In 1946 Robert L. Dancer opened a heating and air business in Fort Wayne. Dancer made house calls just as doctors did during that time, and because of that, came to be known as Doc Dancer. What began 75 years ago as a business that was run from a small home has now flourished into a well-known and respected company, with an experienced staff boasting a wealth of knowledge about their craft.
Doc Dancer Heating & Air was purchased from the Dancer family in 1966 by Willis Bulmahn, an individual who was instrumental in the early success of the business. Pouring his heart and soul into developing a loyal customer base in addition to growing a dedicated team, Bulmahn established a reputation of trustworthiness and reliability. In 1984 his son-in-law, Bill Berning Jr., joined the company and worked alongside him learning the complexities of the business. Since Willis’ passing in 1998, Berning has upheld the values instilled by his father-in-law and has grown Doc Dancer into a staple within Fort Wayne and its surrounding areas. Today the company is co-owned by Bill and his wife Nancy Berning, along with Steve Biggs and Dale Hubert.
“We first attribute our longevity and success to God’s grace and favor,” says Nancy Berning, owner. “Secondly, we attribute it to the team that we’ve assembled. We have the most amazing team members, from our sales manager Dale and operations manager Steve, to our customer service and office support team, to our field and warehouse personnel.”
Maintaining a positive environment and culture for the staff is a top priority for the owners, in addition to recognizing the importance of a healthy home and work life balance.
“We don’t overwork our team and understand that if we do people will get burned out,” says Bill Berning, owner. “We try to honor their time off as best we can while still accommodating our customers.”
The Doc Dancer install crew is a tenured group, with the lead installers having at least 11 years experience. These individuals take pride in the quality and craftsmanship of their work, while providing a pleasant customer experience.
“I always say we do heating, air and indoor quality work, but at the end of the day we’re in the people business,” says Steve Biggs, owner and operations manager. “We strive to take good care of our customers and make certain we’re doing things the right way.”
While heating and air conditioning are the bread and butter of the business, Doc Dancer offers several other services beyond that in terms of air quality. The installation of air cleaners, purifiers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers has become increasingly important over time, in addition to air duct cleaning and sealing. Doc Dancer is the only northeast Indiana business to offer Duct Armor, the latest technology for in-slab ductwork restoration. The company also offers Aeroseal, a duct sealing process that increases energy efficiency, reduces air leakage and, in turn, saves homeowner’s money. These products improve airflow throughout homes, reduce dust, pollutants and allergens, and dramatically improve comfort levels.
“Our customers want the air inside their home to be as healthy as possible,” says Bill Berning. “We are positioned better than anyone to do that because of all the various services we offer in regard to ductwork and indoor air quality.”
The range of Doc Dancer’s work doesn’t stop at everyday service calls, but extends into the community through donations and volunteer efforts. Team-building exercises for the employees include constructing IKEA furniture that is donated to Mustard Seed, or putting bicycles together and donating them to Vincent Village. The company installed the heating and air for a house built by Habitat for Humanity in 2020, and is also closely involved with Brightpoint’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
“We are proud to support many different causes with the blessings we’ve received from our business,” says Nancy Berning. “It’s important to advocate for other locally owned nonprofits and businesses as we’re all in this together.”
Address: 2309 S. Anthony Blvd. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46803
Phone: (260) 744-3251
Years in Business: 75
Number of Employees: 29
Products & Services: Heating, air conditioning, ductless mini-splits, boilers, air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air duct cleaning, air duct restoration