Rio Grande City, Texas, is a small town of approximately 14,000 residents, located on the Texas-Mexico border, along the banks of the Rio Grande River, about 40 miles west of McAllen, Tex.
While this beautiful little town offers much to those who live here, it’s claim to fame is as the U.S. town that holds the record for the highest recorded temperature of 108ﹾ F for the month of March in the United States, which was set in 1954.
Rio Grande City is where Marcos Saenz calls home. Because he understands how hot it gets in these parts, and how that heat can impact lives, including that of his own family, Marcos has made HVAC/R his mission in life.
At 5 feet, 11 in., weighing in at 300 lbs., Marcos admits that he’s a big guy. “I get it,” he says. “I understand what it means to be hot. So that’s why when I see others who need my help, I know that I’m making a difference in making people’s lives better.”
In his first year as an HVAC/R tech, Marcos does more than keeping people cool. He also keeps Texas cookin’. Working for Commercial Kitchen Parts & Service, which has operations in San Antonio, Austin, McAllen and Corpus Christi, Marcos installs and services refrigeration units, freezers, fryers, and ovens for restaurants from Laredo to Corpus Christi. He’s one of 11 HVAC/R techs who works out of Commercial Kitchen’s McAllen office, which serves a range of customers, including independent restaurants, franchise restaurants, food trucks, and food processing operations.
“I really love working for Commercial Kitchen Parts & Service,” says Marcos. “It’s a big company with a small company feel. I have learned so much while working here. They make an effort to train us really well, and to surround us with great techs who really care about doing their best, and helping me succeed.”
After serving as an electrician with the U.S. Navy Seabees for several years right out of high school, Marcos spent several years as an electrician, welder and plumber’s assistant as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do with his life, while at the same time, raising a growing family. With his G.I. Bill benefits, he decided to attend South Texas College, a public community college in McAllen, Tex., to learn a trade.
“One day, while I was attending college, I was at home when the air conditioner went out on us,” says Marcos. “My wife and I had twin baby boys, so we had to get that AC fixed. I met the AC repair guy, who told me about his work and the demand for his services. That was my a-ha moment! If you live in our part of the country, HVAC/R techs will always be in demand because of the heat.”
Since then, Marcos has made it his focus to be the best HVAC/R tech in southern Texas.
“I learned a lot during college,” says Marcos, “but the real learning happens every day on the job. That’s one of the things I like best – being a problem solver and making sure that the restaurants we serve have the best performing equipment to serve their customers.”
Marcos attributes his success to the mentors with whom he works – the more experienced HVAC/R techs who have years of experience under their belts. They give Marcos straight, honest answers that are helping 27-year-old Marcos work toward perfecting his craft.
Having good tools is also important. Marcos was first introduced to YELLOW JACKET tools while attending HVAC/R classes at South Texas College.
“One of my instructors introduced me to YELLOW JACKET gauges,” said Marcos. “He said, ‘You can trust YELLOW JACKET. They will not break on you.’ And I know! They are tough! I once dropped by gauge from a second floor. I thought for sure it’s broken. But nope. It did not break and I went right back to work.”
“So I now own a bunch of YELLOW JACKET tools,” he added, which he purchases from Johnstone Supply in Pharr, Tex (McAllen). “Here’s what I’ve come to learn: If you buy quality tools, you won’t be replacing them any time soon. And one thing is for sure, you don’t want to be on a job and one of your tools breaks.”
A great company to work for, good people around him, hardworking tools – for Marcos, it all adds up to a great life for this Texans fan, and father of three boys and two girls, who likes to spend his downtime with his wife eating barbeque and watching movies.
“I know that this is what I was meant to do,” said Marcos. “Everything I’ve done in my life has brought me to this point. I have a purpose – to help people never be hot again. This is great.”