Community Contributors: The Cornetts’ Focus On Giving Back Comes Full Circle

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Nestled within the Cypress Creek Road corridor is Cornett Heating and Cooling, a father-son business built on the foundation of hard work and serving the community.

In 1980, Severna Park resident Jim Cornett began an HVAC career on staff at Fort Meade, which included contract management and contract development. In 1992, Jim added his own evening and weekend HVAC work in the Severna Park area to support his growing family, thus founding his business, Cornett Heating and Cooling. Jim juggled the demands of two jobs and eight children for years, often taking advantage of his side business to spend time with his kids as they took turns hopping in the work van and going along for the ride. Jim saw this as bonding time, of course, but he emphasized a second purpose.

“It was quality time, but it was also training,” Jim said.

Jim believed in teaching his children the importance of planning ahead, not painting themselves into a corner, and finishing what they start.

“When they go through all those steps,” Jim said, “…they’re proud of what they can do, and they have something that they’ve achieved; then that starts to flow over into other things like schoolwork and gives them the confidence to do a lot of other things.”

Josh Cornett, Jim’s fourth child, attended St. John the Evangelist School before graduating from Severna Park High School in 1998. A talented athlete, Josh continued his lacrosse career for all four years at Towson University as he worked toward a bachelor’s degree in sports management. Meanwhile, Jim continued his full-time work at Fort Meade and maintained his small business, but he semi-retired from Cornett Heating and Cooling around 2009.

Josh loves his hometown and returned to Severna Park in 2011 with his eye on rejuvenating the family business. Josh officially took the reins in 2016. Continuing through the two generations is his father’s commitment to community, a quality the Severna Park Community Center (SPCC) benefited from when met with a six-figure financial investment.

While attending the annual SPCC gala, Josh learned of the need to install a massive dehumidification system to improve the air quality of the popular indoor pool facility. Josh felt like the numbers weren’t adding up and he wanted to help. Entrenched in the HVAC business, Josh immediately donated his knowledge and his network to assemble a competitive alternative with a colleague. This decision saved the center, a nonprofit organization, a whopping $200,000 that can now be used to fund other things, including programs. Interestingly, when asked why he loves his HVAC work so much, Josh’s first response was because of his fondness for the local community and how there are so many ways to contribute.

“I don’t like the added attention about bringing someone else in,” Josh shared. “That’s what I want the whole community to do, you know, that’s just what you do — you help.”

Today, Cornett Heating and Cooling has two service technicians and recently hired a business manager to help grow the business. Moreover, the father-son element came full circle when Josh hired Jim in 2016 to help in the office, the same year Jim finally retired from Fort Meade.

“He comes in the office every day; it’s awesome,” shared Josh. “I get to see my dad every day. I’m blessed.”

To learn more about the services, business ethos and family behind Cornett Heating and Cooling, visit www.cornetthvac.com or call 410-647-6979.

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