By Fran Lyons

Keeping one’s air conditioning system running was more important than ever in 2020.

The Phoenix region had the hottest summer in its history, shattering the record for the most 100-degree days in a calendar year, with 144. A record was also set with the
mercury reaching a high of at least 110 degrees for 50 days. Moreover, August 2020 was the hottest since records originated in 1895, with an average high temperature of 110.7 degrees and an average overall temperature of 99.1 degrees, both the warmest ever, according to the National Weather Service.

The region also had its hottest autumn in history, with an average high temperature of
93.2 degrees from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30.

“We experienced the hottest temperatures on record,” said Ray Nieves, owner of 911 Air
Repair. “It was crazy. We were extremely busy with each tech averaging 8 to 10 service calls a day and we had to bring two more guys onto the crew. Between the heat and people stuck at home from the pandemic, urgency and immediacy contributed to the need.”

With summer arriving again and temperatures again reaching 115 degrees and beyond, it’s safe to say that when an air conditioner goes on the fritz, homeowners sweat a quick fix.
Nieves and his team at 911 Air Repair, a local heating, ventilation and air conditioning
business, are busy keeping customers cool.

Nieves started his career in the Arizona HVAC business in 2006, learning the skills of
the trade by repairing, installing and servicing every type of air conditioning system, both old and new.

In 2017, he made the decision to open his own business in his hometown of Maricopa.

“911 Air Repair launched with an emphasis on service to the customer and the community, commitment to building relationships built on trust, and quality of workmanship through
training and certification of its technicians,” he said.

911 Air Repair strives to be a “one-stop shop” for customers, repairing all brands of residential HVAC systems and honoring manufacturer’s warranties.

“Preventative maintenance is the key,” Nieves said. “We recommend a twice-yearly checkup for your HVAC, spring for the AC and fall for heating.”

Stellar reviews on social media give testimony to the company’s dedication and drive for excellence in performance and customer service, according to Nieves.

“We operate from the mentality of customers come first,” Nieves said. “When you treat people well, trust is developed. People will recommend you to their friends and neighbors. 75% to 85% of our business is from referrals and word-of-mouth.”

Born and raised in Maricopa and a graduate of Maricopa High School, Nieves is
a tireless advocate and youth activity sponsor. He lends financial support to several high school sports teams, Little League teams and wrestling events. He is also involved in esports at Copper Sky and outdoor football and basketball events at Pacana Park. In addition, he works with local nonprofits, including the Maricopa Pantry, Maricopa Chamber of Commerce and Maricopa Police Foundation.

He also sponsored the “Maricopa Wild Horses” public art initiative, purchasing a decorated horse sculpture.

“This is part of his legacy to my children as a Maricopan,” he said. “I grew up here, my children are growing up here and I want them to know how much pride I have in this community and the people in it. My footprint is here in Maricopa.”

Nancy Rollins, his fifth grade teacher at Maricopa Elementary, recalled Nieves as an “amazing student” interested in everything and enthusiastic about science and social studies. In 1995, she said, Nieves and four classmates entered the Honeywell Aerospace Challenge and placed second.

“This was a first for our school and Maricopa and set the tone for future first-place wins,” she said.

Rollins also remembers Nieves for more than academics.

“Quiet-spoken and thoughtful, close to friends and his family, Ray was always helping others,” she said. “He was really community-minded even as a 10-year-old.”

Over 25 years, Rollins said she has watched Nieves develop his character and relationships with people.

“He’s just really a good guy,” she said