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How to Smile in the Face of Adversity!

Faced with some serious adversity with the ownership of Mountain view Heating in Bend, Oregon, Buffy Busick has overcome several challenges in her career to become an inspiration to contractors everywhere.

Everything is looking up at Mountain View Heating, Inc. in Bend, Oregon. That was not necessarily the story a few years back when Buffy Busik was faced with some serious adversity in the ownership of the company. Mountain View was originally started in 1980 by her father, Gary Bunger and quickly established itself as one of the leading contractors in Bend. Buffy remembers crawling around under houses at the tender age of 9 years old, her official starting point in the family business. She and her brother, Gary Jr. grew up in the HVAC business and after attending college, they both became integral parts of the company. Their father Gary passed away rather suddenly in 2003 and left the company and his legacy in their hands.

Buffy explained, “My dad was 50% owner and my brother and I each 25% when he died. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and died 3 ½ months later.(His passing was) sudden and untimely and we did have a small amount of time to prepare only for estate issues and not so much for the transition. Luckily, dad had been trying to spend more time in Palm Springs that prior year and my brother and I were beginning to get a taste of running the show. For that, we were fortunate and we really bonded together and made it through.” The transition was tearful for the entire Bend community but the Mountain View legacy continued.

Since both Buffy and Gary Jr. were well aware of the symbiotic relationship between technology and success, they made a decision to purchase SAWIN PRO back in 2005. While Gary’s specialty was the people side of the business, managing the team, and developing relationships with customers, Buffy excelled in the accounting and job cost aspects of SAWIN. At that time Mountain View had 100 employees and their business was 75-80% new construction and 20-25% service and replacement. The business was thriving during the new construction “boom” of the early to mid-2000’s and Mountain View even worked with Service Automation, Inc. (SAI) to develop the Mobitrac product, a time tracking application for installers, which was featured in a prior issue of SAWIN E-News.

However, in 2006 and shortly after their implementation of SAWIN at Mountain View, her brother and business partner, Gary Jr. was killed in an automobile accident. His untimely death was a horrible tragedy and Buffy and her family were devastated, to say the least. After the initial mourning of their loss, the Mountain View team, now led solely by Buffy resumed business as usual, although it would never be the same without their beloved Gary, Jr. With the support of her then fiancé/now husband Jeff, her mother, children, other family members, and the crew at Mountain View, Buffy pressed on.

Just a few short years later, Mountain View experienced another significant challenge with the great recession. Faced with the collapse of the new housing market in which they had thrived in for years, Mountain View down-sized from 100+- employees to around 35. The company had to shift gears and get into the service and replacement realm if it were to survive and Buffy told me personally that she was glad that their SAWIN solution had a dynamite service/dispatch module and that it was “instrumental in surviving the transition”. She said that since Mountain View had installed so many of the HVAC units in Bend since the early 80s, that the customer base was already in place for the transition and they jumped right into servicing them.

Buffy is an extraordinary human being and after spending a full day with her and her staff at Mountain View I came up with a new nickname for her, “The Energizer Buffy”. Not only is she a fantastic leader, she is a great manager, confidant, cheerleader, and above all, has a keen business sense. This woman knows the details of every aspect of her business and is considered a “SAWIN Power User”, based on her knowledge and use of the SAWIN solution. Mountain View uses every aspect of the SAWIN system and the focus of my site visit was to explore their use of the Sales & Marketing module in relation to their beta-testing of the new SAWIN Mobile Salesman application, which they have deployed on iPads.

Service Automation has been in development of the SAWIN Mobile Salesman application for over two years, based on specifications gathered from Gary Marowski of Flame Furnace and the other members of his “Eagles Nest” mix group. However, SAI needed the right location to deploy this product as a beta-test and the main requirement was a client that uses the quote templates in the SAWIN Job Cost module and was willing to work with us as a beta-site. Buffy and her crew were not just willing; they were and are still very excited about this project. With the definable and measurable success of their deployment of the SAWIN Mobile Web product with their service techs, they were anxious to take their sales team into the next realm of selling.

The sales team at Mountain View is led by Scott Bellefeuille and he has been involved with the mobile sales project out of the gate. Scott and his sales team have been successfully using a 3rd party sales system, which was offered through their consulting partner. Although that product suited them up to this point, it was a stand-alone system and created double and even triple entry situations when a job was sold. Since it was also based on “older” technology and hardware, the idea of deploying an integrated sales solution on iPads was optimum in their eyes.

Since Scott and his team already thoroughly utilize the SAWIN Sales & Marketing module to assign and dispatch their sales force to prospective clients, the new Salesman Application complements their process perfectly. Scott added, “But above that, with the back end integration and messaging aspects of the solution, countless hours of inefficiency will be trimmed in the name of higher closing ratios and instant communication when ordering materials and scheduling jobs.”

Buffy has been involved in every aspect of this project from the beginning as she “lives and breathes in the Sales & Marketing module” of SAWIN. Her closing ratios are based on the 24/3/7 formula that she learned from other HVAC icons of the past. By using this formula she holds everyone on the sales team accountable for their participation or lack thereof.

Buffy is truly excited about the new, mobile sales application and has been very proactive with the deployment and testing. She sees the application as another step forward in the continuing evolution and progress at Mountain View and her future looks bright. When I asked Buffy what sets Mountain View apart from the competition she said, “Our mission statement is “The Company That Cares About YOU”. We create a service and/or sales “experience” where our business is focused on establishing “relationship” with our customers rather than just a “fix” or “sale”. This experience is created through a number of efforts, one of which is the mobile aspect of our (SAWIN) software that allows us to include our customers in our processes. In addition, 100% of our service techs, installation techs and Sales team are NATE certified.”

Buffy is an inspiring creature and her excitement about the things she likes is contagious. Having survived and overcome so much adversity some years back, Buffy is an inspiration not only to contractors, but to any human being whom has ever been challenged with life on life’s terms. Here’s to you Buffy and keep beating your “Energizer” drum for all to hear. We are all definitely listening!

For more information on Mountain View Heating, Inc. in Bend, Oregon please visit their website: