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Punbar LLC of Houston, TX was recently named Small Contractor of the Year by National Comfort Institute, Inc. (NCI) during their 2019 annual conference in Orlando, FL. The High-Performance HVAC Summit 2019 was held from April 15-17th. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in Performance-Based Contracting*, quality workmanship, and dedication to customer service. Companies in this award category achieve just under $2 million in sales annually.

NCI has two other Contractor of the Year categories that break out as follows:

• Large – achieve more than $6 million in sales annually

• Medium– achieves between $2 million and $6 million in sales.

Punbar LLC is a residential new construction, retrofit and replacement contracting firm serving HVAC customers in and around the Greater Houston area. Company Manager Ronald Amaya says Punbar has five employees and fields three installation and service vehicles.

The four-year-old company has experienced steady growth, which Amaya attributes to their customers’ problems. Customer service, he says, is the direct result of training. “Our growth and success are based on a companywide commitment to training and staying on the cutting edge,” he says.

“Solving customer comfort and efficiency issues are based on measuring and diagnosing what is happening in their HVAC system and in their homes. As our trainers at National Comfort Institute (NCI) always say, ‘if you don’t measure, you’re just guessing.’”

2019 NCI Small Contractor of the Year: Punbar LLC. Accepting the award is Ronald Amaya and Diego Guerrero.

Amaya adds, “Consumers deserve to receive the comfort and efficiency they are promised and pay for. What better way to provide that than through measured and verifiable proof? That is what NCI teaches. And that is what we practice.”


Rob Falke, president of NCI, presented Punbar’s award during the closing banquet of the High-Performance HVAC Summit. He explained that NCI selects its Contractors of the Year based on some very well-defined criteria:

• The company must be in the process of or already completed implementing Performance-Based testing as prescribed by the National Comfort Institute

• The company must have in place or be in the process of having in place a Performance-Based business culture

• The company must have a strong service department and must sell and maintain service agreements

• As part of the Home Performance approach, the company must target HVAC system renovation sales in addition to equipment replacement sales

• Training must be part of the company culture.

So why is this important to consumers? Why should they choose an NCI-certified contractor like Punbar LLC over other contracting firms? Falke says they should use the same reasons they choose:

• A certified public accountant

• A certified realtor

• An AMA-certified doctor

• A bar-certified lawyer.

In these professions, the designations come to people who have studied, tested, and achieved a level of competence that resulted in receiving a professional certification.

“NCI-certified contractors have attended classes, learned how to use specialized tools and instruments, and are kept constantly up-to-date on the latest diagnostic and repair skills. An NCI-certified technician has passed a recognized testing process which validates his or her understanding of the technology and procedures used in this field. In addition, NCI monitors their certified contractors and requires recertification every two years,” Falke concludes.

THE NATIONAL COMFORT INSTITUTE (NCI) is the nation’s premier Performance-Based training, certification, and membership organization focused on helping heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical contractors to grow their businesses and become more profitable. To date, the organization has trained and certified more than 25,000 industry professionals in a variety of disciplines including system diagnostics and design, indoor air quality, air balancing, carbon monoxide analysis, and combustion efficiency. To learn more, please visit the NCI website at

*NCI coined the phrase “Performance-Based Contracting™”, a unique approach to managing a contracting business through accountability and measurable results. During the past two decades, NCI has trained and certified more than 25,000 HVAC professionals.

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