lande HVAC
Carl Stanke, Former Owner of Lande HVAC

From the brisk pace of changing technology to the warmth of building customer relationships, a lifetime in the heating/air conditioning/ventilation business has brought a wealth of memories and lessons for Carl Stanke.

One of the biggest lessons, he says, is that the industry can be a rewarding and fruitful career for those willing to work at it.

“It’s no longer at a point where a technician can go out with just a couple things on his checklist,” Stanke said, noting the computerization and higher efficiency that has developed over the past 15 years in climate control. “Now he (or she) needs the right tools. There is a lot of training and schooling required, and you can make a comfortable salary. But you have to earn it.”

After 25 years as the owner of Lande HVAC of Bethlehem, Stanke sold his business to Bob Burkholder in November 2017. He joined Burkholder’s HVAC in the residential sales department, a position that allows him to focus on the customer relationships he has built through his career.

In addition, his entire staff also made the transition to Burkholder’s HVAC.

“I’ve known Bob through professional groups and other associations in and around the Lehigh Valley,” Stanke said. “Our philosophies on quality control and caring for customers are very much alike. He made an offer to me at a time when it made sense to call it a day running my own business.

“I had eight employees and 100 percent of them followed me to Burkholder’s. That was another reason I liked the deal. They promised to make an effort to find a place for everyone,” he continued.”

Stanke bought Lande HVAC 25 years ago from company founder Harry Lande after working as a manufacturer’s representative for the Burnham Boiler Corporation. Lande stayed on to assist with the transition from manufacturing to wholesale and finally to the front lines of residential sales and service before retiring and Stanke ran the company since then with his wife.

One of the changes that came with the move is an increased awareness of the commercial side of the business. Lande focused primarily on residential sales and service. “Bob has a full-blown commercial operation as well as the residential side,” Stanke said.

For Stanke it also means a chance to focus on his relationship with customers without the day-to-day responsibility of running his own company.

“The biggest benefit for me is being able to focus on the selling, taking care of my old customers and making new ones,” he said.” I have been able to move on and my wife, who has now retired from the HVAC business, is able to now pursue her own interests.”