Luck has nothing to do with it. 

Western Nevada Supply’s hydronics and solar department. Photo courtesy of Western Nevada Supply


When Rick Reviglio took over as president and general manager of Western Nevada Supply from his father, Jack, he came to a figurative fork in the business road.

“You can either sell more of the same products to the same customers,” Reviglio states, “or you can sell new products to the same customers.”

Reviglio led Western Nevada down the latter path and hasn’t looked back since. The Reno, Nev.-based wholesaler took the chance and became the market’s leader in radiant hydronics, solar and geothermal technologies. To complete this goal, Western Nevada had to align itself with the most trusted people it knew in the industry.

Twenty years ago, contractors in the area weren’t working with radiant products and technologies. Today, a lot of Western Nevada’s business comes from those same contractors.

“That really helped us grow radiant. It also morphed our plumbing customers into hydronics customers,” Reviglio says.

Over the last 15 years, coinciding with Reviglio’s leadership, Western Nevada has matured to eight locations with three showrooms between northwestern Nevada and eastern California.

Pictured here (from left): Brian Spiersch, Russ Cartwright, Greg Lamb, John Chalupa and Rich Coppola make up Western Nevada Supply’s hydronics and solar department.

Putting the team together

Still, Reviglio and Western Nevada needed to find the right mix of personnel to continue the company’s green evolution. Reviglio leaned on his business friends from the Embassy buying group, and Joel and Nancy Becker of Waterbury, Conn.-based Torrington Supply. They recommended Rich Coppola to lead Western Nevada’s first foray into the hydronics and solar industries.

“I was able to get a guy that knew the business already,” Reviglio says. “I was willing to invest in that.”

Coppola made the commitment to move three time zones and lead the green way at Western Nevada. Quickly, Coppola set out to find the region’s contractors in hopes of convincing them to make a slight career adjustment along with him.

For the radiant and hydronics business, Coppola looked to Greg Lamb, an industry veteran in the region. Lamb started his plumber’s apprenticeship back in the 1970s with his soon-to-become father-in-law. Lamb’s future father-in-law stressed that if he wanted to marry his daughter and work in the industry he’d always have to be on the cutting edge and be willing to learn. During the first five years of his career, Lamb worked with big steam boilers and enjoyed working on the hydronics end of the business. He continued his work in the market until Western Nevada came to him in 2002 with a job opportunity.

“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lamb says of taking the head of radiant-hydronic sales position at Western Nevada.

Coppola also hired heads for the solar and geothermal departments. The company now has six employees dedicated to the hydronics market. Western Nevada has showrooms stocked with the latest toilets, showers and cabinetry, but you won’t find these guys working anywhere near that.

“It was a way to realign ourselves in the industry by investing in top-quality personnel that understand the products inside and out,” he says. “We can help advise and offer design services.” The 65-year-old Lamb makes the 30-mile commute and is in the Western Nevada office by 5:30 a.m., two days a week. The other days he’s out in the field making sales calls and adding his expertise to the jobsite. Lamb has no desire to hang it up.

“It’s so much fun with this group of guys,” he says. “I enjoy doing this.”

Westen Nevada Supply has helped many contractors in its territory find green solutions, including this installation by Orlando Enterprises at the Incline Village in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Photo courtesy of Greg Lamb of Western Nevada Supply

Only the best products

Western Nevada exclusively sells REHAU tubing and Lochinvar boilers for its radiant installation jobs, and is a leading distributor of those products lines. The Lake Tahoe areas of Nevada and California help give Western Nevada Supply a leg up in the market. Tahoe’s climate makes it a skier’s paradise and having warm floors during the wintertime is a luxury that many of the wealthy homeowners openly embrace. “Mountains, weather and money,” Coppola says.

“We’ve been a REHAU distributor for quite some time now and we’re one of its leading customers in North America,” Coppola adds. “We do a tremendous amount of work with radiant flooring in our market. Pretty much all the houses in the local and outlining area are radiant floor houses - and pretty large radiant floor houses at that.”

Western Nevada has grown its REHAU PEX tubing line year after year and is continually impressed with the company and its product. There haven’t been any defaults in its enduring business relationship.

“Our customers love the REHAU system,” Coppola says. “They don’t want to look at any other products. That’s good for us.”

Lochinvar – and specifically its Knight Boiler with 95% efficiency – is the boiler Western Nevada predominately sells to its customer base. It also has been a beneficial partnership.

“We’re one of their largest per-capita customers in the U.S.,” Coppola says. “We’ve had great success with the product.”

Greg Lamb (left) and Rich Coppola work on a Lochinvar boiler at Western Nevada Supply's Reno, Nev. facility. Western Nevada Supply exclusively sells Lochinvar boilers, particular the Knight boiler line.

Going to school, literally

That mentality from the top of the company led Western Nevada to build its own training facility and create classes 10 years ago at Truckee Meadows Community College for local contractors.

“We hold our own classes and work in conjunction with the manufacturers,” Reviglio says. “It’s about being progressive.”

Coppola and his crew will travel to all the major trade shows including going across the ocean to shows such as the International Sanitation and Heating show in Germany and to local American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers events.

“The key is to see the new products and build and maintain relationships with current vendors,” Coppola says. “We’re passionate about it. When you show up across the country at these events it shows the vendor your level of commitment.”

Western Nevada estimates it works closely with 500 contractors as far east as Elko, Nev., which boasts a large mining industry, to Carson City, Nev., in the western part of the state. Western Nevada also has the northern part of Nevada covered.

Having a six-person team only working on learning about and selling the latest trends and products in the hydronics market helps put Western Nevada customers’ minds at ease.

“Our whole team is just laser-beam focused on our market and on learning, educating, training our customers and support,” Coppola says. “People who are looking into (hydronics) see our level of expertise and it makes them feel real comfortable moving forward. They know they have the support from Western.”

Reviglio has no regrets 15 years after he made the call to enhance the profile of Western Nevada Supply’s green business.

“I would put our green team up against anyone in the country,” he says. “You’ve got to be the leader in educating contractors,” Reviglio says. “If you teach them, they’ll stay loyal to you.”

That mentality from the top of the company led Western Nevada to build its own training facility and create classes 10 years ago at Truckee Meadows Community College for local contractors.

“We hold our own classes and work in conjunction with the manufacturers,” Reviglio says. “It’s about being progressive.”

Coppola and his crew will travel to all the major trade shows including going across the ocean to shows such as the International Sanitation and Heating show in Germany and to local American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers events.

“The key is to see the new products and build and maintain relationships with current vendors,” Coppola says. “We’re passionate about it. When you show up across the country at these events it shows the vendor your level of commitment.”

Western Nevada estimates it works closely with 500 contractors as far east as Elko, Nev., which boasts a large mining industry, to Carson City, Nev., in the western part of the state. Western Nevada also has the northern part of Nevada covered.

Having a six-person team only working on learning about and selling the latest trends and products in the hydronics market helps put Western Nevada customers’ minds at ease.

“Our whole team is just laser-beam focused on our market and on learning, educating, training our customers and support,” Coppola says. “People who are looking into (hydronics) see our level of expertise and it makes them feel real comfortable moving forward. They know they have the support from Western.”

Reviglio has no regrets 15 years after he made the call to enhance the profile of Western Nevada Supply’s green business.

“I would put our green team up against anyone in the country,” he says.

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