Glendale business honored by ASU Alumni Association

(Above) Audrey Monell credits her staff for the business’s recognition. (Left) Audrey Monell has run Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning Inc. for the last 14 years. (10 to 1 Public Relations/Submitted)

Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning Inc. will be honored by Arizona State University’s Alumni Association during a special award reception on April 28.

A locally run, family-owned business, Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning Inc. has been serving the greater Phoenix metro area since 1961.

It has been inducted as an honoree for the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2022, which is an award that celebrates the top 100 fastest-growing alumni-owned or -led businesses from around the world that demonstrate innovation, growth, entrepreneurial spirit and responsibility to the community.

“It’s really amazing,” said Audrey Monell, Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning Inc. president.

“I can’t believe we made the list. The W.P. Carey School of Business is one of the top schools in the nation, and it’s an honor to be on the list and be among many amazing companies. It’s very humbling.”

Monell, 38, graduated from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in economics. After graduation, she wasn’t sure right away that she wanted to get into the family business.

“I thought I wanted to go off on my own initially,” she said. “It was 2008, which was not a great year for anybody, so I decided to dig my feels in and help with the family business.”

Now having led the third generation of her family’s business for the last 14 years, she learned very quickly that she had a want and a passion to be there for others.

“I grew to love helping my family and everybody — all the employees and everything,” Monell said. “I just grew really attached and realized my passion was definitely with people.”

Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning Inc. was started by Monell’s grandparents after they moved to the Valley from Indiana. Since then, her father and mother took the reins. Now, it’s her show.

Though there is competition throughout the Valley, Monell credits the company’s original core values set in place by her grandfather when the business was first opened.

“We still rely on the core values that my grandfather put in place, and it’s really easy and really simple,” she said. “Treat your employees right, treat your customers right, do your best work and always do the right thing. Based on that, we’ve continued to stay in business and have prospered even during the bad times.”

Since taking over as president, Monell said the company has become more modern. She also focuses on developing initiatives to improve business operations and expand services.

“I like to make sure I keep a big-picture approach,” she said.

One of those initiatives is the company’s annual Military Hero Giveaway. Though it only began a few years ago, the giveaway has become a favorite tradition in the Valley to honor and support local veterans.

Through this, the company gives away a brand-new air-conditioning unit that is both nominated and voted on by the public.

“It’s a fun deal,” Monell said. “It’s very, very rewarding. Last year’s winner brought me to tears when we showed up at her doorstep. It’s just amazing what these veterans do for us, and they’re just excited that we’re giving them an AC unit. It’s just not even comparable to what they do for us.”

The inspiration for the cause came from Monell’s grandfather. He was a veteran and served in the U.S. Navy. Monell said this was a good way to honor him and the business’s legacy.

Monell and her company are currently accepting nominations for this year’s Military Hero Giveaway. The winner will be announced around the time of Veterans Day.

Though Monell will accept the nomination from ASU’s Alumni Association, she recognizes she could not have received award-winning recognition alone.

“Being honored by ASU is incredibly amazing, but I know it would not have happened if it were not for my entire team,” Monell said. “I wish they could get the credit instead of me. They’re the ones that really, really deserve it.”

She said her team is filled with incredibly tough, hard-working individuals. For her, they model the “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” mantra.

“We’ve stayed relatively small so we can have that connection with everyone that works here,” Monell said. “There was a time that came, that when everything was going wrong, everybody chipped in. We know that if the business succeeds, everyone does. That’s kind of the mentality that we have.”