Ease Plumbing and Air is proud to be one of the Griffin Brothers Companies’, ZoomUp Businesses, and they are celebrating the 60th anniversary of Griffin Brothers Companies by telling their story. 

In 2016, Mike Griffin founded ZoomUp Investments to fund and grow businesses in the dirty-jobs scene and to mentor young professionals with an entrepreneurial drive. Owner and founder of Ease Plumbing and Air, Austin Helms, first started out as an entrepreneur apprentice under Griffin and helped to create the ZoomUp program. 

“My hope is that an apprentice transitions into a Zoomer, and operates and eventually owns a ZoomUp acquisition,” Griffin said.

And that’s what happened. 

Helms was paired with a master plumber and learned the trade by getting his hands dirty during the day, and taking care of the business side of things at night. 

Within a three-month period, this start-up had grown to three service vans and proceeded to add two more vans the following three months. And things didn’t slow down there. 

Ease Plumbing acquired Cool Comfort Heating and Air in June of 2020 and began to offer HVAC services. Ease Plumbing and Air was now in business to serve the people of Charlotte, Lake Norman and Cornelius. 

After its first year, Ease Plumbing and Air has grown from 2 employees to 25 employees and has 19 vehicles. Ease Plumbing has also opened a second location in Greenville, North Carolina through its Neighborhood Market Leader program. 

“When I started Ease, I started this to create a service business that would be employee owned,” Helms said. “The goal is to take the Ease brand nationwide.”

With the backing of Griffin Brothers Companies, and the leadership of Mike Griffin and Austin Helms, Ease Plumbing and Air is reinventing dirty jobs, training the next generation of tradesmen and creating opportunities for employee ownership. 

Employees at Viva Electric, one of Griffin Brothers Companies’ ZoomUp businesses, are a dynamic group. They are electrician’s, musicians, stand-up comedians, and entrepreneurs. They work hard, we have fun, and know each member of our team plays an important role in our company. 

The Viva team is truly a living testament to the company’s culture and their efforts to light up the world around them.   

The leadership team at Viva wants their clients and followers to get to know their team members a little better, while we get an opportunity to brag on them a little too!  

So, here’s your chance to get to know Viva Electric’s Lead Dispatcher, Jayna!  

What’s Your Favorite Part About Working For Viva? 

Working with the Viva Team. Our techs and leadership have created a great team culture and they are genuinely such nice people!”

How Do You Light Up Customer’s Life? 

“I try to give them exceptional service by shedding ‘light’ on solving their electrical problems. It’s not always pleasant having something break in your home so I’m glad I can be a friendly voice to answer the phone and help our clients.”

What’s The Coolest Thing You Have Learned About Electrical Work? 

Don’t do it yourself, lol”

What is your experience in the trades?  

“I first got into the trades with a customer support role with a local HVAC company. Over the years I have worked with HVAC, plumbing, and electrical teams – I learn something new everyday and the environment is always fun and fast paced!” 

What’s your favorite quote? 

“The world is what you make it”

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off? 

“I love Hiking in the mountains, biking, and chillin’ on Lake Norman”

What’s Your Favorite Sports Team?

“I am a huge App State, Tar Heels and Panthers fan!”

Roland Black Heating and Cooling is proud to be one of the Griffin Brothers Companies’, ZoomUp Partners, and is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Griffin Brothers Companies by telling their story. 

In 2016, Mike Griffin founded ZoomUp Investments to fund and grow businesses in the dirty-jobs scene and to mentor young professionals with an entrepreneurial drive. 

For over 45 years, Roland Black Heating and Cooling had been providing a range of HVAC services to customers in Gastonia, Gaston County, and the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area, but the owner was seeking a well-deserved retirement and did not have an exit strategy in place. 

“So many blue-collar businesses are owned by baby boomers, 10,000 of whom turn 65 every day, and many of these businesses close upon their retirement or death. We’re in danger of losing those businesses if they don’t find the next generation of leaders,”  Mike Griffin, owner of Griffin Brothers Companies said. 

