Contractors Keepin’ it Cool for the Coalition!


Have you ever been in a car with no air conditioning, in the middle of a Florida summer day? It’s miserable. All you can think about is getting to your destination so you can get out of the car. You probably speed, run a few stop signs, and get angry at the person driving slow in front of you. Conditions are terrible and you’re not set up for success. When you get to your destination, you’re angry, dripping with sweat, and you don’t really pay attention to whatever it is that you’ve traveled to, for the first couple of hours – or at least until you dry.

Can you imagine trying to work, learn or even get your life back on track in these kinds of conditions?

Well that was the condition that our residents and staff at Coalition for the Homeless sometimes had to live, work, and learn in for a number of years. Fourteen of the 15 HVAC units (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) in the Center for Women and Families were more than 20 years old and running on borrowed time. “It’s been a problem year-round but it’s the most brutal in the summer,” said our Director of Facilities Mike Licari. “The air conditioning would constantly stop working, and we’d have to hire a technician to come and fix it almost every day. That’s a LOT of money spent on old units.”

After learning about the lack of funding to fix this problem, Coalition Board member Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative at Universal Parks & Resorts, was determined to remedy the problem quickly through a partnership with a number of their contractors and a $10,000 grant from the Universal Orlando Foundation.

Soon after, “Contractors Keepin’ it Cool for the Coalition!” was born. This wonderful and generous collaboration consists of PCL Construction Services, Inc. and project manager, Billy Matthesen;  Balfour Beatty Construction; Comprehensive Energy Services, Inc.; TRANE; Randall Mechanical Incorporated; Energy Air, Inc.; Service Complete Electric; Crane Corporation Rental and – of course – Universal Orlando Foundation.  Together, they donated all the equipment and labor to make this possible.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, 2014 this super group of about 30 people came on property and worked tediously to remove the 14 old HVAC units and hoist & install brand new ones in their place. By the end of the weekend,they made a miracle happen!  And they’ve even come back in the past few days to make some tweaks!

We want to thank each and every company and volunteer for donating their time and services to create a better environment for our residents and help position them for success. They can now focus less on sweating and more on studying, working hard, and taking the steps they need toward self-sufficiency!

And needless to say, the energy efficiency of all these new units will provide a HUGE savings in our monthly utility bill. And that benefits everyone!