It was an ordinary weekday morning and Jason Fraser was sitting at his desk, smiling, yet quietly folding and unfolding a small piece of paper. He was, admittedly, a tad bit out of place.
I’m never here,” Fraser laughed while taking a quick glance around. “I prefer my mobile office.”
Three feet away, wife Laurie sat bright-eyed and energetic with their tiny dog, Haus, cradled in her arms. In contrast to her husband – Jason is the proud and hands-on owner of Southern Comfort Mechanical, a popular air conditioning/heating company in Lewisville – Laurie always is in the office doing behind-the-scenes stuff.
She agreed that it’s a rare treat when Jason isn’t feverishly taking care of customers in the field.
“I remember when he would come home late at night with these white salt rings on his shirt from all the sweat. I’d ask him, ‘Geez! Are you OK?’ ” Laurie laughed. “Even now, he’ll be out doing an install and I’ll have another work issue that I need help with…but I can’t get him out of the attic. He is a perfectionist, and he’s determined to make the quality of the work mirror that.”
This is one couple that isn’t afraid of a little hard work.
Jason and Laurie started Southern Comfort Mechanical eight years ago out of their house, which had one small office up front with a single computer. Luckily, they love working with each other. Call them the perfect partnership. Laurie even quit her job as an orthodontics assistant to answer calls, and in the meantime, was eager to learn every nook and cranny of Jason’s craft.
When Jason would come home late at night, they’d burn the midnight oil putting together bids for clients – because that was the only time they had to do it between work and raising a family. Both were learning to run the business
on the fly.
“It was crazy at times, but you do what you have to do,” Laurie said. “Jason would call me when he was subcontracting and say, ‘Hey, we’re hot, please go to the parts store and pick up some collars and dampers and come meet us.’ I’d get there, roll up my sleeves and want to
“It’s become a bit of a joke because we’ll get home together and ask, ‘So, how was your day?’ ”
Now, the once-fledgling company that for a short while required Jason to deliver pizzas during the slow season just to make ends meet, is a 12-hour-a-day job – on a slow day.
Southern Comfort Mechanical provides service to both residential and light commercial customers from the Lewisville and Flower Mound area to Denton and Dallas. The company can service any need and offers the latest in technological advances, including new installations, duct cleaning, Trane Wi-Fi Thermostats and REME Air Purification.
Jason and Laurie have seven employees, not including themselves, and moved into a new office last year.
Actually, the new office is a refurbished home located off Lake Park Road near Lake Park Golf Course, but it fits perfectly with their warm, inviting and “southern hospitality” atmosphere.
The goal, Jason & Laurie said, is to be able to sleep good every night knowing they bent over backwards for a customer to assure their satisfaction
“We are all about honesty and quality all while delivering it with our southern values,” said marketing manager Heather Sides. “Our technicians are the best of the best.”
The goal, Jason and Laurie said, is to be able to sleep well every night knowing they bent over backwards for a customer to assure their satisfaction. Jason got into the business and learned it from scratch while working for a man named Dale Peterson. Because Peterson did everything the right way, it allowed a young Jason to see the bad side of the business by having to fix previous contractors’ shoddy work.
“Sometimes I’ll walk into a homeowner’s house and one of the first things they’ll say is that they’ve always had problems with the system and that they’ve had 10 different companies come out,” Jason said. “You get to checking around and it’s something as simple as a return air duct that’s slightly undersized, and then they say, ‘Funny, you’re the first person to mention this.’ You start to wonder why no one else caught it before. We work for the customer. We don’t do what’s
easiest for us.”
Jason will forever be grateful to Peterson and the work moral he taught Fraser.
Sure, the folks at Southern Comfort Mechanical want to make money. However, it’s not uncommon for longtime technicians like Shane Dendy and Jason Mitchell to call into the office while on a service visit to recommend that they don’t charge the client for a problem that only took five minutes to fix.
And because Laurie prides herself on knowing the business, she has taught Sides and dispatcher Carrie Robinson to do the same. Oftentimes, this allows them to save a client money by troubleshooting issues over the phone.
Southern Comfort Mechanical does not charge overtime and its technicians rotate as the on-call technician for overnight issues.
Jason and Laurie come from a long line of family-owned businesses. Not only was Jason’s dad a hard-working father of six – he worked for 38 years, only calling in sick once the Wednesday before he died – Laurie also comes from an entrepreneur family. That includes her dad, Clyde Fisher, who owns Fisher Realty in Lake Dallas. Her brother, Chris, is the owner of a landscaping company called Southern Services.