After months of market research, due diligence and setting up a game plan, GBC stepped in and backed Jerome Trehy to acquire Roland Black Heating and Cooling. With Roland Black’s well-known name in the area, steady financial performance and customer-service focus, this seemed like a natural fit for the ZoomUp mission. 

Jerome Trehy, a 33-year-old MBA graduate with extensive experience in technical craftsmanship and small business growth was placed at the helm of the company and began to learn the business from the inside out. Trehy cultivated a close-knit team and was actively involved in daily operations, installs, service calls and the back-end business development. 

In a few short years, revenue has nearly doubled, and the continued reinvestment into training, technology, and great team members is paying off. Roland Black Heating and Cooling has stayed true to their commitment of providing the highest customer service and highest quality products. As a Trane Comfort Specialist, the team at Roland Black has solidified their reputation as a dependable HVAC contractor that consistently delivers high-quality work.

Through the backing and mentorship of Mike Griffin and GBC, paired with the leadership and execution of Jerome Trehy, Roland Black Heating and Cooling is reinventing dirty jobs and training the next generation of tradesmen, the right way. 

For over 60 years, Griffin Brothers Companies has been a withstanding business in the Charlotte Metro region. Many know Griffin Brothers Companies for their legacy divisions in waste solutions, real estate and hospitality, but others know GBC for its ZoomUp investments and home services businesses. But no matter how much you think you know about GBC, there’s always more underneath the surface. 

It is the people at GBC that make it what it is. From our shared services team, to the entrepreneurs who lead the ZoomUp businesses to the customer service representatives who are the voice of our brands, everyone has a part to play.  

As evident through the ZoomUp Investments, Mike Griffin, managing partner of Griffin Brothers Companies, makes it a priority to invest in young leaders and entrepreneurs who have a passion, drive and knowledge base to take their career to the next level. 

One way he achieves this is with Executive Apprentices. As an executive apprentice, each one will work alongside Mike for three years to fine-tune their entrepreneurial skills. “My hope is that an apprentice transitions into a Zoomer, and operates and eventually owns a ZoomUp acquisition,” says Griffin.

Jordan Cupit joined the GBC team as an executive apprentice after graduating from Appalachian State University in 2020 with a degree in business management. 

As an executive apprentice, Jordan is always on the go, learning something new. “I’ve yet to have a typical day,” he said. But whether he is in the office learning the business side of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, or at the landfill learning about the day-to-day operations that take place, each day presents its own rewards and challenges. 

During his time at GBC, Jordan has been a major player in the Material Recovery Facility projects. The MRF will divert 70-80% of incoming trash from being buried in the landfill which will help the environment and extend the site’s lifespan. Jordan has been able to use his previous construction experience and also what he’s learned as an executive apprentice to help bring the MRF project to completion successfully.

“I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is more than a full-time job,” he said. “You always have to be ready to deal with issues that you weren’t expecting.”

As a young entrepreneur studying under the leadership of a seasoned and successful entrepreneur, Jordan is able to explore different fields and find what it is that he is passionate about. The knowledge he gained from his education at Appalachian State and the real-life experiences he is gaining at GBC will propel him into whatever field he chooses.

With a short-term goal to find exactly what it is that he’s passionate about, this will give him the foundation to achieve his long-term goal—to become a business owner by his 25th birthday in a field that he is passionate about. 

Griffin Brothers Companies is proud to have Jordan Cupit on our team and we’re eager to see him discover his passions and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. 

Once you’ve been in an accident your to-do list immediately grows. Call the insurance company. Call a towing company. Call a rental car company. Call a repair shop. And then add on everything else that you actually had to do that day. 

The team at Absolute Collision, a ZoomUp business, is committed to getting you back on the road faster, and that means helping you with your to-do list. Their team members have over 50 years of experience in the auto collision industry, and understand the value of a company who can take the burden off of you. So, that’s just what they do. 

