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Jack Lehr 50th Anniversary

Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling, and Electric Celebrates 50 Years of Service in the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley Community Celebrates 50 Years with Jack Lehr.

Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling, and Electric has been a cornerstone of the Lehigh Valley Community for 50 years. This anniversary is a cause to celebrate and reflect on the years of service, community involvement, and family memories. As such, we will take a ride through a half-century of company history and important milestones. Jack Lehr has stood behind its values of honesty, fair pricing, and integrity. They’ve also built long-lasting relationships with their customers and neighbors, cementing a legacy that will continue to grow as they look toward the next chapter of this ever-evolving business.

“Jack Lehr is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and we want to offer our congratulations on this achievement and our endorsement of a company that genuinely cares to be a good citizen in its community,” says Lois Gadek, President of Animals in Distress.

Humble Beginnings

The Lehr Family Home and original site of Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling, and Electric

Jack Lehr was a World War II veteran and family man when he opened Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling, and Electric in 1973. After he returned home from the war, he trained in HVAC before opening his own company. Ed Lehr, Jack’s son and the current president, remembers the day he found out about his father’s ambitions. “One day, when I was home from college, my mother said, ‘By the way, your father doesn’t work for Donmoyer Electric anymore. He’s going into business for himself.” The news came as a bit of a surprise, but it was clear that Jack was invested in his work and community. Fifty years later, the company has grown but has remained true to its original values and dedication to the community they serve.

The new business started out small. “My dad got a big truck and started doing electrical and air conditioning work,” Ed says. Jack’s wife, Ruth, was there from day one. She handled the books, accounting, and other behind-the-scenes work. Her contributions were an invaluable part of the company’s day-to-day operations. “I remember that he ran the company out of the family home until a local masonry contractor built a small warehouse for us.”

Jack Lehr Heating Cooling and Electric First Location Circa 1980s

Jack’s sons Ralph Jr. and Ed helped out until they took on full-time roles in the company. After completing his engineering degree, Ed worked as a project engineer for a local chemical company. Eventually, Ed joined his father and brother in the business. “In 1980, I started installing HVAC equipment. And then eventually servicing systems as well,” he says.

Later, Ed’s wife, Karen Lehr, worked part-time while their children, Tiffany, Alison, and Ryan, were young. When she joined the company full-time in 1994, Ruth helped Karen get up to speed on accounting and bookkeeping. “Things changed a lot over the time that I was there,” Karen remembers the early days working behind the scenes. “When we first started, there were only three people in the office. Now we have about ten people. We used two-way radios to dispatch people. I used to have to type out paychecks. Those were different times!”

Once they were in high school, the youngest Lehr children worked during summer breaks. Ryan spent time in the field as an electrical helper. Even the Lehr’s dogs, Reina, Maddie, and later, Finn, became fixtures at the office. “Someone would come in the door, and one of the dogs would calmly bring them a toy. They are very effective greeters because everyone starts smiling when they see them,” Ed recalls

Finn

Jack Lehr Throughout the Years, Company Milestones, and More

  • 1973- Jack Lehr opens Jack Lehr Heating Cooling and Electric. He ran the company out of the family home for the first year
  • 1974- They move into their new location
  • 1978- Jack’s oldest son, Ralph Jr., joins the company
  • 1980- The current president, Ed Lehr, joins the company
  • Circa 1985- They start offering design-build commercial services with four-story office buildings in Fogelsville
  • 1988- The company moves to its current location at 2841 West Emaus Avenue, Allentown, PA
  • 1994- Karen Lehr officially takes on a full-time role as bookkeeper
  • 2003- Jack Lehr officially retires but stayed on in an advisory role
  • 2005- Founder and family patriarch Jack Lehr passes away
  • 2007- Ralph Jr. retires and sells his company shares to Ed
  • 2008- Future president Clint Solliday joins the company as a technician
  • 2020- Karen officially retires
  • July 31st, 2021, the company becomes 100% employee-owned. Now, all profits benefit all employees.
  • December 2023- Ed plans to retire at the end of 2023. He will pass the legacy over to Clint Solliday, who will become the next President

Company Values

Jack Lehr Technicians

Jack Lehr was a man of his word and built the company on values like honesty and fair pricing. In the 1970s, this philosophy may have seemed commonplace, but these days, it’s no longer a given. When you have to wait hours to talk to a customer service representative, thoughtful customer service seems like something from a bygone era. Yet, integrity, accountability, open communication, and transparency are at the heart of how Jack Lehr does business.
Future president Clint Solliday will tell you that even little gestures help build trust with their consumers. “We were on a call and noticed the trash cans at the end of the driveway,” Solliday recalls. “We rolled them up to the garage while we were walking. Why not? Right?” Those customers were shocked by the rare yet thoughtful gesture. But that philosophy permeates everything they do. “Always over-deliver. It doesn’t cost you that much.”

Jack Lehr knows the importance of treating customers and coworkers with respect and dignity. On July 31, 2021, it became 100% employee-owned. Under this agreement, employees now have shares in the company, meaning that all profits flow to benefit the employees,” Now, coworkers have a vested interest in the company’s long-term growth. For Ed, the decision just made sense. “In this arrangement, the better the company does, the better the employees do.”

Cornerstones of the Community

For many reasons, customers and clients keep returning to Jack Lehr Heating Cooling and Electric. Why? Because the company is an actual fixture of the Lehigh Valley landscape. “Our customers know they will run into us at the grocery store, the movie theater, or the bowling alley. You will see us at your kid’s Little League game because we all live in the community that we serve,” says Solliday. This very fact sets Jack Lehr apart from its corporate competitors. “We’re keeping all of our money in the local economy. The profits stay in the Lehigh Valley.”

