In the Spotlight: SVL Celebrating 50th Anniversary!

SVL Team - Roseville, MN

SVL Roseville Team

SVL Team - Fargo, ND

SVL Fargo Team

As some of you may know, Schwab-Vollhaber-Lubratt (SVL) is celebrating 50 years as one of the Midwest’s largest equipment suppliers in the HVAC industry.  SVL has been a CDI Manufacturer’s Representative since January 2004.

The following is an excerpt of an interview with Craig Vollhaber and Matt Holland:

How did SVL get its start?

Charles Schwab and Craig Vollhaber left Trane in Feb 1967 and started with McQuay as our only real viable manufacturer/supplier. SV, at the time, then added Champion Blower and Carnes a short time thereafter.  SVL’s founders had determination to build the largest, most talented HVAC outlet in our trading area. Their original drive and passion still shapes the company and culture to this day.


What are some of the biggest hurdles you faced while building your company?

During our first year in business our biggest hurdle was the immediate lack of cash and/or cash flow. Starting out was challenging due to the inherent lag of money from opening the business to securing orders. Another challenge was just the reality of building reputation and trust in our customer base. It helped that we had a good reputation and background having sold for Trane locally.

What’s the #1 piece of advice you would give anyone wanting to work in your industry?

You need to work hard, have persistence, the ability to think in depth and have the ability to accept “no” and rejection when you face a challenge. Rejection happens in sales, for sure. Be aggressive and persistent in pursuing goals, but also have the savvy to back off when a situation goes against you. Your attitude and how you react situationally will make or break you in the industry. Fight like HELL through the process, but know when to take a step back and look at the big picture. 

Please share about a project that a CDI desiccant product solved for your client.

One of the first applications we used CDI desiccant for was a school district that was utilizing displacement air distribution.  Due to the large amount of outside air required in a school for the students and the requirement for supply air temperatures of ~ 65 degrees for a displacement system, a traditional AHU system would not dehumidify the air.  By utilizing a 100% outside air ventilation unit (DOAS) from CDI with an energy recovery wheel and a desiccant dehumidification wheel we were not only able to handle the moisture of the incoming outside air but also depress the supply humidity to account for the latent gain from the people as well as any infiltration.


How does partnering with CDI help you serve your customers better?

By partnering with CDI we are able to provide our customers unique solutions required to solve challenging applications and arrangements for air handling systems.

SVL Summer PartySVL Summer Party
Photos from a recent SVL summer party and bean bag tournament –
they don’t let a little rain stop them from throwing a party!