Texas AirSystems was born on the back of a Harley-Davidson Sportster.
On a cold March morning in 1972, Dan Ruehs was leaving his Michigan family home at the age of 21. He had just graduated from Michigan Tech with a mechanical engineering degree, sold everything he owned, and used the cash to buy a Harley Sportster. Inspired by “Then Came Bronson”, a 1969 television series, and with dreams of the California coastline in his head, Dan got on his motorcycle and set out on iconic Route 66.
The road wasn’t easy – Dan spent cold nights sleeping on benches in state parks, got stuck in blizzards, and had already racked up close to a thousand miles of dusty highway asphalt before his story took an even more interesting turn a few months in: after leaving his route in Missouri and heading South to outrun an impending tornado, Dan ended up in the parking lot of a Dallas fast food restaurant late one night. A stranger approached him to let him know that his bike’s taillight was out. When Dan expressed that he didn’t have a spare, the man unscrewed one of his own from his truck, handed it to him and drove away. That small taste of southern hospitality left Dan wondering… was everyone in Texas like this? After riding three blocks to the home of an old friend who took him in, fed him, and offered him a warm place to sleep for the month, he was convinced to bring his coastal quest to an end and put down roots on Texas soil.
After nine years working for a local construction firm, Dan parted ways for a new adventure – and while not on the back of a Harley, it still seemed just as bold at the time. In 1987, Dan bought Marshall/Trim-Aire, a small, Dallas-based commercial HVAC manufacturers’ representative founded in 1978. After changing the name to Texas AirSystems, he set his focus on cultivating a great team of great people and making sure that those people were empowered to take care of their customers – an idea he attributes to his years in all aspects of the construction industry. Dan’s greatest desire was to build something that would last beyond him – and not only last, but thrive, holding and perfecting the same values he instilled in the beginning. When it was time to hand over the reins, Dan passed his ownership to a handpicked team of leaders, ensuring that the fiercely independent legacy of Texas AirSystems would be left in good hands and put on a path of growth for the future.
The foundation that Dan built for Texas AirSystems is the rock on which it still stands today, over 40 years later. We still seek out the best people, look for ways to empower them to care for their customers, and elevate character and culture over sales and money. Dan said it best himself: “The thread that runs through this entire industry is the partnerships we build”. Today, five additional office locations and the representation of many more manufacturer lines later, his legacy still stands whenever and wherever we interact with our partners – and we hope that it shows.