From The Field

Jan. 1, 2012
The Unified Group held its 13th Annual Meeting/Owners’ Forum in Dana Point, CA in November 2011. Keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman kicked off the event, with observations on leadership.

Leadership the Topic During Unified Group Annual Meeting
The Unified Group held its 13th Annual Meeting/Owners’ Forum in Dana Point, CA in November 2011.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman kicked off the event, with observations on leadership.

"Leadership has little or nothing to do with your title or your position, but it has everything to do with your ability to influence and bring out the best in others," Zimmerman said. During his "Leadership Payoff"discussion, Zimmerman shared strategies, ideas, and lessons learned from his own life.

The Annual Meeting/Owners' Forum featured peer group discussions. Over three days, attendees discussed their business goals, leadership challenges, and strategic plans in both small and large groups.

"It's refreshing to see that other contractors are going through the same issues," said one meeting attendee. "It's funny how I thought my problems were unique. I found out today that I'm normal." To learn more about The Unified Group’s "lucky 13th" year, visit

In other news, The Unified Group has selected Glendale, N.Y.-based BP Group as its newest member.

BP Group will join more than 50 commercial HVAC contractors and will serve as the association’s New York City member. BP Group has been providing HVAC systems and services to New York’s leading businesses and institutions for more than 30 years.

Young’s AC Joins GreenHomes America Franchise Network
GreenHomes America has a new member to its franchise network: Young's Air Conditioning, Los Banos, CA. Young's is GreenHomes America's sixth location in its home state of California, a state in which sources say the residential heating, cooling, and plumbing business has been primed by rebates and tax incentives.

As part of the franchise process, GreenHomes America will provide Young's with the systems, procedures, training, and certifications necessary to become a full-fledged GreenHomes America franchise.

"Young's makes a great addition to our expansive franchise network in California, helping us serve homeowners who are demanding Home Performance solutions in an area which was previously underserved," says Brett Knox, president, GreenHomes America. "The generous incentives for heating, cooling, and plumbing services in California have created the demand; it's now up to HVAC companies like Young's Air to respond to the opportunity by delivering home performance solutions," Knox says.

Richard L. Young founded Young's Air Conditioning in 1984. His sons, Richard and Charles, took over the family business in 2003. Sources say Young's Air Conditioning has earned a reputation as the area’s leading provider of energy efficient heating and cooling services.

"It's exciting to take Young's energy efficiency services to a new level through our partnership with GreenHomes America," says Richard Young. "We're in the midst of a big evolution for the HVAC industry, and we're thankful to be at the forefront. I'm sure our customers will be pleased when they hear how much energy and money we can save them."

Marelich Mechanical Receives City Business Award
The leadership team of Marelich Mechanical, San Francisco, CA, has received a Business Recognition Award by Mayor Michael Sweeney on behalf of the City of Hayward, CA. The award was given in recognition of the company's commitment and contributions to the community. Marelich Mechanical is a subsidiary of EMCOR Group, Inc.

"Marelich Mechanical has made a strong contribution to the Hayward community by locating and expanding their business operations in Hayward, by being an industry leader, by providing livable wage job opportunities to local residents, and by contributing to the vitality and overall economic well being of the Hayward community," Sweeney says.

"We're extremely honored to be recognized by the City of Hayward," says Keith Atteberry, president/CEO of Marelich Mechanical. "Marelich has established its reputation as the go-to company in the Bay Area, by combining advanced technology, experienced project management, and the highest standard of craftsmanship, to ensure all of our projects result in the kind of reliable, high-quality mechanical systems that owners demand in their facilities."

Since relocating to Hayward in 1987, Marelich Mechanical has grown to become a company with 225 employees. The completion of the company’s new Hayward fabrication facility earlier this year increased workspace threefold.

National Comfort Institute Summit Offers Solutions
The Ninth Annual National Comfort Institute (NCI) Summit will be held Feb. 5-10, at the Innisbrook Golf Resort, Palm Harbor, FL. The NCI’s "Follow Through and Make the GREEN" Summit will feature training implementation solutions for all areas of business, from management to technical performance. Innovative breakout sessions and cutting-edge performance measurement technology will be featured.

Throughout the conference, contractors will learn about many new and exciting member benefits, sales tools, business tools, and training programs.

