After his honorable discharge from the United States Navy in 1965, Stewart Lucas, the company founder and president, began his career in heating and air conditioning with Stahl-Ryder, one of the largest HVAC contractors on the east coast.
Lucas began as a helper in commercial installation where he learned the hands-on tasks of day-to-day operations. Due to his physical strength and earnest determination, it was not long before others noticed that Lucas was a natural-born leader. He married his childhood sweetheart, Hilda Jones, and their daughter and son were born in 1966 and 1967.
By the mid-1970s, Lucas had become a project manager, traveling from state to state working on grocery stores, schools and office buildings. He learned how to motivate employees, deal with other trades, balance budgets, and satisfy customers and contractors.
It was his dedication to one employer for nearly 15 years that prepared Lucas to venture into his own endeavor after the dissolve of Stahl-Ryder. So, in 1979, Lucas founded Stewart’s Heating and Air Conditioning.
In 1991, Lucas’ daughter, Lori, and her husband, Chris Thorne, began their career with the company. Thorne was enrolled in college when Lucas offered him the opportunity to help grow the company and learn first-hand all aspects of the HVAC industry — from installation helper, to sales, management and service. He acquired a North Carolina residential heating contactors license in 1996 and in 2000, a commercial mechanical contractor’s license. Chris Thorne is currently Vice-President and General Manager and handles the daily operations of the company.
Stewart’s began an expansive growth pattern, including new residential construction, commercial growth, indoor air quality and retail sales, and quickly outgrew their original location at the Lucas home. In 2001, the company found their new home in a 12,000-square-foot facility in Apex, NC.
Stewart’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has become an industry leader in the Triangle area, highly-respected by local and state inspectors as well as design engineers.
Stewart’s was recently awarded the President’s Call to Service Award for their work on the Hero Home in Operation Coming Home for our troops. They donated more than five systems to Habitat for Humanity homes, and participated in 2 Leukemia and Lymphoma homes. They also donated the HVAC system for the Jimmy V Foundation home built in 2006.
Stewart’s supports their local Chamber of Commerce, the City of Apex and all surrounding Triangle counties and communities. Some special contribution efforts to the Stewart’s family are Alzheimer’s, Cancer and Heart associations.