As the 26-year owner of Arctic Food Equipment, Mark McCartney knows something about starting small and building for the future.
He founded the company in 1994 as a home-based venture, operating by himself out of his backyard shed and a single service van. Today, Arctic Food Equipment has expanded to more than 30 employees working in a 21,000-square-foot facility.
The company sells and services HVAC and commercial restaurant equipment, such as walk-in refrigeration units and exhaust hoods. McCartney says he’s still very much a hands-on owner, pointing out he goes on job sites to help his service technicians when problems arise.
“I believe our industry leadership comes from my involvement and that I know how to fix the equipment and still run calls,” he says. “It’s hard to beat real world, on-the-job training, especially with an active boss.”
Before the new service techs take to the field, McCartney spends time teaching them in class.
“Our emphasis on training has made our techs the best in the region, but more importantly it also gives our techs opportunities,” he says. “They are more qualified to fix problems and help customers.”
McCartney also is an advocate of training for students learning about the industry. He serves on the advisory board for Ozarks Technical Community College and Midwest Technical Institute Inc., guiding curriculum decisions in the areas of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration instruction.
“I want to make sure graduates have the proper skills to complete service work in the community,” he says. “Their success is critical for our industry and our region.”
After earning an associate degree in HVAC and refrigeration at University of Central Missouri in 1981, McCartney found his way to Oklahoma the next year, where he worked 12 years for Crowl Mechanical Inc. He started out as a service technician for the Tulsa-based company before ascending to service manager. But the desire to go into business for himself brought McCartney to Springfield.
In the years since, Arctic Food Equipment has taken on countless service jobs within the company’s three-hour radius of Springfield. But one in particular stands out in his mind: the design and installation of a 22,500-square-foot walk-in cooler for egg distributer Vital Farms Inc.’s Springfield plant.
“I had to calculate on how long it takes to cool down the egg, how many warm eggs are moved into the cooler, and how many times the door is open per hour,” he says. “Not only was this the greatest challenge of my professional career, but we completed the project on time and on budget.”
Away from his company, McCartney is committed to community service.
He served on the building committee for The Branches at Brookline, a Missouri Baptist Children’s Home project that constructed a 5,000-square-foot group home and recreation center in Springfield for adults with developmental disabilities. He’s also participated in fundraisers for interdenominational Christian service organization Project Hope, with which he’s been to Nicaragua eight times to build homes for the poor.
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