Because the company is so involved in the community, they began to look for ways to help their friends and neighbors. The Jack Lehr Warmth for Warriors Program was created to help active-duty military and their families. “We maintain and repair heating systems for deployed military and no cost to them,” says Ed Lehr. Deployment is a difficult time for military families who may find themselves struggling to make ends meet while their loved ones are away. “When one person serves, the whole family serves,” explains Solliday. “We try to give a little peace of mind to the family left behind.”

Donations Gathered for Animals in Distress

They’ve also partnered with a local no-kill animal shelter, Animals in Distress, to provide much-needed donations for their adoptable pets. “We collect everything they need, from food to cameras, scratching posts, you name it,” says Solliday. The nonprofit shelter has to cover its entire budget on donations and, therefore, must spend every dollar wisely. “The Jack Lehr team has been very generous in collecting food and other items for the shelter,” says Gadek. As if that weren’t enough, the team at Jack Lehr went above and beyond to help the shelter while also bringing some fun into the mix. They hold two contests on social media, one for the “Cutest Dog” and another for the “Cutest Cat.” All proceeds go to the shelter to help with operating expenses. These donations mean a lot to Gadek, “That kindness is definitely above and beyond what most of us would expect a business to be doing for one of its customers.”

Lifelong Customers

Indeed, many Lehigh Valley residents have been lifelong customers. Why? Because the focus has always been on building longstanding relationships and partnerships with their clients. Dave Poloni can attest to the value of forming a longstanding relationship with Jack Lehr. Poloni is the president of a local construction management company and has worked with Jack Lehr for over thirty years. “Ed Lehr has continued his family’s honest and responsive customer service tradition. The two words that best sum up Jack Lehr Heating, Cooling, & Electric’s performance are “dependable and consistent,” Poloni raves.

Jack Lehr has also been caring for the HVAC system at Animals in Distress. “The team at Jack Lehr has been reliable, smart, and prompt in providing service to keep the systems operating and our shelter animals safe. Plus, their workmanship is always top-notch.” Being able to call for service on holidays, evenings, and weekends also means that the shelter can continue operating year-round. With over 300 animals in residence, reliable HVAC is necessary for these orphans to survive. Gadek also appreciates how thoughtful the technicians are regarding their daily operations. “As a local nonprofit, we appreciate being able to do business with another local company that has its roots in the Lehigh Valley as we do,” says Gadek.

“Jack Lehr has been our preferred heating and cooling business for over 15 years,” says longtime customer Nixa Narvaez. “The staff is professional and always willing to find the time to schedule a tech to service the system. The technicians are so knowledgeable and meticulous when cleaning the system. They never leave any debris. They are amazing.”

A Jack Lehr Technician Works on an HVAC Unit

Passing the Torch

After 50 years, it’s time to look toward the company’s future. After Karen retired in 2020 and the company became employee-owned, it seemed like a good time to transition to a new president. Ed feels confident that Solliday will keep the company values and family legacy intact. “Trust is built over time. We have to earn it from every customer,” says Solliday. While there may be some minor changes to business operations, Solliday is firm in his dedication to the company values. “We don’t look at people as just customers; it’s a partnership, and we want to build lifelong relationships. When something goes wrong, they can pick up that phone and know you’ll be taken care of.”

What To Expect

Our Guarantees

We offer superior service backed by unmatched guarantees, including a 72 Degree Guarantee, No Surprises Guarantee, and more!

Upfront
Pricing

We will tell you from the start what the price will be. You’ll never have surprise fees or costs when you work with us.

Trained
Technicians

Our HVAC-trained technicians are skilled professionals. You can be confident they will do the job well.

You're in Control

With us, you’re in control. We help customize your HVAC systems to fit your needs.

Commitment
to Community

Jack Lehr is committed to giving back. You’ll frequently find us out in the community doing what we can to make it better. We’re local, employee-owned, and passionate about our region.

Convenient
Financing

Get the service you need when you need it through our flexible options including special financing with approved credit!

Our Guarantees

We offer superior service backed by unmatched guarantees, including a 72 Degree Guarantee, No Surprises Guarantee, and more!

Upfront
Pricing

We will tell you from the start what the price will be. You’ll never have surprise fees or costs when you work with us.

Trained
Technicians

Our HVAC-trained technicians are skilled professionals. You can be confident they will do the job well.

You're in Control

With us, you’re in control. We help customize your HVAC systems to fit your needs.

Commitment to Community

Jack Lehr is committed to giving back. You’ll frequently find us out in the community doing what we can to make it better. We’re local, employee-owned, and passionate about our region.

Easy
Financing

Get the service you need when you need it through our flexible options including special financing with approved credit!

Our Reviews

I have used the yearly maintenance agreement for three years, have not had any issues with my system and have been very pleased with Jack Lehr overall. From the office staff to the service techs, ever... Nancy W.
This was the BEST EXPERIENCE we’ve ever had WITH ANY CONTRACTOR of any type, EVER. I would recommend them to anyone for any of the services they offer. From the moment I placed the call to request a... Shellie K.
Jack Lehr Heating Cooling & Electric gave me a quote for their heating & A/C service. They were excellent. The representative that was here was doing his job. He was extremely efficient, profe... Dave J.
The work that they did was excellent! A number of workers worked through the day and they cleaned up after themselves. William H.
Very smooth, from start to finish. Timeline followed perfectly. All persons involved were very helpful in answering our questions and doing the job. Installation only took 1 day. Mary H.
Of the three firms that I had quote me for replacing my heat pump and air handler, Jack Lehr was the firm that gave me the greatest confidence that the work would be done with minimum headache. Their ... Mark M.
I like that they had good reviews, not just Angie’s List but a couple of people that I know had suggested them. They were very professional. They went out of their way to see that our needs were met... Sharon N.
The service tech was prompt, efficient and courteous. Donna H.