New sessions will include "Outside the Box" brainstorming work groups, originally tested at last October’s NCI Business Leadership Conference. According to NCI, these work groups have been modified and molded especially for Summit attendees. Traditional Summit favorites will include the popular Idea Meeting, Performance-Based Organized Discussion (POD) Meetings, and POD Formation opportunities.

The NCI Summit agenda will include performance-based breakout sessions, NCI’s nationally-acclaimed PerformanceTown USA™, and numerous other events. For additional information, visit or call NCI at 800/633-7058

J.F. Ahern Co., Fond du Lac, WI, has named Robert Mathews to the dual role of vice president of corporate services/chief financial officer. Mathews brings more than 20 years of financial expertise and business leadership to the 130-year-old firm. Mathews will carry out CFO and corporate services division responsibilities, and will serve on Ahern’s management committee.

"Contractor Soft Skills" — a new DVD by customer service consultant Steve Coscia — is a concise and comprehensive service company tutorial for contractors who want to:

  • improve customer retention
  • enhance overall service delivery
  • create a culture of excellence.

Topics contained in the DVD include:

  • The First Impression
  • Balancing Empathy & Expertise
  • Averting Blame, Stress & Retaliation
  • Listening & Cognitive Capture
  • Phone Voice Mail Rudiments.

The importance of employee tact and thoughtfulness can’t be overstated. According to Coscia, your employees’ voices say something to the customer about their health, intellect, education, assertiveness, and ability to get things done. At any first meeting with a customer, a technician is instantly judged (rightly or wrongly) by others based on visual cues, tone of voice, and use of proper manners, he says. The DVD provides a step-by-step look at examples of model employee communication scenarios.

To order, visit; or call 610/853-9836.

Ohio entrepreneur Greg McAfee, owner, McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., Beavercreek, OH, inspires business success in his book, "It's (My) Your Dream: Eight Elements to Guide Your Business Success." McAfee demonstrates practical, easy to understand methods of growing and achieving business success.

In 1990, McAfee started his business with one truck and $274. He has since guided McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. to become one of the most successful HVAC companies in the Midwest. or call 888/473-4872.

1970: "Build Your Image to Sell Service," wrote Art Bogen, president, Bogen Heating & Airconditioning, Co. "You won’t make money in service unless you sell it, and you can’t sell successfully until you build a good public image," he said. Bogen added that it isn’t advertising that builds an image. You must earn it by thoughtful planning, and by paying attention to the many details that prove you have integrity and do good work. Among Bogen’s advice:

  • paint signs on the tops of your trucks
  • develop a customer list, and use direct mail each month to build commercial service
  • be sure your advertising spots mention service offerings
  • make follow-up calls to customers
  • employees must be polite and well-attired.

Comfort Supply, a Nashville-based wholesaler of Ruud HVAC products, has teamed up with KB Watson Enterprises to provide contractors with a suite of cloud-based calculators designed to simplify the most common tasks performed by HVAC comfort advisors, system designers, installers and service technicians. The platform of cloud-based Web apps – ranging from Manual J (heating and cooling load calculations), to Ductulator, to Heat Pump Capacity – runs on any device with a web browser. Watson designed a platform that’s accessible by any technician, anywhere, regardless of the device being used. A beta site for HVAC Web Apps can be found at

AHR EXPO — International Air-Conditioning Heating, Refrigeration Exposition — Jan. 23-25, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL;

ACCA — Air Conditioning Contractors of America —Conference & Indoor Air Expo, Mar. 5-8, Las Vegas, NV;

ASHRAE — American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers —High Performance Buildings Conference, Mar. 12-13, San Diego, CA;

About the Author

Terry McIver | Content Director - CB

A career publishing professional, Terence 'Terry' McIver has served three diverse industry publications in varying degrees of responsibility since 1987, and worked in marketing communications for a major U.S. corporation.He joined the staff of Contracting Business magazine in April 2005.

As director of content for Contracting Business, he produces daily content and feature articles for CB's 38,000 print subscribers and many more Internet visitors. He has written hundreds, if not two or three, pieces of news, features and contractor profile articles for CB's audience of quality HVACR contractors. He can also be found covering HVACR industry events or visiting with manufacturers and contractors. He also has significant experience in trade show planning.