Houston’s S&S HVAC Equipment


S&S HVAC replaced a cooling tower at the top of the 26-storey Lyric Tower in downtown Houston.


Back in the 1980’s, when most female high school students may have been dreaming of becoming a teacher, a nurse or other more traditional ‘female’ roles, Angela Sherman had her heart set on becoming a sales engineer and running her own business.

In 1986, Sherman graduated from Georgia Tech as a Mechanical Engineer and was hired by Carrier, then Honeywell, before realizing her dream of owning her own business in the Greater Houston area. In 2007, she and her husband Steve Sherman, started S&S HVAC—the ‘S&S’ stood for ‘Sherman and Sherman’.

“In February 2008, SPX approached me about Marley® cooling towers,” explains Angela Sherman. “They were doing a corporate reorganization, and I had an opportunity to become their representative.  The Marley brand continues to be a prominent product in the cooling space. The honor to represent the Marley Cooling Tower line is a real achievement because it is such a well-respected brand that’s asked for by name. Like tissues. No-one asks you for a tissue, they ask for a Kleenex. We were lucky to be in this market, as most people feel that Marley cooling towers are a leading option.”


Angela Sherman, President, S&S HVAC Equipment.


Fast forward to 2024

Today, S&S HVAC is a trusted commercial and industrial HVAC manufacturers’ representative with about 20 employees. It continues to be led by Steve Sherman (Sales Engineer, Treasurer), Scott Steffen(Vice President) and Angela Sherman (President). Robert Hatcher is their service sales manager. They specialize in hydronic equipment, parts and service and have been a trusted partner for more than 1,000 commercial and industrial clients to date. In addition to Marley cooling towers, the other premium products lines they represent include Patterson Pumps, Patterson-Kelley Boilers, Puroflux Filtration, and Kinetics Noise Control solutions.

“I may be President, but I’m still an active salesperson,” says Sherman. “I still quote, budget, and troubleshoot jobs ... and, for me, working with our customers is the fun part. In addition, as owner, I have to ensure our employees are happy, plus look after insurance, computer systems, and all the little things you don’t really think about. Thankfully, Scott and I share those responsibilities.” 
Sherman adds that their team’s dedication and commitment to customer service creates a seamless experience from the time of inception, through engineering design, product specification, procurement, installation and final commissioning. And their seasoned sales engineers maintain open communication and offer value-added guidance and solutions at each stage of the project.


Factors to Consider When Specifying a Cooling Tower

“SPX and their brands have a solid reputation,” explains Sherman. “It’s one of the few companies that have a full product line, which has allowed us to be a true consultant of cooling towers. We can suggest different options based on footprint, horsepower, energy efficiency—whatever the customer’s criteria are. And people, as much as the equipment, have an impact. Having a great product takes you a long way but your reps have to be responsive, good listeners and know their products.”

“There are a multitude of factors to be considered, whether replacing or repairing an existing cooling tower or installing in new construction. Floating floors in a high-rise, for example, must be addressed because they allow the absorption of noise from the heavy equipment. You can’t have noise transfer into the whole building. Switching from a wooden tower to stainless steel, is another example. A footing evaluation and possible reinforcement may be required, due to age and corrosion. The fact that our sales team are all engineers ensures that we address these types of issues with technical skill and confidence.”

Sherman believes that the recent shift, with large brand chilling companies moving from factory direct to independent reps, is a transition that will continue. Why? Mostly because of economics. With product reps working directly with customers, the manufacturer doesn’t have to concern themselves with office overhead, employees, insurance, different taxes in each state, and more. It’s a win-win situation.

Whether or not to have service departments is also at issue. It’s very market driven and is a question that Marley is always asking. S&S HVAC only works on cooling towers with their own employees and subcontracts to major contractors. Having an in-house service team allows them to offer the full spectrum—to install, clean, inspect, repair or replace cooling towers. Sherman adds that they started the service department within a couple of years of starting the company, to provide the best possible service overall.

“For installation, for example, think of it like getting an Ikea desk,” explains Sherman. “It comes in a box, but sometimes the instructions aren’t easy to understand. It’s the same with cooling towers. Some will be delivered, and the installation instructions are complicated. So, at S&S HVAC, we started providing a ‘Trim Out’ package in 2010.  It includes all components the customer may need from a ladder and a handrail, to setting motors, installing external platforms - basically everything that is required for set-up. And our team works with the contractor for installation. Every mechanical contractor we have worked with loves it. We started a trend! In Houston, all of our competitors now do this as well.”


S&S HVAC team members providing “trim out” work installing a SPX Marley cooling tower at a Houston area high school.