It’s their work ethic and determination that Jason and Laurie try to emulate.
“To start from nothing and to build this to where we have it today, I still can’t believe it,” Jason said. “I’d never ask my employees to do something that I wouldn’t do on my own. And I trust my staff. It’s hard for me to let go sometimes because I’ve been doing this for so long, but it makes it easier when I know I have guys working with me who share the same mindset. It’s like they are an extension of me.”
Because of this, the rave reviews continue
to pour in.
Southern Comfort Mechanical is a Best of Denton County winner and also took home Angie’s List’s 2014 Super Service Award. The Fraser family is constantly busy, which says a lot considering they rely more on word of mouth instead of putting a lot of money into advertising.
“We live in this town, and a lot of our customers are now friends who we see at the grocery store,” Laurie said. “I swear, every time Jason sells a new system, the customers continue to call and ask him to dinner or to go ride motorcycles. We’ve developed some really good friendships. We didn’t ask for anything, we just did right by people and it just started happening.”
It has allowed Jason and Laurie to see their dream become a reality.
“I’ve told Laurie that if we ever started struggling like we did in the beginning, it could always go back to just her and I,” Jason said.
“A lot of people ask how I can stand working with my wife. We have a different type of relationship, though, and I can’t imagine working with
anyone else. Work wouldn’t be as fun.”
By Steve Gamel
Historically, grandparents have played a vital role in the development, nurturing, and care-giving of their grandchildren. Questions tend to arise however, when a grandchild’s parents separate, divorce, pass away, become incarcerated, or are found to be otherwise unfit. Or, when the parents isolate the grandchildren from the grandparents. When these questions arise what are a grandparent’s rights?
In June 2000, in Troxel v. Granville, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision on grandparents’ visitation rights. It is the most important case ever decided regarding grandparents’ visitation rights.
Troxel overruled a Washington State law that permitted judges to grant visitation to any interested party so long as the visits were in the best interest of the child, even if the parents objected. The Troxel v. Granville decision was unclear because the majority of the justices agreed that Troxel should be decided a certain way, however each justice had a different reason for doing so, which resulted in six separate court opinions. The court held that “The Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” The unclear legal opinions in Troxel made it difficult for state courts to interpret the decision, but the bottom line is that Troxel severely limited grandparents’ rights.
With this ruling, the uphill battle for grandparents began. Basically, the Troxel ruling meant that grandparents had to overcome the presumption that parents act in their child’s best interest as they make decisions related to a child’s care, custody and control. Many states amended their statutes regarding grandparents’ rights after Troxel. The Texas statutes on grandparents’ rights have been modified since Troxel. And, it seems that every legislative session in Texas since Troxel, bills have been filed to further modify grandparents’ rights. In fact there are several bills pending before the Texas legislature this session.
Oftentimes, grandparents are found in primary caregiving roles for their grandchild. This may be on a full-time basis when the grandchild’s parents are unable to provide for the child, or in the case of emergency or tragedy. It is these situations when a grandparent may serve as the grandchild’s primary caregiver. On the other hand, there are times when grandparents are excluded from seeing their grandchild by one or both of the parents. Usually a legal battle begins when grandparents want to maintain primary caregiving or contact with their grandchildren.
There are three types of suits grandparents can attempt to pursue. The first two types involve “conservatorship,” one being custody. The third type of suit is for possession and access to a grandchild (visitation). The first battle grandparents must overcome is to establish that they have a right to bring the suit, called “standing.” Standing can be complex, but some of the things a court may look at regarding grandparent standing are as follows:
• The grandchild’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.
• The denial of access to the child by the grandparent would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development, and the parents are incompetent, deceased or do not have court-ordered possession and access to their child.
If a grandparent has standing, then he/she may proceed with the suit. The proof required in a grandparent case depends on what type of case the grandparent is pursing. If the grandparent is seeking custody of the grandchild, the burden on the grandparent is different than if the grandparent is seeking visitation. For example, for grandparent custody of a child, the court may look at whether the appointment of the parents would not be in the best interest of the grandchild because doing so would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development; the best interest of the child; whether family violence has occurred between the parents; and, whether awarding the grandparent custody is in the best interest of the child. For visitation, the court may look at whether a parent’s rights have been terminated; whether the denial of access by the grandparent to the child would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development; and whether a parent is incompetent, incarcerated, deceased, or has actual court-ordered possession and access to their child.
