Therma Success Based on Quality, Service and Employees
When Joe and Nicki Parisi established Therma Corporation in 1967, they could sense that the region was poised for considerable growth. Yet even they had little idea that the relatively quiet Santa Clara Valley would one day be home to the economic engine it is today. Today, Therma is the largest HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) provider in the Bay Area, employing more pipe fitters, plumbers, and sheet metal craftsmen than any other mechanical contractor in the Bay Area.
Therma moved into its current San Jose location in 1998, taking over what had previously been the International Paper building. After a major retrofitting, Therma transformed the nearly 300,000 square foot property into a modernized facility, housing the company’s entire manufacturing, distribution, and administration operations. The facility boasts a series of massive fabrication shops—which Joe reckons total around 150,000 square feet—that provides the capacity for Therma to take on the biggest and most custom of projects, including many notable tech headquarters, which has become an operational specialty. Drawing upon Joe and Nicki’s heritage and cultural interest, the cafeteria at Therma has been retrofitted to resemble an Italian piazza. The building even contains a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David, imported all the way from Italy.
If you ask Mr. Parisi what sets Therma apart from other companies, he will tell you it is the company’s unrelenting focus on providing a great place to work for employees. “We take good care of our employees so they can take good care of our customers,” says Joe. “If I don’t have committed employees I won’t have committed customers, and if I don’t have customers I really don’t have much work to do.” This operational philosophy has paid dividends for the company, with many Therma employees having a tenure over ten years.
Since the company’s inception Therma has never been shy to deviate from conventional wisdom. The company was free of cubicles long before it was a Valley trend, and the energized and collaborative culture of Therma is apparent when one surveys its vast and open administrative floor. In 1998 President Bill Clinton held a roundtable at Therma to focus attention on the company’s long history of “work smart” culture. At the event, Mr. Parisi spoke to an engaged crowd about how each employee contributes ten cents from their hourly wages toward a training fund that supports continuous learning and skills certification for employees. This culture of collaboration and professional development has helped Therma provide consistency in its services and earn a reputation of being best-in-class.
Like its commitment to its employees, Therma’s connection to San Jose is deep-rooted, having continually operated within the City for nearly 50 years. “We’re tied to the community,” says Joe. “Just like our customers, our employees are all over, and San Jose provides the perfect location for doing work across the Bay Area.” This connection to the San Jose community also comes in the way of philanthropy, where Joe and Nicki are well known for their generous contributions to local non-profits and encouraging employees to give back however they can.
When asked what has sustained him for nearly 50 years in business, Mr. Parisi says that it is being able to come to work every day with his life partner Nicki and having wonderful employees that motivate him to take on new projects. With Valley real estate as hot as it is, there certainly will be plenty of work to keep Therma’s employees busy for a very long time.