We offer propane and natural gas equipment for automotive, commercial, industrial, vehicle conversion, residential
applications and appliances.
Our hearth division offers ;replaces, stoves and various
outdoor leisure products fueled by electricity, gas, wood, coal
We are a Trane and International Comfort Products dealer
for residential and light commercial.
And we’re involved in alternative energies. We offer propane and CNG vehicle conversions, LED lighting, CNG and
LNG compression, DEF, bio-diesel and ethanol.
KW: Does Canada have the same service technician short-
age that the U.S. is experiencing?
McCombie: I wouldn’t say we have a shortage as such in
Canada, but our industry does have a challenge in attracting
and retaining new hires in general, whether for service technician positions or otherwise.
KW: NEE has relationships with U.S. manufacturers. Does
NEE have other cross-border relationships apart from
McCombie: We have relationships with global manufactur-
ers outside of North America and customers whose business
interests span outside Canadian borders. A frequent challenge
is monitoring compliance with Canadian regulatory require-
ments that out-of-country companies are not always well
KW: What is NEE’s biggest challenge right now?
McCombie: It’s hard to pick a single one, but maintaining
healthy gross margins is top of mind. Although top line sales
are relatively strong, preventing margin erosion needs more
attention to detail than ever before and constant management.
KW: What does a typical day look like for you?
McCombie: Hmmm … interesting question. I don’t know
that I’ve ever had “a typical day.” Our industry is far more
complex than most people realize and always full of surprises.
To keep up with each day’s happenings, one constant for
everyone like me managing a national Canadian company
with branches spanning six time zones is that each day starts
very early in the morning and ends late in the evening.
By the time critical issues get to me, they are often urgent
and complicated, so my day is very much about multitasking
and re-prioritizing as the day progresses. First priorities are
dealing with anything affecting service to customers. Next are
customer-related inquiries, corporate support, sales people
inquiries, product line management, price management,
vendor inquiries, technical support, contract management,
marketing activities and new business development.
My day is mainly about allocation of resources and removing barriers to trade on all petroleum equipment products
from their market introduction stage to end of life.
KW: What’s your favorite part of your job?
McCombie: By far the best part of my job is representing
NEE capabilities and resources with manufacturers and
customers alike. Mentoring and coaching younger employees
is a close second.
Kristen Wright is editor in chief of the PEI Journal. Reach her at
NEE is the principal distribution channel in Canada for several industries’ top
manufacturers and collectively carries more than $50 million of inventory.