Williams, or Williams Comfort Products, is a long-running manufacturer of heating and cooling products for both residential and commercial applications. Among those products are air curtains, intended for businesses ranging from restaurants and commercial kitchens to healthcare institutions. Unlike other major air curtain brands like Berner and Mars, Williams has a focus that goes beyond air doors to include furnaces, space heaters, fan coils, air handlers, and dehumidifiers. The company’s mission and product offerings have evolved throughout its lengthy history, which reaches back more than 100 years.
The Williams brand was first established all the way back in 1916 when founder Jesse Williams started designing and building radiators. Fittingly, the company at the time was known as Williams Radiator Company. At the time, the company focused specifically on the manufacture of gas steam radiators. As the years passed, though, Jesse Williams saw fit to expand Williams Radiator Company beyond its initial vision. Over time, Williams expanded into new branches of heating, including gas-fired furnaces, counterflow heat exchangers, and more.
By the 1950s, Williams had moved well beyond its initial Los Angeles business radius to become a major nationwide player in the heating industry. In 1958, the company was acquired by Continental Materials Corporation and rebranded to Williams Furnace Company, marking the second major chapter in the business’s story.
The next significant chapter began in 1986 when Williams Furnace Company purchased a business called Hydro-Aire/LANCO. The acquisition brought Williams into the cooling industry for the first time, adding fan coils and air handlers to its product offerings. Now, Williams was a full-service HVAC business with an overarching goal of helping customers achieve maximum interior comfort. The company’s current brand name, Williams Comfort Products, reflects this focus on optimal comfort.
To take the push for interior comfort to the next level, Williams entered another new market in 2013. That year marked the launch of the brand’s first air door/air curtain product range. Quickly, Williams has built a reputation for being one of the most reliable providers of these products globally.
Continental Materials Corporation still owns Williams Comfort Products. However, Williams does operate independently under its own leadership. The top leadership role is filled by Brian Holte, who was appointed as the new president of Williams Comfort Products (and Phoenix Manufacturing, another Continental Materials brand) in November 2017. Collectively, Williams and Phoenix Manufacturing are known within the Continental Materials ecosystem as the “HVAC Solutions Group.”
Holte replaced former president Mike Markowich, who decided to retire from the business in 2017. Markowich had been with Williams since 2009, first as vice president of operations and then as president of the company. He served in the latter role from March 2011 until March 2017.
Holte holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of South California. He has held a variety of leadership roles with businesses in the industrial technology space, including Oldcastle Building Envelope, Project Frog, and Rockwell Automation.
Since air curtains are not the sole or primary focus of Williams Comfort Products, the company’s selection of air curtain products is smaller than other brands such as Berner and Mars have to offer. The two most well-known products in the company’s air door space are likely the Slim Tech Series and the Pro Tech Series.
The Slim Tech Series is Williams’ entry in the “unobtrusive air curtain” segment of the market. These air doors are incredibly slim and sleek, making them ideal for settings where the function of an air curtain is needed but where the owner wants to make sure the device isn’t an eyesore or distraction. For restaurants or other settings where the style and look of the space is crucial to the overall atmosphere, Slim Tech curtains are a popular choice. These air doors can deliver high performance on doors or windows that are up to eight feet high.
The Pro Tech Series is intended mainly for retail businesses and other customer-facing commercial environments. Air curtains in this series can provide insect control, temperature management, sanitation protection, and environmental separation for openings up to 10 feet in height. Pro Tech models pair attractive aesthetics with performance levels that will meet the needs of most customers.
Across the board, Williams has a reputation for its commitment to innovation and safety. As the company’s long and steady evolution shows, the business is unafraid of growing and pushing into new markets. This embrace of the new reflects in the company’s reliance on state-of-the-art technology. All Williams products are built using the most advanced numerically controlled machinery available. These machines ensure quality and uniformity across the Williams product range, from air curtains to furnaces and beyond. Williams then puts every product through extensive testing to make sure it meets National Bureau of Standards specifications.
Beyond air doors, Williams is known for high-quality gas and electric furnaces, for cooling system components like air handlers and fan coils, and for dehumidifiers.