Desert Aire celebrates 30 years of history
“History has a way of sneaking up on you,” said Keith Coursin, president of Desert Aire. “It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Desert Aire’s 25th anniversary. Five years have already gone by and we’re marking our 30th year in business.”
In his 18th year as president, Coursin has seen and implemented many changes that have tremendously impacted the evolution of this dehumidifier manufacturer. Under his command, he’s guided Desert Aire toward greater progress including a major building renovation, a building acquisition, and numerous new product roll-outs.
Established in 1978, Desert Aire Corp. is a manufacturer of customized refrigeration-based industrial and commercial dehumidifiers. “Desert Aire was a family-run company when it first began,” explained Coursin. “It was founded on a single product – a small indoor pool room dehumidifier.” Coursin said that the market was ripe for this type of dehumidifier 30 years ago.
“No one was building dehumidifiers for small indoor pools. Desert Aire came along and built a 2-, 3- and 5-ton dehumidifier that perfectly fit this application. They literally created a niche where none had existed before.”
Mark Potter, the company’s service manager and 20-year veteran of Desert Aire, started out building dehumidifiers when he was originally hired in August 1988. “We only had six production employees, a real family-like atmosphere,” recalled Potter.
Desert Aire continued to build its small pool room dehumidifier, but had also made some strides in product development over the course of the company’s first 10 years. The line had been branded as the EH Series which stood for “extreme humidity,” and product sizes had expanded to up to 7.5 tons.
In 1990, a local investment group bought Desert Aire and hired Keith Coursin as president. That same year, the company also started building larger 18- to 60-ton natatorium dehumidifiers. “They were extremely custom units that took more than a month to build,” stated Potter.
Kerwin Bullocks, a 15-year employee at Desert Aire, recalled that the company was still small when he came on board in 1994, but this actually offered everyone an opportunity to learn and grow as an employee. “We only had nine people back then so everyone worked on all types of dehumidifiers, big and small.” Today, Bullocks is a set-up specialist who works on Desert Aire’s ND/SA natatorium product line where he builds frames and rails as well as attaches coils, motors and blowers to the base.
By the late ‘90s, the company had developed a variety of new products. Systems were now being built to solve diverse humidity problems at indoor water parks, warehouses, recreational and fitness centers, ice rinks, water and wastewater treatment plants, and libraries to name a few. “The refrigeration technology that we developed and the patents that we earned allowed us to pursue different types of applications,” said Coursin. By 2006, the EH line of dehumidifiers had grown up and was renamed the ExpertAireTM Series.