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Commercial HVAC Spotlight: Harbor Athletic Club

Written by Kendall Richards | April 2, 2018


It’s not unusual to see Harbor Athletic Club busy, even during a workday morning, with members going to classes or working out. Harbor has a large Middleton facility with three indoor pools and one outdoor pool, sports courts, cycling and multiple program offerings that range from Pilates to hot yoga.

Commercial HVAC Spotlight: Harbor Athletic Club

“We have something for everyone,” said Paul Ernst, chairman of the board for Harbor Athletic Club. “We even started a total fitness program that moms can do with their babies in strollers.”

Ernst started Harbor Athletic Club 34 years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. After high school, Ernst served a tour of duty in the Vietnam War with the 82nd Airborne Division as a machine gunner. Just before he enlisted in 1969, he took the opportunity to go to opening day at Wrigley Field in Chicago. “I remember seeing future Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams play for the Chicago Cubs and beat the Philadelphia Phillies,” said Ernst.

After his military service, he worked in pharmaceutical sales.

Harbor Athletic Club

Left to right: Paul Ernst, chairman of the board for Harbor Athletic Club; Debbie Wuksinich, comfort consultant at All Comfort Services; Todd Passini, general manager at Harbor Athletic Club.

He realized he had more passion for playing racquetball than sales and left his job to manage racquetball clubs in Chicago, Waukesha, and South Milwaukee. It was only a few years after living in the Milwaukee area when his friend Bruce Thompson contacted him to run and own a racquetball club in Middleton.

Ernst moved to Middleton and Harbor Athletic Club with an existing racquetball court, indoor pool, and programs for seniors. Ernst was the first in the area to add a therapy warm water pool. He also helped dig the outdoor pool and added on space over the years for more equipment and classes. “Our

motto is ‘Fitness is a Lifelong Pursuit’,” said Ernst. “We started with 237 members and we now have a staff of 237 and 10,000 members.”

Harbor Athletic Club HVAC Needs

The Harbor Athletic Club building is challenging from an HVAC standpoint because of the requirements to maintain humidity, heating, and air quality.

Ernst initially used a local HVAC commercial company that has been out of business for many years. “I wasn’t happy with the heating company we had because the bills were very high and the repairs weren’t being done,” said Ernst. “I felt like each time a tech arrived they’d have to start over with knowledge of our system. We were told by the old company that we needed more equipment and we decided to try All Comfort Services.”

In, 2005 Ernst signed up for a commercial maintenance plan with All Comfort Services.

Jim Brander was assigned as the technician to work on the equipment. Brander is a career HVAC technician that has been working with All Comfort Services since 1990. His first task was to get familiar with all the equipment at Harbor Athletic Club. “Paul is really on top of maintenance recommendations and keeps his customers’ comfort in mind,” said Brander. “Trust goes both ways; we both work together well. It’s been a true partnership.”

Ernst says that when everything was fine tuned he realized he didn’t need to purchase the extra equipment that was recommended by his original HVAC company.

“When Jim worked on the equipment he tuned up all the equipment and over a year it went from 60% efficiency to 80% efficiency,” said Ernst. “We are saving $3,000 to $4,000 per year on our power bill.”

For more information about Harbor Athletic Club, visit their website at https://www.harborathletic.com

For more information about how All Comfort Services can maintain your heating, cooling, plumbing, and electricalresidential or commercial needs, call 608-838-7300 or email info@allcomfortservices.com.

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