Every case involves a unique set of facts and grandparents should consult with a family lawyer to consult about their rights. The laws for grandparents’ rights can be quite complex. It is dangerous to obtain legal advice about grandparents’ rights on the Internet as valuable grandparent rights could be lost.
By Charla H. Bradshaw
It was one year ago last month when I left my corporate job and became a full-time writer. There are many things I don’t miss about having a desk job, one of the biggest being the annual angst of driving into work regardless of what type of wintery surprise Mother Nature decided to drop on North Texas overnight.
I swear after nearly 20 years of living here, the weather doesn’t get any easier to predict. One day it’s sunny and 75, and the next it’s 25 degrees and rainy with a 100 percent chance of cobblestone ice.
It’s about as welcome as my son’s morning diaper change.
This year marked arguably one of the longest, and perhaps more annoying, winter storms on record in this area. It all started Feb. 22, and though we had a few pockets of normalcy here and there, the winter blast didn’t go away until around the end of the first week in March.
Unlike past years, it felt good being able to work from home. There were no employees to worry about, no offices to open on time for customers and no slipping and sliding down the road wondering if I might end up in some ditch.
That being said, my job as a writer wasn’t made any easier. The storm coincided with basketball playoffs, and unlike regular-season games, area teams must find a way to get games in within a certain timeframe.
That created some interesting scheduling. Games that were set for a Monday tipoff didn’t happen until Wednesday in most cases. Those lucky enough to advance – like the Guyer boys basketball team – had to turn around and play their next-round games two days later, but most of those were pushed off until after the weekend – again because of the weather.
The weather also did no favors for the baseball, softball and soccer teams trying to keep their seasons going. At one point, I heard that the Guyer baseball team didn’t step on the field for a game or practice for more than 11 days.
In the meantime, I was making the 77-mile jaunt from Denton to Commerce for the Class 4A Region II tournament to watch the Argyle girls basketball team try to advance to state. What is typically a one-and-a-half-hour trip took almost three hours driving through sleet and ice.
As I was setting up my laptop to cover the semifinal game, I got word that all playoff games in DFW were canceled – making my game the only one left on the docket. I must have gained 40 new Twitter followers that weekend.
Ironically, as much as I abhorred driving to work in the ice when I was doing my corporate thing, I didn’t mind so much when it came to covering sports. Sure, it wasn’t easy, but I was more than willing to do it.
That being said, it was nice to sit down outside recently to cover some soccer and baseball games. There were no more muddy fields or rescheduling of games, just the bright sun, me, and a pad of paper.
As the sports seasons changed, so did the weather – and this time for the better.
Until next time, I’ll see you on the sidelines.
by Steve Gamel
I must admit, occasionally I fall for the bells and whistles and scientific hype advertisers promote to sell anti-aging skin products. We constantly hear about the magic sparkle creams endorsed by celebrities, all claiming to be the fountain of youth – me and billions of other people.
Recently, it seems that “collagen’” is the word that sells, anything and everything as the new anti-aging cure. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It gives body tissues their form, providing firmness and strength. Your ligaments, tendons, bones and skeletal muscles all are held together by collagen. It is even the main component of your hair, skin and nails.
As we age, the body’s ability to make collagen protein slows, our skin loses the strength of its foundation, and becomes lax, wrinkled and even sags. Someone had to say it.
Collagen is a huge molecule, far too large to be absorbed through the skin. Basic biochemistry teaches us that it cannot be somehow absorbed through the skin from a cream and incorporated in the skin’s own collagen matrix. Rubbing it on your skin only temporarily coats the flaking skin cells, and fills the crevices, giving the appearance of smoother, healthier, and hydrated skin.
Truth is, healthy skin does not need creams applied to moisturize or hydrate. Collagen also cannot be taken as an oral supplement, as it is water-soluble and is easily broken down by our stomach acid.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, pill or cream to replace collagen. What actually does work? Provide your body with nutrients which support collagen production.
Yes, we are back to the basics: a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is a critical nutrient for collagen production in the skin. Super-foods like peppers, oranges and grapefruits, dark leafy greens, peaches, kiwi and tomatoes. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as cold-water fish like salmon and tuna help keep the skin supple. The sulfur in garlic helps your body produce collagen and supports damaged collagen fibers. Tomatoes inhibit enzymes known as collagenases, which destroy collagen.
No surprise here, but not smoking and staying hydrated also are essential to protecting and encouraging collagen production. The quickest way to destroy collagen is sun exposure.
