Dylan Wood owns and operates Southern Comfort Heating & A/C in Jacksonville. He recently left his job as a commercial technician to focus solely on his business.
Are you originally from the Anniston area? No, I came here when my dad got a job out at the Anniston Army Depot.
Was your father an HVAC expert as well? No, he was a nuclear engineer. He worked at a nuclear power plant in Florida for 25 years. He retired from the Army Depot after about 10 years of service out there.
How did you decide to get into the HVAC industry? I was in auto mechanics for a while; I enjoy working with my hands. It was just a natural transition into the HVAC industry. Essentially, I am an HVAC mechanic.
Was auto mechanics your first career field? No, I was actually a restaurant chef for 11 years, as crazy as that sounds — going from the culinary arts to auto mechanics to HVAC (laughs).
Were the culinary arts your first interest? Yes, I love to cook. I still cook for friends and family. When business gets slow, I will throw a brisket on the smoker, or ribs or butts.
What kind of restaurants did you cook for? I have done Cajun, Italian and seafood.
Where did you begin your HVAC career? I got my HVAC degree from Gadsden State Community College, then I started working at Jacksonville State University as a commercial technician. I worked there for about seven years.
When did you open your own company? I opened Southern Comfort Heating and A/C about three years ago while still working for Jacksonville State University. I have been working solely for myself for about a month now.
Tell us about Southern Comfort. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I am the owner and operator; I am currently the only employee, but I wear about 10 different hats: customer service, consultant, technician, installer, sheet metal fabricator and more. I do installation of new equipment, repairs, service sales and pretty much anything else to do with heating and cooling. Over the next two to three years, I plan on hiring a couple of people.
Have you had any memorable service calls? One that sticks out in my mind is one time I was up under a mobile home and had to rescue about four kittens.
Do you have any tips as we head into the summer months? Preventative maintenance needs to be done twice a year. I would recommend once in the early spring and once in the mid- or late fall. Also, change your air filters every 30-60 days. Preventative maintenance will make your system last a lot longer — potentially twice as long.
What do you mean by “preventative maintenance”? Washing the outdoor coils, indoor coils, making sure all the connections are tight and replacing any warped parts in the system.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at email@example.com.
Hometown: Jensen Beach, Fla.
Occupation: Owner, Southern Comfort Heating & A/C
Favorite actor: Woody Harrelson
Favorite film: ‘The Big Lebowski’
Favorite music: Outlaw country, Southern rock
Favorite television show: ‘Shark Tank’
Words to live by: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.