by Matt Michel
Recently, the Airconditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) held a summit of industry leaders to discuss ways we can improve the image of the industry. The idea is to counter messages sent out by sting TV and yellow journalists who see the HVACR industry as a ripe target whenever they need to engineer a scandal for a ratings boost.
Why does this matter? For starters, negative messages build negative images. We need a positive image to successfully market and sell to the public. More importantly, a positive image makes it easier to attract people to our industry. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve got a serious shortage of labor facing us.
There’s a Lot to Trumpet About
The HVACR industry has a terrific record. Take the environment, for instance. We’ve done more than any other industry to improve the environment. Do you remember reading about foggy old London in Charles Dickens’ books when you were growing up? Well foggy old London was really smoggy old London because everyone burned coal.
Without gas, oil, and electric furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps, people would still be burning coal or anything else handy. When people are cold, they’ll burn anything to stay warm. Imagine how dirty the skies would appear over our northern cities each winter without the products of today’s heating and air conditioning industry.
We help the environment in other ways too. We voluntarily began reducing the use of CFCs ahead of the global community’s Montreal Protocol. When we encounter old equipment that still uses CFCs or HFCs, we aggressively seal leaks and recycle old refrigerant. Few products are recycled as vigorously as refrigerant. We are the nation’s best recyclers.
We’ve been one of the most progressive industries in improving product efficiency as well. Air conditioners are nearly three times as efficient today as they were 30 years ago. Greater efficiency lowers utility bills for end users and reduces power plant emissions.
Without Air Conditioning, There Wouldn’t Be an Information Age
Air conditioning and refrigeration contribute much more to the economy than jobs. Without them, many industries simply wouldn’t exist. Without air conditioned clean rooms for silicon chip production, for example, the computer and telecommunications industries wouldn’t exist as they do today.
Without Air Conditioning,
We’d Have Less Health Care
You may think of air conditioning as a comfortable home or office, but it’s also a healthy home and a healthy America. We improve the quality of the air people breathe, the food people eat, and the life-saving medicine people need.
HVACR Is A Great Place To Work
The HVACR industry should be seen as one of the most attractive places to work in America. Our technicians enjoy freedom and responsibility working on their own.
They are offered variety, with every day being different, because every problem is different. There’s plenty of challenge in a job that requires a knowledge of electronics, electricity, and mechanical systems. Then there is the pride in doing the job well, and satisfaction when a home or office is transformed from miserable to comfortable.
Furthermore, the industry pays well!.Entry level positions pay far more than many deskbound or retail jobs and offer better growth opportunities. Technicians can move into sales engineering, computer-aided drafting and design, and service management. In the HVACR Industry, the sky’s the limit.
Let’s Blow Our Own Horn
If the image of our industry is going to improve, it will take all of us pitching in to help.
So sound the trumpets and blast the horns! Tell the world how great this industry is to be part of and work in. Remember, if we don’t, the scandal TV shows will use our horns as spitoons.
Matt Michel is the president and CEO of The Service Roundtable (www.serviceroundtable.com), a group formed by a collection of the nation’s top performing contractors to provide contractors with low cost, high quality, effective sales, marketing, and profit improvement tools they can apply immediately in their businesses. E-mail him at [email protected].