“Boilers are in my blood,” explained 44-year-old Shane Hall, a third-generation Weil-McLain representative.
Hall, of Huntington, West Virginia, has been a Weil-McLain manufacturers rep for more than 25 years, but his involvement in heating and boilers stretches back much further.
“My father and grandfather were both in the business, so I grew up in the industry,” Hall said. “I like to say that I learned from the best.”
Hall’s grandfather, Herb Godschalk, opened his heating company HL Godschalk & Associates in 1968 in Huntington and immediately began selling Weil-McLain boilers. The company handled both commercial and residential projects, and installed numerous cast-iron boilers and other heating and plumbing equipment across West Virginia.
“We have been selling boilers since way before I was even born,” Hall said. “Weil-McLain has a tradition of giving out die-cast toy cars, and I remember receiving them as a child as gifts from my grandpa. Ever since I can remember, Weil-McClain has been a part of my life.”
Hall’s father, James Hall, began working with Shane’s grandfather in 1975. A young Shane Hall would help out with the family business as needed.
“My grandfather would pay me to assemble product catalogs, sweep the floor — whatever had to be done,” Hall said. “I believe he paid me a quarter an hour back then. I guess you could say I learned the business from the ground up.”
When Hall’s grandfather passed away in 1993, his father took over the company. Soon after, at the age of 19, Hall began working full-time with his dad.
“I started in the warehouse and worked my way up to inside sales and then outside sales and eventually took over the company,” he explained.
Both Hall and his father witnessed many boiler product innovations, including the development of high-efficiency condensing boilers such as Weil-McLain’s Ultra, and later, Evergreen units.
“They were really innovative products and helped move the entire industry forward,” he said.
Hall’s father ran the company until retiring in April 2007. Hall then took over and renamed it Hall Sales Agency. After overseeing its growth for several years, he eventually merged it with Midwest Spec, a conglomerate of three other family-owned HVAC companies.
Today, Hall is a junior partner with Wickliffe, Ohio-based Midwest Spec and still manages the boiler business for the West Virginia territory. In 2015, Weil-McLain asked Midwest Spec to also represent them commercially in the expanded territories of Ohio, Kentucky and western Pennsylvania, and Hall oversees that business as well.
“Weil-McLain is the only line my grandfather offered that I still sell,” Hall said. “We’ve had a lot of heating and plumbing lines and brands come and go over the years, but that’s the only one that has been continuous for us since 1968.
Hall has overseen numerous residential and commercial installations, including at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, West Virginia capitol complex, West Virginia University and countless other schools and colleges, churches and homes.
“We had a Weil-McLain boiler at a university that we inspected that at the time was 55-years-old and still functional,” Hall noted. “The school had money in the budget to spend and thought it was a good time to upgrade the boiler. It was hard for me to see them pull it out after all of those years because it still worked like a champ.”