No Appointment? No Problem!

You likely didn’t plan on getting into a car accident today; I don’t think anyone does. But it happens. As part of their commitment to getting you back on the road faster, they offer online estimates. With just the click of a button you can submit pictures of your car’s damage and schedule your appointment. We’re making it easier than ever to get back on the road. 

Dealing with Insurance Companies Made Easier

Most insurance companies will provide their customers with a list of accepted Direct Repair Providers. These DRPs must meet certain requirements set up by the insurance company, and luckily for you, Absolute Collision is a Direct Repair Provider for most insurance companies. Go ahead and check that one off of your list! 

One Call Has You Covered

Coordinating with the towing company, the repair shop and the rental car company can be a headache. But you can alleviate that pain with just one call to Absolute Collision. Their services include towing, restoration and rental cars. This is your one-stop-shop for all of your auto-collision and repair needs. Call 828-382-8000 for the Forest City location or 704-482-3616 for the Shelby location. 

Get Back on the Road

Absolute Collision is committed to service that is true, honest and done with integrity. Part of getting you back on the road faster is getting the job done right the first time. As your one-stop-shop for all auto collision repairs, Absolute Collision promises to walk with you through the entire process. From helping you to understand what exactly the problem is, how we can fix it and what we can do to help you get back on the road in the meantime. 

Griffin Brothers Companies is proud to partner with entrepreneurs like Thomas Goforth, owner of Absolute Collision, who are driven by their customers’ needs and want to make a difference in their community. 

Griffin Brothers Companies has been a withstanding business in the Charlotte Metro region and beyond for 60 years. And while some may know Griffin Brothers Companies for their original tire store, for the landfill operations they manage or for the home services business that are a part of the ZoomUp investments, what many may not know is all that goes on behind the scenes. 

As evident through the ZoomUp Investments, Mike Griffin, managing partner of Griffin Brothers Companies, makes it a priority to invest in young leaders and entrepreneurs who have a passion, drive and knowledge base to take their career to the next level. 

One way he achieves this is with Executive Apprentices. As an executive apprentice, each one will work alongside Mike for three years to fine-tune their entrepreneurial skills. “My hope is that an apprentice transitions into a Zoomer, and operates and eventually owns a ZoomUp acquisition,” says Griffin.

Nicolas Gomez is currently an Executive Apprentice at Griffin Brothers Companies and strives to one day enter the Foundation and Crawl Space industry. 

After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School in May of 2020, Nico came to work at GBC and now assists with leading the company acquisitions and the Zoomer’s Market Leader Program.

“Everyday is about making the Zoomers grow, grow, grow,” he said. “Before I leave to ZoomUp the Foundation and Crawl Space industry, we will get Zoomer Thomas Goforth to 15 stores, Zoomers Austin Helms and Jimmy Giler to truly saturate the Charlotte area, and grow the Griffin Brothers Property Services brand across the Charlotte metropolitan area.”

As an executive apprentice, he is not only learning entrepreneurial skills but also life skills that he will carry with him wherever he goes. He says one of the most surprising things that he has learned is that “if you do all of the right stuff and forget then team—you are better off not doing anything at all.”

Nico has been an integral part of the MEP Pros Plan and has helped our Zoomers excel in their individual markets. He’s seen the value of different perspectives, learned the importance of teamwork and found business models to aspire to (hello, Chick-fil-A). 

Not only will his education from UNC’s business school and years of learning under Mike Griffin help him to succeed as an entrepreneur in the foundation and crawl space world, but also his life experiences will help launch him toward success. 

As a self-starter, Nico taught himself how to sail and within five weeks officially passed the test. Ahoy, Captain Nico. Additionally, Nico understands the value of doing hard things and knows the sacrifices one must make. At seven years old, he moved from Colombia, South America and had to start over. Later in life he backpacked alone through Ecuador. During these three months in Ecuador, he was chased by a pack of wild dogs, worked at a fruit farm and also fasted for 72 hours.  

