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March 31, 2020

From Rotary Drills to Digital Products: 5 Questions with George Land

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George is general manager of digital products at Trane Technologies’ Residential HVAC and Supply business. Digital products include the Nexia Smart Home system for homeowners, Nexia Diagnostics for HVAC dealers, and business-to-business dealer portals. He got his start 30 years ago in Ingersoll Rand’s* Engineering Management Training program, and in this interview, he answers five questions about his long career with the company and his thoughts on the industry. 

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What excites you most about the digital age?

We’re just barely scratching the surface of what’s possible, even today, and it’s exciting to think that more will be possible tomorrow. We’re learning so much every day.

How did you make the career moves from working on rock drills to golf cars to digital products?

I started my career in 1990 in Ingersoll Rand’s rotary drill division in Garland, Texas, working on a monitoring system for a blast hole drill. In my next position in the rock drill business unit in Roanoke, Virginia, I wrote custom software to simulate rock drilling, in addition to my mechanical design responsibilities. I also got my Master’s degree and increasingly took on management responsibilities.

In 1999 I moved to Club Car, which eventually led me to the digital side of engineering. Our team developed Club Car’s Visage fleet management system, which not only monitors car performance but also uses GPS to monitor a golf car’s location and regulate functionality based on location. This was my entry into the Internet of Things.

After 10 years at Club Car, I decided to move to Tyler, Texas, to be closer to home, and took a role in the  Schlage business, part of Ingersoll Rand at the time. I worked on building Schlage’s connected home solution, which grew into Nexia, part of Trane Technologies’ Residential HVAC and Supply business unit. Since then, my role has expanded to encompass all of our customer-facing digital products.

How many patents do you hold, and which is your favorite?

I’ve spent time in three different Ingersoll Rand and Trane Technologies businesses and patented some innovations in each, totaling 8 patents. When I was vice president of engineering at Club Car, we designed and patented the world’s first fully automatic, full-time four-wheel drive system for a light off-road utility vehicle. It was unheard of at the time. 

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How do Residential HVAC and Supply’s digital products make us easier to do business with?

There is so much to say here, but I’ll try to be brief. In the digital age, the sky is the limit when it comes to ways we can improve the customer experience with digital products. Here’s one example:

When a dealer buys equipment from us, he might need supplies and accessories for installation. This is an opportunity for us to recommend those specific supplies – available at a Trane Supply store near him and already bundled into a set. This makes it easier for customers to get what they need and quickly, without having to call the store and potentially wait on hold.

There’s even more untapped potential on the consumer side, where many homeowners have their thermostats set on permanent hold. With Nexia Smart Home Automation, Nexia Diagnostics, Trane and American Standard connected thermostats and our advanced adaptive thermostat technology, homeowners can enjoy constant comfort in their home environment, decease their HVAC energy costs by up to 20 percent and get their HVAC systems fixed before they even know there’s a problem. What is easier than that?

What do you enjoy most about coming to work each day?

I’m involved in a lot of different activities, so the variety is fun. And having my entire team focused on improving outcomes that customers care about is pretty rewarding. We succeed when our customers have succeeded – that direct link is a lot of fun for me.

Working in the technology space with new capabilities and a dynamic landscape keeps it fun and interesting.

Get to know George:

Where did you grow up? My father was a chemical engineer with International Paper, and I grew up in paper mill towns in every gulf coast state from Florida to Texas.

Where do you call home now? Tyler, Texas

First paycheck: Washing dishes at Steak and Ale restaurant.

Tell us about your family: Rebecca, my wife of nearly 30 years (we got married 6 months into my career) and I have two children. Our son finished college a few years back and is now a news producer for the Houston NPR affiliate station. Our daughter is graduating from college in May with a degree in visualization. She hopes to work as a digital sculptor in the movie or toy industry.

Favorite place to be when not at work: Tailgating at a Texas A&M University sporting event with my family (all Texas A&M grads!), or snow skiing in Colorado.

Least favorite chore: Washing dishes. I washed enough dishes at the age of 15 to last me a lifetime!

Interested in a career with Trane Technologies? Check out our open positions.

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