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Atlas President

Sarah Sagredo-Hammond is the President of Atlas Electrical, Air Conditioning, & Ref. Services, but it wasn’t always that way. She has been close to the company and involved with it for many years, and these days, she’s using the skills she’s acquired and a love for Alton, Texas (a wonderful community full of beautiful homes) to make a difference through her family business.

I asked her about how she got into the business, and she shared a touching history of the company and how she came to be its president.

“The business was created in 1982 by Rogelio Sagredo Sr. My mother and father were migrant workers and my father had joined the AirForce while working in the fields. In the Air Force he took up electrical and HVAC training, and when he completed his term, he moved back to his hometown to care for his mother and family. He worked with an electrical company before he began his own company out of need and desire to provide for his family and create a business that could support them.”

“Roy Jr. also worked alongside Sr. at a very young age and learned electrical wiring and they both got their master licenses,” she continued. “ Yolanda his wife, and myself worked in the office and maintained books and customer relationships. I came into the company full-time in 2008 because of the passion I have for my family and to help facilitate more growth for the company. I became President after my mother fell ill and my father semi-retired to help care for her needs. The company is in charge of several local families and the desire to continue its growth and direction spurned the need to keep it growing.”

Asked what she loves about being a contractor, Sagredo-Hammond enthusiastically said, “Everything,” before getting into the specifics.

“The business side of the Service industry is fulfilling; to have a customer’s home or business running smoothly and providing comfort for them is everything to us. It is a sense of pride to our company to get those moments of complete harmony and peace to calm people’s fears and take care of their most precious values.” She also finds the community itself fulfilling, she said.

“Through ATLAS we are able to provide sponsorships and give back to our community to help create a better place to live,” she explained. “Our staff attempts to get involved and be diverse in giving back to different arenas of the Rio Grande Valley. We have been able to sponsor medical health events, local chambers, and their events, nonprofits, women-owned businesses, and education towards creating new businesses. It is OUR PLEASURE to serve the community, with service and return monetarily to those in need based on our capacities!”

The third thing she cited was family.

“We are family. My parents started this, and I am able to work alongside my family daily. There is no greater benefit than to see their dreams live on and grow. We are family; the staff works together to bond and grow and we try to help each other out when in need. No one is greater than the other; we all pitch in and want to make sure every technician grows in knowledge, skill and truly CARES for our mission.”

She even considers her customers family.
“To be invited into someone’s personal home is a family-knit business; to be entrusted and given that much love is empowering. There is no greater family and love that we could ask from our customers than their trust. Family. That is what we are in the community. Together we are better.”

I asked Sagredo-Hammond what sets her company apart from the competition.

“A passion that cannot be quenched,” she replied. “Passion to learn, passion to grow, passion to teach, and passion to share. We truly believe that creating smarter, educated, and trained technicians will create a much better INDUSTRY of service in our area. Passion to improve. We understand that you have to learn every day and you have to stay humble to be of better service to the families in the community. Our company motto is “WHATEVER IT TAKES”.

I asked Sagredo-Hammond what she perceives to be the biggest challenge in her industry and what she does in her own career to overcome it.

“The area where we live allows for a lot of small companies to pop up, and there is no enforcement placed by the State of Texas to be sure that every technician that is on the street is certified and licensed. Because this is not policed, there are many practicing air condition, plumbing and electrical work, who have NO INSURANCES, who have no liability protection for their customer, and who do not pay workers compensation and or state taxes or federal taxes. So because they can work out of a van, and have no real office location, they can get away with charging less per hour, and then not backing up any warranty for the customer. It gives the industries a bad reputation. This service work takes due diligence, constant learning, and certifications along with hard manual labor. That needs investment and time, and requires education of the customer to fully appreciate a service industry and the fee’s and hourly prices that go along with that type of work.

Finally, I asked Sagredo-Hammond for one piece of advice she would give to someone starting out in their own business. She is so passionate about it, she gave three!

First, “do things right from the start and you will not go wrong,” she offered. “Do not stray from your integrity, and make sure all employees have that same goal. “

Secondly, “remember that not every job is a job you want and try to remember your company’s WORTH and the quality of life for those around you, including your customer and your family.”

Finally, she said, “Do it with passion. Wake up and love to do your job, and you will really never have a day of burden, you will be physically tired, and you will be busy, but you will never be drained of life.”