HVAC Distributor Geary Pacific
Launches Learning Management System.
Geary Pacific Employees can choose from a catalog of 200
courses related to products and customer service.
Geary Pacific Corporation, a distributor of Bard heating and
air conditioning equipment, parts and service, belonged to
an industry purchasing cooperative that offered online
learning to its members. Success with the coop’s online
product courses developed by manufacturers led Geary Pacific
to invest in a learning management system (LMS) exclusively
for Geary Pacific. Kelley’s LMS, made by BlueVolt, has 272
users who take, on average, nearly 12 courses from a
catalogue of more than 200 ranging from tutorials on new
products to handling customers.
“Part of our value proposition is having the subject matter
expertise to deliver whatever customers ask for,” adds Matt
Kelley, manager of Internal Training for Geary Pacific. “In
2017, we expanded our employee learning beyond product
knowledge to include training on our processes, everything
from customer service training and computer systems to
coaching our sales people on how to approach customers.”
Geary Pacific is a wholesale distribution business with 25
locations across six states serving HVAC contractors. While
Kelley hasn’t had his LMS running long enough to compare
year-over-year results, he says, “We know if our folks are
informed about products, it equals better customer service;
we’ve already seen successful sales performance.”
John Leh, CEO and lead analyst for Talented Learning, LLC,
an advisory and research firm focused on training and
development, has spent 25 years as both a sales manager and
a researcher. He’s advised hundreds of companies over the
years on how to create a culture of learning.
“From a training perspective, if you help distributors with
the belly-to-belly sales, they will get more volume and a
broader kind of sale because of what they learned about the
products and service,” Leh says.
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By having a more
structured training regimen, Geary Pacific says it has found
turnover decreased and employees happier. Kelley measures that
with a system of performance reviews wherein he asks employees
to: give feedback on their performance; tell him what Geary
Pacific is doing well, and outline short- and long-term goals.
What he’s heard, especially among the company’s 20-somethings,
is that employees want to learn more about the industry and grow
with the company.
The move from sharing an LMS with a cooperative to implementing
something uniquely its own has helped Geary Pacific formalize a
training program and improve reporting. According to Kelley,
having his own system means Geary Pacific can create career
paths tailored to a variety of disciplines.
“If an employee wants to grow with our company and she has, for
example, more of a sales mentality, then we can put her on a
track for sales management,” says Kelley.
Kelley sees his job as transforming training from a cost center
to a strategic asset. And his learning culture is underpinned by
technology that helps him identify employee goals, catalogue his
investment in learning and measure the outcome.
“We want them to understand how to prepare for jobs of
increasing responsibility,” adds Kelley. “Our learning platform
defines those tiers, assigns training and records progress.”
Leh believes it is easier today to gauge the effectiveness of
training by using training technology and CRMs to extract data
and make a correlation between the people a company certifies on
certain products and how much these same employees (or branches)
“Start with a business goal in mind, such as selling more of one
product line. Put together an A-B group of trainees,” advises
Leh, “and look at the 90- and 180-day course completions or
certifications and compare whether your test group is racking up
About BlueVolt Founded in 2002, BlueVolt is a Portland-based
eLearning solutions company that increases sales, builds brand
affinity and enhances employee productivity for channel-oriented
organizations. Along with its learning management system, the
company offers a range of client-focused services, including
course and curriculum development, strategic support,
channel-training innovations, and software integrations that
make learning a strategic asset. BlueVolt serves channel-based
industries that recognize training as a business strategy,
including organizations in the skilled trades and SaaS
To learn more, visit