Griffin Brothers Companies is proud to have Nicolas Gomez on our team and we’re eager to see how he will ZoomUp the foundation and crawl space industry in the near future. 

Viva Electric is proud to be one of the Griffin Brothers Companies’, ZoomUp Businesses, and they are celebrating the 60th anniversary of Griffin Brothers Companies by telling their story.  

In 2016, Mike Griffin founded ZoomUp Investments to fund and grow businesses in the dirty-jobs scene and to mentor young professionals with an entrepreneurial drive. Entrepreneurs like Jimmy. 

Jimmy Giler, co-owner and founder of Viva Electric, had been working with his father-in-law as a local electrician and eventually became interested in more than just working with his hands. In 2017, Jimmy and his wife Maegan decided it was time for them to go out on their own and open what would soon be Charlotte’s top-rated electrical company, Viva Electric. 

In April of 2018, Jimmy hired his first employees and things were going great. One day, Meagan called Jimmy and said a guy googled Viva Electric and had questions about a job he had previously done for another company. This guy was Austin Helms, owner and founder of Ease Plumbing and Air. 

Over lunch, Austin and Jimmy talked about business and the ZoomUp Investments group. They discussed how Griffin Brother Companies created ZoomUp investments to share their knowledge and passion for entrepreneurship with like-minded business owners while providing them with additional resources, technologies and capabilities to grow local family businesses into long lasting legacies. 

From there, the relationship blossomed. After discussing the opportunity with Maegan, Jimmy met Mike for lunch at Taco Mac. Mike told him, “You guys are gonna get where you wanna get, and you will be successful. But I will get you there faster.”

It was then that Jimmy and Maegan decided to partner with Griffin Brothers Companies, and ever since then they have seen tremendous growth. 

Since its inception in 2017, Viva Electric has implemented new field management technology to improve the customer experience and reporting aspects. WIth a commitment to creating a long-lasting legacy and putting the needs of the customer first, it’s no wonder that Viva Electric is Charlotte’s top-rated electrical company. 

Viva Electric’s services now reach out to the Lake Norman area, and with the Neighborhood Market Leader program, they’re expected to continue expanding and lighting up the lives of everyone around them. 

Since day one, Austin Helms, local entrepreneur and founding owner of Ease Plumbing and Air, has made it his mission to reinvent the way people see dirty jobs, train the next generation of tradesmen, and give employees the opportunity to become owners and gain equity in the company. Ease Plumbing and Air officially opened in 2019 and has been offering top-of-the-line home services to Charlotte, Cornelius, Lake Norman and the surrounding areas ever since. 

From the day its doors opened, Ease Plumbing and Air has experienced extreme growth. Within one year this start-up went from two employees to over 25 trained and skilled technicians and 19 service vehicles. And we’re not stopping there. 

On April 1, 2021, Ease Plumbing will open its second location in Greenville, North Carolina. Aaron Williams, Ease Plumbing and Air’s Neighborhood Market Leader, will be overseeing the daily operations of the Greenville location.

“I want to grow young plumbers in Greenville and also grow the best plumbing service company in eastern North Carolina,” Aaron said. “I’m hoping that through Ease Plumbing and the Neighborhood Market Leader Program, we can change the way that people look at tradespeople.”

The team at Ease Plumbing is excited to offer Greenville residents the highest-quality plumbing services and put their minds at Ease. We will be offering a full range of professional plumbing services including: water line repairs and installations, sewer repairs and installations, faucet repairs, shower and tub repair and installations, gas line installs, well pump services, water heater service and installs and more.

If you have any questions about Ease Plumbing and Air’s Neighborhood Market Leader program or want to be one of the first Greenville resident’s to have your mind put at Ease, give Ease Plumbing a call today. 

Griffin Brothers Companies is proud to have Ease Plumbing and Air as part of the ZoomUp team and is excited to see it become the largest employee-owned home service business in the nation. 

The women of Viva Electric truly do brighten the lives of those around them. Every day, and especially today on International Women’s Day, we want to highlight the women behind the scenes of Charlotte’s top-rated electrical company. 

Maegan Giler is one of Viva Electric’s co-founders. She and Jimmy were high school sweethearts and are now proud parents and stellar business partners. It was in 2017 that Maegan and Jimmy decided to go out on their own and start Charlotte’s newest electrical company. 

“We are one big family. We care greatly about our employees, about our clientele, and we want to just light up everyone’s life. We want to do what we can to make everyone’s lives better,” Maegan said. 

With Maegan’s leadership at the helm of Viva Electric, it’s no wonder that our teams provide outstanding customer service and are lighting up the lives of those in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area. 

But Maegan is not the only woman on the leadership team at Viva, Michelle Cooke is Viva Electric’s Director of Operations. 

Michelle echoes Maegan’s goals of wanting to make Viva a place where employees and customers are made to feel like family. Her willingness to work hard, to pursue greater achievements and to shine a light wherever she goes is the spark that puts Viva ahead. 

But where would we be without the voice of Viva? Jayna Kirkpatrick is Viva Electric’s First Impressions Ambassador and Lead Dispatch. “I try to give them exceptional service by shedding ‘light’ on solving their electrical problems,” she said. “It’s not always pleasant having something break in your home so I’m glad I can be a friendly voice to answer the phone and help our clients.”

Morgan Smith is also one of Viva’s First Impression Ambassadors and helps to light up the lives of those who call looking for an electrical solution. As first impressions ambassadors, Jayna and Morgan help to figure out how Viva Electric can help and then they get the right people out to the job. 

Maegan, Michelle, Morgan and Jayna are paving the way and shining the light for future women to take leadership roles, enter into the world of electricians and succeed in whatever they put their minds too. 

Today, on International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate the women of Viva. Thank you, ladies, for all that you do for Viva Electric, for lighting up the lives of everyone you meet and for being you. 

March is celebrated as Women’s History Month and on International Women’s Day we’d like to celebrate the women at Ease Plumbing and Air who make a difference in our company. 

According to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.5% of plumbers were women nationwide. Although women account for more than 50% of all workers within several industries, they are widely underrepresented in the trades. 

But this doesn’t have to be the case. 

High school students were recently polled in a National Kitchen & Bath Association survey and the data found that the interest in a skilled trade career was almost as high for females as it was for males. 

Trades are an excellent opportunity for women to build a successful career without accumulating substantial debt from a four-year college. While the exact number can vary based on the market, the average salary for a plumber in the U.S. in 2019 reached $56,486. 

Not only this, but the average age of tradesmen is now a person in his/her 50s. The demand for skilled tradesmen is increasing but the supply is decreasing.  USA Today reports that by 2028, 3 million trade jobs will be open. 

Many women are seeing the need for skilled technicians and also how you can make a good living while doing it. Women like Nikki are taking advantage of this opportunity. 

 

Nikki is one of Ease Plumbing and Air’s skilled apprentices. On the job, she is constantly praised for her workmanship, knowledge and professionalism. Her uplifting spirit is contagious and makes everyone want to do their job better. 

It comes as no surprise that there are other women on our team who put in work behind the scenes. Women like Jayna , Tasha, Alyssa, Morgan and Stephanie.

These ladies are the voice of Ease, they’re the ones who help our technicians get to you. Without them, the Eases wouldn’t have a voice. As first impressions ambassadors, they help to figure out how Ease can help you and then they get the right people out to the job. When you call with a plumbing or HVAC issue, Jayna, Tasha and Stephanie will be the first people to put your mind at Ease. 

Ease Plumbing and Air wouldn’t be able to provide top-of-the line plumbing and HVAC service to the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area if it were not for the women on our team. Today and every day, we are thankful to have these women on our team. 

Nikki, Jayna, Morgan, Alyssa, Tasha and Stephanie, thank you for putting our minds at Ease.