HARTFORD – When David Bearden bought controlling interest in Air Performance in March of 2011, it had done only $105,000 in total business that year and owners were getting ready to close the doors.
Only 10 employees remained then. Today, Air Performance employs 41 workers in Hartford and would like to add 20 more in the near future.
The recent success of the company has its CEO, and Geneva County lawmakers, ecstatic.
“I’m just tired of seeing everybody that graduates from Hartford going somewhere else to get a job,” said District 2 Geneva County Commissioner Gary Shields, whose district includes Hartford. “This is something to be proud of.”
Air Performance makes aluminum grills, sunshades and louvers – sets of angled slats designed to let air and light through – for commercial buildings. Bearden said the company has clients around the United States, including several high-profile buildings in New York. Bearden said the company is currently shipping louvers for developments near New York’s 42nd Street and Park Avenue. Other current customers include the new pediatric care facility at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Bearden credits the turnaround of Air Performance to dedicated workers as well as a “quality product, a great price and great performance.”
It also took a personal risk from Bearden, who said he and an investment partner put about $1 million into the business to pay old debts and put the business in position to serve customers.
The gamble appears to be working.
“Our backlog of business for 2014 is already greater than all the work we did in 2013,” Bearden said.
Bearden said Air Performance’s revenue has grown an average of 63.2 percent each year since 2011.
Bearden lives in Brentwood, Tenn., where one of two Air Performance sales and marketing offices are located. The other office is located in Pelham. However, Bearden spends about two weeks each month in Hartford and said he is committed to investing in the local community.
Bearden said he operates Air Performance from a faith-based perspective and is committed to tithing profits from the business into Hartford. Last Christmas, the business donated $4,000 each to four area churches and another $4,000 to senior-related activities.
“It’s not my business. It’s not my money. I’m just a caretaker, ” Bearden said.
Along with the additional employees, Air Performance could invest in new technology this year and would like to move forward with an additional facility at the current Geneva County Industrial Park location to serve its largest client.
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