New Construction Utilizing New Technology

“With new construction, where there is an architect and owner, the client typically hires an engineer,” reports Sherman. “We work closely with engineers from the start, using an SPX program called CoolSpec™ Product Selector, to design footings, piping, access, electrical, etc. It’s an intuitive tool that compares and selects Marley® and Recold® brand evaporative cooling products – open-circuit and closed-circuit, crossflow and counterflow cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers. We put the data from our visit to the installation site into CoolSpec and, in 15 minutes, can generate project specific drawings. Engineers can then take that information and cut and paste it into their project. Some of them do this at the starting point, to compare systems. They can then change or improve it if they want.

“Once the specs are created, it goes out for bid to general and mechanical contractors. We are the preferred supplier, so there is a preference, when it is financially feasible to use us, over the competition. Especially if the location is critical on space, because architects want the cooling tower to be hidden from view, if at all possible.”


Maintenance, Repair or Replacement

“We also work with building managers/owners for towers that need inspection, cleaning, repair or replacement. These towers may not be the Marley brand. Some may be made of wood, which was common many years ago, and they need complete replacement with a new stainless-steel tower. We help them find the best way to achieve this. And that’s why we always go to the job site before quoting.

We look and measure, to ensure good placement and sound footings. Most often, the replacement must be done over the weekend with a planned shutdown and be back running for Monday morning. It gets a little hairy if it’s too windy to operate the crane — that removes the old towers and lifts new ones into place — or if other challenges arise. It’s fast paced.”

Sherman gives an example of when they replaced a wood cooler tower on the 26-storey Lyric Tower in downtown Houston for Hines — one of the largest privately held real estate investors and managers in the world. She says the tower was kind of in a hole on the top of the building, with not much space around it, and was difficult to access. Cranes tall enough for the high-rise were hard to come by and, after 9-11, helicopters are not allowed in downtown Houston. They looked at rebuilding the wood tower, piece by piece with Hines, the design engineer, T &D Engineers, and the installing contractor, Graco Mechanical, but this wasn’t an option (they don’t make wooden towers like they used to, and it wouldn’t last very long).  

A stainless steel package cooling tower was the best option. Luckily, they found a crane large enough to support the project, which required us to shut down a downtown street on a busy weekend, with the crane taking up an entire city block, hire police to direct traffic, and lift old components down and the new tower up, all in one weekend. Each situation is like a puzzle you have to solve, between us, the contractor, and sometimes the crane operator.

“Our team is proud to be known as a reliable partner in our industry, and we value the relationships we build with our customers, both large and small,” concludes Sherman. “Those relationships are only possible because of our commitment to excellence at every level. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing quality products and services that are always delivered with integrity.”

Cooling Tower Installation and Piping Reconfiguration


S&S HVAC worked closely with a mechanical contractor to reconfigure cooling tower piping.


In January 2024, the S&S HVAC team worked with MLN Company, a premier Mechanical Contractor in Houston to replace the cooling towers for the offices of a major corporation in Houston. The piping was previously installed in such a way that it was very difficult to take down the towers without taking down the entire plant. They worked with MLN Company and piped the towers differently as a temporary fix to allow for one cell to remain running while others were replaced.  Once that was complete – piping was replaced to the original configuration

BASIS OF DESIGN: Marley NC Cooling Tower

  • Induced Draft Crossflow Design, Three Cell Configuration


  • Complete Stainless-Steel Construction (casing, structure, collection basin, and distribution basins).
  • Marley Geareducer® Drive w/ 5 Year Warranty
  • Point-Load Anchor Configuration for Installation on Structural Steel as Designed
  • No modification to structural steel required.
  • 15 mil PVC Fill w/ Integral Louvers & Drift Eliminators


  • Dual Top Inlet with HC Valves
  • Depressed Sump Outlet w/ Trash Screens & Anti-Vortex Plates
  • Bottom Equalizer, Bypass, Drain & Overflow Connections


  • Motors Positioned Outside the Moist Airstream
  • Exterior Motor Access Platforms
  • Exterior Door Access PlatformsInternal Plenum Walkway, Ladder and Access Platform
  • Fan Deck Access Ladders with OSHA Cage & Extension to Grade
  • Fan Guards
  • External Lube Lines w/ Dipstick


  • Make-Up Water Float Assemblies
  • Electric Basin Heaters w/ Control Panels
  • Vibration Limit Switches


  • 7650 gpm
  • Wet Bulb = 80 F
  • Approach = 6 F
  • Hot Water Entering = 96 F
  • Cold Water Leaving = 86 F
  • Range = 10


All photos courtesy of S&S HVAC. 

For more information visit: https://sshvac.com/ and https://spxcooling.com/cooling-towers/ .

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Published April 2024.