Texas Medley wasn’t the first teenager to work in the trades and leave the industry–only to boomerang back.
Today, he’s the CEO of Dallas-based Medley Heating & Air Conditioning, which he envisions as a $50 million business that maintains its mom-and-pop feel. And he has an interesting observation on why the trades have engendered a negative perception as a career path.
“Typically, the negative connotation or perception that people have of tradesmen is because of the way that tradesmen present themselves to the public,” Medley says.
He cites the misperceptions: “This is where you go to work when you can't do anything else. Or, don’t have the aptitude for something more.”
After being out of the trades for a few years, Medley was able to reverse the negative self-image. He also thinks the general stereotype is fading away in society as a whole.
“By and large, the general public may have felt that way,” he says. “But I think that that's kind of changing and not the case so much anymore.”
Medley looks at the industry differently–and also has made changes in the way he runs his HVAC business. That latter adjustment (working smarter, not just harder) also came via introspection.
“A lot of it is just getting out of your own way,” he says. “There’s a lot of head trash that we deal with. A lot of limiting beliefs, and a lot of things that we put in front of ourselves that we think we can't do–when we can.”
Even though the company has grown, Medley wants to continue to foster a mom-and-pop-style team spirit. His hope is that everyone on the payroll feels like a part of something bigger and is contributing to a team effort.
That ethos, he believes, will be reflected outward—and customers will see it.
“If you want to see where your business sucks, just look around and see where your business sucks, because it's going to tell you,” Medley says. “It's going to be a direct reflection of who you are. If you suck at anything—customer service, whatever—then that's probably what you're going to see looking back at you. If you come in negative all the time, guess what kind of culture you probably have?”
Texas Medley recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 7 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Medley’s thoughts on:
Negative stigma attached to the trades.
Shifting mindset to escape the “rat race” mentality.
The importance of strong culture and positive reinforcement, and being open to criticism.
Leaning into your strengths.
To hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.