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People of Price: Chris Hildebrand

Posted by Price Industries on May 7, 2024 at 9:30 AM
Price Industries

A Passion for Mentorship and Management

Price’s ever-growing team is made up of extraordinarily talented individuals from different backgrounds. We periodically profile a “person of Price” to give you a glimpse at the person behind all those emails or the voice at the end of the phone! This post: Chris Hildebrand.

Portrait of Chris Hildebrand

Price Industries: What is your current title and role at Price Industries?

Chris Hildebrand: I am currently the Design Engineering Manager for the Air Moving group, which includes Terminals and Fan Coils. I work alongside the teams at our facilities in Winnipeg, MB; Winder, GA; and Casa Grande, AZ. This entails product development – starting with conceptualization all the way to the implementation of new products – maintenance of existing products and working on customer specials. It’s a well-rounded role with lots of action; there’s truly never a dull day!

PI: How long have you been with Price Industries, and what other roles have you worked in since you started?

CH: I started with Price in December of 2015 as a Product Designer in the Terminals group. Graham Fediuk somehow snuck into my interview with Marc Hebert, possibly to steal me for his team. After a couple of years, Price launched its Fan Coils category, and I was given the opportunity to be a Product Designer in the group. Then in 2019, an opening arose for me to become the Design Engineering Manager for the Air Moving team, which I have happily been managing since.

PI: What was the career path that brought you to Price, and what was it about Price that inspired you to join this team?

CH: Surprisingly, working at a small ski hill in Manitoba brought me to Price. I had graduated in the spring of 2015, and as I was spending the summer looking for jobs, I reached out to my boss at the ski hill to see if she needed help in the fall/winter season. We chatted about how my job hunt was going, and she offered to reach out to her brother, who is an engineer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba. I met with him, and he helped me get my foot in the door with Price.

Chris and Ashley in full ski gear on a snowy mountain slope
Chris and his girlfriend, Ashley, hit the slopes in Fernie, BC

Regardless of the job, whether it’s as a ski instructor or an engineer, I think it’s important to take pride in what you do and to work hard. You never know what opportunity will come from it.

PI: How did you find yourself in your current area of specialty – was it a lifelong interest and aptitude, or did it evolve later in life?

CH: As many engineers do, I gravitated toward math and science growing up. I intentionally took an extra math class in high school in order to avoid an English class. Although, in hindsight that English class may have benefited the grammar and punctuation of my emails (sorry, everyone, for the double words). With that, in combination with a love of building every Star Wars Lego I could get my hands on, I was destined to be an engineer.

PI: What are some industry developments that you’ve seen in your time within the field that have changed the way you think and work?

CH: As a part of a legacy product group, looking at past designs with a new lens and revising the designs for manufacturing have been critical to our success. The bottom line is our responsibility to provide customers with what they require. In the case of engineering, the customers are our reps as well as the factory and any other support team that helps us build and release those products. Creating a well-engineered product that both performs and can be easily built is the goal.

Mustachioed Chris leaning against a single duct terminal unit
Posing with a single duct terminal unit, Chris shows off his mustache during Movember to help raise awareness for men’s health

Price’s push to modernize its software and advance its machines in manufacturing has allowed for engineering to create better, more simplified designs while maximizing product performance. This includes, for example, revisiting past customer-requested specials, improving their designs and making them standard to order in All-In-One. Leaning on our software capabilities has allowed us to streamline workflows, and those benefits cascade from the factory all the way to the end customer.

PI: What is your favorite project you’ve worked on in your time in the industry?

CH: One of my favorite projects that I have been a part of is the incorporation of hydronic valves on the Single Duct Terminal Unit product line. We learned a great deal in product development as well as after the implementation. We released the new option into All-In-One thinking we captured everything – when in reality, customers wanted to use their own temperature-control valves along with the different valve options from Price.

We quickly revamped the product to make it more robust for our customers, allowing them to use their own valves without the need for us to make the product special every time. (A big thank-you goes out to the project engineering and order entry teams for weathering that initial storm.) We worked hard to incorporate more valve options and simplify the design for manufacturing so that it could also be used on other products in the future.

Price team members posing in front of the Harvest Manitoba sign
Chris and his colleagues lend a hand at Harvest Manitoba, April 2023

PI: What do you feel is the biggest contribution you have made to the professional community?

CH: I feel that my biggest contribution to the community has been the mentoring of my team and of others I have worked alongside. One of my goals is to support the growth of my colleagues and help them be as successful as possible in their careers. I have been lucky to have worked with many brilliant people at Price and to have been exposed to different areas of the business. Passing on this knowledge to the people who will lead our company to success has always brought me great pride.

The calling to coach is something that I have had from a young age. As a ski instructor, I found it incredibly rewarding seeing students go from telling themselves “I can’t do this” to having the biggest smile on their faces knowing they could fully ski independently. Helping people realize their potential was a huge reason for me wanting to become a manager. I am incredibly proud of everyone on my team and everything they have accomplished.

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Topics: Terminals, Fan Coils, Employees, HVAC, People of Price

At Price, when we say “the sky is the limit,” we actually mean it.

Our customers have come to count on a consistent and ever-increasing stream of new products and enhancements.  Price has a large team of experienced and talented engineers who are consistently working on breakthrough ideas.  We are not afraid to move into whole new product categories if we believe we have a contribution to make.

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