Dan Kalman has a keen appreciation for how one’s career path and quality of life are inextricably intertwined. For 28 years at Lee Company, he’s been in the business of helping people live their lives comfortably. Along the way, he’s advanced from HVAC
technician all the way to Executive Vice President of Service. His experience has led him to become a staunch advocate for careers in the trades.
“Right now, in the trade industry as a whole, three people are retiring for everyone that enters the field,” says Kalman. “We’re going to have a problem if we don’t ask young adults to consider trade careers.” But according to Kalman, with problems come opportunities. “Not everyone is meant to be a doctor or lawyer and the trades are an honorable industry,” he says. “They offer great opportunities to be trained in a skill set and to go to work immediately and earn money quickly. There’s never been a better time to be a plumber, mechanic or electrician. These careers offer stable work and good incomes that should appeal to young people.”
Kalman, a Grand Rapids, Michigan native, embarked on his career in 1990 after earning an associate degree from Ferris State University with an emphasis on heating, ventilation and refrigeration. He and his soon-to-be wife, Jennifer, moved to Middle
Tennessee after visiting her parents in the Thompson’s Station/Spring Hill area around Christmas time in 1994. “Everything happened very quickly,” says Kalman. “We fell in love with the place, married within a month and moved to the Brentwood area.”
With requisite trade skills and several years of experience, Kalman was able to find work with a small HVAC company. After a few months, he applied for and was hired for a job at Lee Company, which was then a small outfit where he was one of five service
As the company grew, so did his responsibilities. He became service manager shortly after his arrival, moved steadily through the ranks and has served in his current capacity since 2019.
But what stands out about his experience is Lee Company’s commitment to its people. “When I applied for the job, I was greeted by a young lady, Angela Curtis,” says Kalman. “She’s still the receptionist today. For someone to answer the door and phone as long
as she has is really a testament to the company that we are. And the lady who hired me 28 years ago, currently works for me on one of our teams. I could walk out of my office now and talk to the person who hired me.”
When he’s not working to help customers stay comfortable, Kalman and his family enjoy weekends on the lake. This past summer was their first on their houseboat. “We typically tie up with two or three other houseboats and spend the weekend out there,” he says. “The dock life is awesome. It’s like-minded people who escape the hustle and bustle of working. We have group dinners and games in the evening.” He also enjoys the festivals in downtown Franklin and going to downtown Nashville for dinner, shows and the occasional Titans or Predators game.
But like everyone else on his team, Kalman remains on call at all times. “Our industry demands that we’re available 24/7 so we have technicians who are out all the time,” he says. “And when the weather pops, it gets crazy. We see people when they’re at their
worst, when it's 100 degrees and the air conditioning is broken. But that’s when we shine, and we’re prepared to answer those calls.”
It's the way things are done in the trade industry. LeeCompany.com
Reduce Your Risk With A Home Maintenance Plan
There’s no such thing as a “good time” for your HVAC or plumbing to fail. That’s why Lee Company’s Dan Kalman encourages customers to join a preventative maintenance program.
“Mechanical equipment needs to be serviced regularly or it’ll break down when weather is the most severe because that’s when it’s under the most stress,” he says.
Lee Company’s 20,000+ plan members have their heating, air, electrical and plumbing systems inspected annually. “We can frequently make repairs or replacements before an emergency,” says Kalman.
Members also receive discounts on repairs and new equipment purchases.