About Ventry Solutions: How we started and who we are now

30+ years as a family- and firefighter-owned and operated company.

Over 30 years and counting!

Ventry Solutions, Inc. was incorporated in 1972 under the name Quality Builders, Inc. of Bozeman. In 1989, "dba J. Neils Enterprises" was added to the company name when John Neils, company founder, was "volunteered" to build Hauser Lake Volunteer Fire Department (our local department) a positive pressure ventilation (ppv) fan.

Myron Richardson, the Chief of Hauser Lake VFD at the time and valued member of our team to this day, knew John's experience as a pilot and in building experimental aircraft. While showing John a PPV fan advertisement, Myron asked John, "Could you build this?" John looked at it for a minute and said "Sure!" He then went around and asked other fire fighters what they didn't like about existing PPV fans. They all told John to "get it up off the ground!"

Originally called a Windjammer, the first fan had four legs. It didn't work well. The next generation had three straight legs. To improve stability, the legs' curve was soon added. Myron tried talking John out of the curve because he didn't want to bend the legs, but he lost the battle. The name was also then changed from Windjammer to Ventry® Fans.

Original Windjammer Fan next to a current Ventry Fan, both by Ventry Solutions, Inc.

LEFT: An original 20-inch Windjammer Fan with wheels. RIGHT: A current Ventry Fan Model 20GX160 with LED Light and Medium Flat-Free Wheels & Skids

Original Lentry Lighting System next to a current Lentry Lighting System, both by Ventry Solutions, Inc.

LEFT: An original Lentry Lighting System with a 2000w generator and single XT height 650w halogen light. RIGHT: A current Lentry Lighting System Model 2SPECX (with a 2200w generator and a single XT height V-Spec LED).

Around 2002, we started receiving inquiries at various tradeshows, asking if we could put our fan legs on generators to get them up off the ground as well. James Neils, Mechanical Engineer, Fire Fighter, and John's son, quickly went into R&D mode and created the first Lentry® Frame & Legs, but knew more could be done. Generators with lights mounted directly on them were already available from various manufactures, but they lacked maneuverability. To solve that problem, James mounted the light head to a telescoping pole, not only so the light head could articulate in any direction, but so it could also be raised and lowered as needed.

At the end of 2009, the company name was officially changed to Ventry Solutions, Inc. because J. Neils Enterprises was too hard to remember, spell, alphabetize, and find online. Everyone already knew us as "Ventry," so it was a good change. Shortly after in 2010, John retired and passed the baton to James, allowing him to become CEO and lead the company into the future.

Our Mission

James and Dad (John) working on their motor glider

James and John (Dad) working on Ogar, a self-launching motor glider. James made a propeller to replace Ogar’s original prop and improve performance. The glider used to climb at 50 feet per minute and cruising speed was 60 knots max. With the new propeller, it now climbs at 800 ft/min and cruises at 80 knots. James knows propellers. He knows AIR. And he knows SAFETY.

Ventry Solutions, Inc. backs up our out-STAND-ing products with exceptional customer service, before, during, and after the sale. Our staff has over 80 years of combined firefighting experience which informs our products, customer service, and business model.

Our mission is to build the best equipment possible—in safety, quality, and value—while keeping the designs simple for minimal maintenance and intuitive, cost-effective operation.



John and James

James and John, 2009

Our Team

James Neils

CEO, Mechanical Engineer, Firefighter since 1993.

James was introduced to positive pressure ventilation (PPV) in 1989 by John Neils (Dad) and has worked with fans and ventilation ever since; previously he taught college level physics. Currently, James serves as Fire Chief, an EMT, and a fire fighting Instructor. James is also a pilot and has been working with and on airplanes since he was a small boy. James understands aerodynamics, physics, propellers...He knows how to move air! He is also a talented engineer and expert in fire fighting and ventilation, with a dozen great reasons for every nut, bolt, curve, and material used on our products. Finally, James is an expert you can utilize! Our business line rings at his home too, so you may reach him even after hours if you call.

John Neils

Company Founder

John founded the company back in 1972 and served as CEO until he retired in 2010, while also volunteering as a firefighter and first responder from 1989 to 2014. John is a pilot and since retiring, he is often found enjoying the outdoors, taking care of his garden, or working on a Cessna he shares with James, as well as Ogar, a self-launching motor glider. Even during retirement, John is still willing and able to help us out when needed.



William Neils

Production / Assembly

William is James's youngest son and grew up around Ventry Fans and Lentry Lights (literally, as our shop was often his playground during the summer months), so it was no surprise when he became interested in how our products are built and operate. When William is not in school or participating in after-school sports, he can still be found in our shop, but this time building products and completing orders. On top of that, William is also a volunteer fire fighter and EMT with our local department, so when the pager goes off, both he and James are off and running!


Contractor, Welding

Now retired from the fire industry, Myron served as a firefighter and EMT from 1976 to 2020. He is a dear friend who does a lot of our welding at his own facility (also in Hauser Lake) when not at one of many local golf courses or ski resorts. His experience and insights have been instrumental since the first Ventry Fan ever made. Myron has been honored with our fire department’s Dedication and Devotion Award twice!

Solar Miser Energy Window mounted on a stand in front of a window

Solar Miser® Window Energy Meter

For those interested in solar energy, we offer the Solar Miser Window Energy Meter, which John Neils invented many years ago. It is an insulation meter which tells you the net energy flow through windows, helping you take advantage of energy gains when heating and energy losses when cooling. Click the picture to the right to download the flyer.