By Jacob Mathias
Andrea Jensen, president of Tri-City Refrigeration in Wisconsin Rapids was destined for the business from birth.
Tri-City was founded in 1945 but Jensen’s parents bought the business in 1974 and has run it ever since. Tri-City offers installation and service of commercial and residential refrigeration, heating, cooling, duct cleaning and sheet metal fabrication. Jensen started working in the family business full-time in 1999 when she graduated with a degree in business administration from UW-Stevens Point and took over as president in 2009 after her father passed away. She runs the business with her brother, Scott Virnig, who is vice president.
“In the beginning I sort of needed a job after college and my dad always said he was going to get his return on investment one way or the other,” she said. “I started working for him and I really enjoyed it.”
Jensen originally thought she’d go away to college and get a job away from the family business but soon after starting school decided that wasn’t for her. She worked her way up in the family business before she was named president and now as she says “the buck stops here.”
She said she enjoys being the head of company and taking on the responsibility that comes with it. Her favorite part of the job is making sure customers get and know exactly what they want and need for their home or business because the average owner might not know what is possible with their heating and cooling system.
“The HVAC world changes all the time,” said Jensen.
Heating and cooling systems have become more efficient in the past years but that’s not all that’s changed according to Jensen who said the newest innovations include Wi-Fi controlled thermostats, UV lights and more.
“They can access their home from their smart phone and turn up the temperature on the way home or they can check it when they’re on vacation in Florida in February,” she said. “It’s pretty cool.”
She said customers are very interested in the new internet enabled heating and cooling systems.
Jensen takes a lot of pride in her business’s appearance and reputation. All of her employees are fully uniformed and focused on protecting customer’s homes while they work.
Tri-City is also a Certified Wisconsin Women Owned Business. Jensen said its unusual for a woman to own an HVAC business but it is becoming more common in the industry.
“We’re still unusual in the man’s world when you think about it but we’re getting more and more female owners,” she said. “We’re still definitely in the minority.”
Jensen lives in Wisconsin Rapids her husband three boys ages nine, six and two. She enjoys bowling and spends much of her time with her children.
Tri-City Refrigeration is located at 3019 St. Hwy. 73 N in Wisconsin Rapids and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM.