Crofton HVAC Titan: UEP Group’s Meteoric Rise to National Dominance

Frank Smollon’s visionary leadership has transformed his family’s humble heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) business into a nationwide powerhouse. As the CEO of the UEP Group, a newly formed parent company headquartered in Crofton, Maryland, Smollon oversees a portfolio of companies specializing in the venting and exhaust industry.

The journey began in 1984 when Smollon’s father established UEP in Baltimore. Initially focused on a single chimney product, the company gradually expanded its offerings to encompass a wide range of chimney, ventilation, heating, and cooling solutions. Despite its modest beginnings, UEP’s unwavering commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction paved the way for remarkable growth.

In 2021, a fortuitous visit to the Schebler Chimney Systems factory in Des Moines, Iowa, proved pivotal. Presented with an opportunity to take over Schebler’s territories in Florida, Texas, and California, Smollon seized the chance, but with a caveat – Mike Mommsen, Schebler’s vice president of sales and marketing, had to join his team. This strategic move laid the foundation for three new subsidiaries: Lone Star Venting Solutions, Atlantic Venting Solutions, and Pacific Venting Solutions.

Recognizing the need for a more structured approach to manage the company’s rapid nationwide expansion, Smollon established the UEP Group in 2023. This parent company structure not only streamlined operations but also positioned the organization for further growth through acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

To bolster the company’s infrastructure, Smollon assembled a formidable team of experts. Peter De Angelo, formerly the chief financial officer of a renowned restaurant management group in Annapolis, was appointed as the UEP Group’s president. Additionally, the company welcomed a portfolio manager, an expanded finance team, a new director of technology, and a people and culture manager.

“We are building the foundation,” De Angelo explained. “We added new territory, and it was a little overwhelming. This parent company structure allows us to catch up. We have built up and are ready to launch new brands and acquire companies.”

Smollon’s strategic vision extends beyond mere expansion. Recognizing the increasing consolidation within the HVAC industry driven by private equity firms, he realized the need for the UEP Group to adopt a similar approach. By emulating the tactics of these firms, the company aims to maintain its competitive edge and continue its aggressive growth trajectory.

With a solid foundation in place and ambitious plans on the horizon, the UEP Group is poised for further success. The company plans to add 10 more employees this year and actively pursue acquisitions that align with its strategic objectives. As Smollon candidly stated, “We are trying to act like a private equity firm. I realized I would rather buy and sell businesses than the equipment we sell.”

The UEP Group’s remarkable transformation from a local HVAC business to a national dominance is a testament to Smollon’s visionary leadership and the company’s unwavering commitment to excellence. As the industry continues to evolve, the UEP Group stands ready to embrace new challenges and opportunities, solidifying its position as a formidable force in the venting and exhaust industry.