When Debbi and Dave Waldenberg started their own business, they wanted to create a one-stop shop for homeowners. Instead of letting customers go to different contractors, the Waldenbergs brought several ser-vices under one roof. Their success with Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical was recognized in November 2018 when Debbi and Dave were named the Kalispell Area Chamber of Commerce’s Businessman and Businesswoman of the Year winners. Winners are nominated by Kalispell Chamber members and selected by the previous recipients.
A FAMILY BUSINESS TRADITION
Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical serves Whitefish, Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Lakeside, Polson and other towns in the Flathead Valley. Besides running their business, the Walden-bergs have been involved with vari-ous nonprofits over the years.
According a press release from the Kalispell Chamber, one nominator said the Waldenbergs have turned their business into, “one of the most successful in the area by focusing on hiring good employees and providing them with the equipment, training, and mentoring to ensure outstanding customer service and satisfaction.”
Dave’s family history in the indus-try goes back to Great Falls and the 1940s. In 1946, Dave’s grandfather, Louis J. Waldenberg, began Central Heating and Plumbing. Central became a part of the name because the original store was started on Central Avenue in Great Falls.
During the 1950s and ‘60s, Dave’s father helped expand the company into new areas like commercial plumbing and heating. After Dave graduated from Montana State University in 1983, he joined the family business and acquired his journeyman and masters plumbing licens-es. Dave worked in a variety roles with the company, including president of the company, before he sold his interests in 2002 to start a service and retrofit company with Debbi.
In 2006, the Waldenbergs decided to stop vacationing in the Flathead Valley and moved to Kalispell. In Kalis-pell, the duo purchased Central, Heating & Cooling. In 2010, the company added plumbing and electrical ser-vices and become Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical.
“I have the pleasure of working with my wife and son, Matthew, on a daily basis,” Dave said. “ Family busi-nesses are the backbone of the business world and will continue in the future. I take great pride in working for the betterment of our family and our team, along with this beautiful valley and community we live in.”
While Dave has the hands-on-background with the business, Debbi runs the front of the house and their onsite call center. Debbi makes sure day-to-day opera-tions run smoothly and that employees get sent to the correct jobs.
TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN
How do the Waldenbergs stay at the top of their game? By lots and lots of training. Debbi said every day there are morning huddles, and on Wednesdays there is technical training. The Waldenbergs have invested in building their own training center on site.But their dedication to training their employees has spread to areas outside their business.
“Dave and Debbi have maintained a commitment to education not just in their community by providing em-ployees with continued training and leadership oppor-tunities, but were instrumental in the development of Flathead Valley Community College’s HVAC certificate program,” said the Kalispell Chamber in a press release. “The program now provides men and women the train-ing needed to have access to careers that offer a safe working environment and livable wages.”
Debbi and Dave have continued the family business tradition today. Besides the two parents, the oldest Waldenberg son also works at Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical. While there are ups and downs, Debbi said it’s been a positive experience keeping it a family business.
“This award took us both by surprise, a lot of thought went in to presenting this to us together,” Debbi said. “Both Dave and I come to work everyday to enhance the overall growth of our company and for the men and women who work at Central, without them and our cus-tomers, there would not be the Central it is today. We have so much gratitude for everyone.”