Think about the wrinkle-free, smooth skin on your bottom. Why is it so much more youthful than the skin on your face, chest, neck and arms? Your bottom rarely sees the light of day. Suddenly, Meghan Trainor ‘s song takes on an entirely different meaning, and it IS all about that base. And don’t hate me for this one; that my friends, is the bottom line.
By Rebecca Romanucci,
RN Advanced Aesthetic
Registered Nurse Injector
RSR Medical Skin
Though the journey isn’t over, there’s plenty of reason for Kincaid Zindel and his legion of followers to celebrate. The now 10-year-old Lantana resident diagnosed with tumors in his brain and spine in November 2013 completed his chemotherapy treatments Feb. 27 and returned to school full-time the following week. An eye appointment in March found no vision problems and he finished the last of his medications April 3 about the same time a magnetic resonance image showed his tumors were stable. Perhaps best yet, he’s started regaining his positive attitude.
“We’re shifting from treatment to getting back into the swing of things,” said Kincaid’s dad Garrett. “We’re starting to see the old Kincaid coming back. He’s acting better, has more energy and is joking more. His sense of humor is coming back. He’s less irritable, more tolerant and more patient. It’s nice to see that.”
The fourth-grade Blanton Elementary School student, mom Kelly, dad and sisters Isabella and Madeline celebrated at the “Done with Chemo” party Feb. 28 at Highland Village’s Buffalo Wild Wings with many of the people who have been part of Team Kincaid from the start.
“That was our way of thanking all the people who had helped,” Garrett said. “We had hundreds of people show up and even with the ice and snow they sent us a check for $500. We ended up giving that money to a local charity.”
The family also traveled to Colorado in mid-March to see friends, go skiing, and visit the United States Air Force Academy.
“That was the first time in a long time we just went as a family where nobody knew about Team Kincaid and we could go out and have fun on the ski slopes,” Garrett said. “That was a nice, refreshing break. That’s when Kincaid started getting back to his old, jovial self and it’s continued since then.”
With Kincaid having turned the corner, Team Kincaid has turned its attention to helping others. Rather than keep money raised for the family, it has been earmarking funds for a variety of area good causes.
Kincaid’s final session ended nearly 10 months of weekly and 15 months of overall chemotherapy at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. In all that time, he only missed Friday afternoons and one additional week of school and was only hospitalized once for a fever between Christmas and New Year’s.
He’s continued to maintain relationships with groups like the Marcus High School baseball team which lets him sit in the dugout during games.
Kincaid, who kept his hair throughout the ordeal, is looking forward to losing it at the One Mission’s Buzz-Off for Kids with Cancer event April 26 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers. He plans to join the many others in attendance in shaving his head in honor and support of kids with cancer.
One of the goals of the event is to raise funds to help find a way to permanently eliminate tumors in children like Kincaid.
“We’re very thankful. It could be a lot worse,” Garrett said. “Obviously we’re always hoping and praying that we can rid of the cancer. It really would be nice if he were cancer-free. I feel like we’re buying time until those treatments become available. We’re buying time until technology catches up and in a couple of year hope to go in there and get rid of it all.”
by Mark Miller
Providing Comfort with Southern Hospitality It was an ordinary weekday morning and Jason Fraser was sitting at his desk, smiling, yet quietly folding and unfolding a small piece of paper. He was, admittedly, a tad bit out of place. I’m never here,” Fraser laughed while taking a quick glance around. “I prefer my mobile office.” […]
Historically, grandparents have played a vital role in the development, nurturing, and care-giving of their grandchildren. Questions tend to arise however, when a grandchild’s parents separate, divorce, pass away, become incarcerated, or are found to be otherwise unfit. Or, when the parents isolate the grandchildren from the grandparents. When these questions arise what are a […]
It was one year ago last month when I left my corporate job and became a full-time writer. There are many things I don’t miss about having a desk job, one of the biggest being the annual angst of driving into work regardless of what type of wintery surprise Mother Nature decided to drop on […]
I must admit, occasionally I fall for the bells and whistles and scientific hype advertisers promote to sell anti-aging skin products. We constantly hear about the magic sparkle creams endorsed by celebrities, all claiming to be the fountain of youth – me and billions of other people. Recently, it seems that “collagen’” is the word […]
Though the journey isn’t over, there’s plenty of reason for Kincaid Zindel and his legion of followers to celebrate. The now 10-year-old Lantana resident diagnosed with tumors in his brain and spine in November 2013 completed his chemotherapy treatments Feb. 27 and returned to school full-time the following week. An eye appointment in March found […]