What a Week it Was!

What a Week it Was!

HVAC Comfortech 2009 — and the premier of HVACR WEEK — rocked Music City.

Residential and commercial HVACR attendees got their fill from inspiring keynote speeches, an improved seminar format, and the fun and frolic of Nashville at night!

Nashville, TN — It will go down in HVAC industry history, and live on in the memories of all who were there.

“HVACR WEEK,” Sept. 23-26, combined product and business management information for all sectors of the residential, light commercial, mechanical, and engineering segments of the industry, all in one great location, the Nashville Convention Center.

“For years, we've said that HVAC Comfortech is where the residential, light commercial contracting industry meets,” said ContractingBusiness.com Editorial Director Mike Weil. “Beginning this week, we've evolved it into an HVACR environment that includes commercial designers and engineers, commercial contractors, and residential and light commercial contractors.

“This evolution creates an educational, networking, and product showcase event that truly represents all aspects of the HVACR industry, called HVACR WEEK. It's new, it's now, and it's here. If you're a professional in this industry, this is the place you need to be,” Weil said.

A Special Kind of Show

  1. Bold message

    This year's theme was SUCCEED. GROW. DOMINATE. — a bold assertion for troubled economic times. The information presented during the week was developed with one specific goal: give attendees as much information as possible to attain greater success, grow their businesses, and dominate their markets.

  2. Positive vibes

    Those who attended HVACR WEEK radiated an infectious positivity. They could have stayed home and dreamed about an economic recovery. Instead, they chose to make the trip to Nashville, to learn some tips to surviving — indeed, thriving — as the calendar pages turn to 2010. They were hungry for information, and they feasted.

  3. Expanded seminars

    To satisfy attendees' information crave, HVACR WEEK featured a new format, which gave attendees a chance to visit every seminar of interest to them. More than 20 HVACR business owners and consultants offered valuable insight into ways to grow and improve an HVACR business.

    Additionally, nine “Innovations and Opportunities” session sponsors offered ideas based on a manufacturer's specific product or service offering. There was information to be found around every corner, and behind every door of the convention center meeting rooms. Business management and technical topics were presented by some of the industry's most popular and knowledgeable experts.

  4. Inspiring Keynote Speaker

    This year's meeting offered a unique keynote presentation. It was handled masterfully, by a man of music and muse — Robin Crow, author, record producer, entertainer, and music industry survivor.

Robin Crow Soars

Crow excited and encouraged a packed house during the HVACR WEEK opening session, with inspiring words and beautiful music.

In a presentation called, “The Power of Service,” Crow — who has produced music for Faith Hill, Neil Diamond, Michael W. Smith, and other nationally-known artists — recounted his days as a struggling musician. He said his climb to success in the record business began when he began to copy the habits of successful people.

“If you adapt to changes, you will be competitive. Adapt, and be willing to pay the price for success. Do whatever it takes, and be responsible for the outcome,” Crow said.

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During the presentation — sponsored by Trane — Crow combined guitar playing with a multi-media presentation to communicate his success message, including:

  • • Leadership is about influencing others to follow
  • • A person's character is measured by how he responds to adversity
  • • Many people want to wear the cloak of leadership, but with it comes the burden of responsibility.

“Great leaders can shift their vision back and forth from the big picture to the smallest details. That's what I call the Leadership Paradox,” Crow said.

“A successful business owner or manager must practice leadership, until your leadership fingers start to bleed,” Crow counseled. “The more time you spend practicing powerful habits of effective leadership, outstanding results will become second nature.

“And to get there, you have to imagine the possibilities. The seed of every action is a thought. And it all starts with imagination,” he said.

HVAC Comfortech: Excellence In Contracting, Technical Expertise, and Training

A major part of HVACR WEEK is the HVAC Comfortech event. As is the custom at Comfortech, award-winning contractors and technicians were recognized for helping grow the industry through their commitment to quality and excellence in contracting, training, and technical expertise.

Dewey Jenkins, president, Morris-Jenkins, Charlotte, NC, received the ContractingBusiness.com Residential Contractor of the Year Award during the Friday morning General Session. With the help of a fantastic team of managers and technicians, Jenkins built the company from $800,000 in annual sales, to $20 million and 73 technicians in 2008.

“This award is a direct reflection of what our managers, supervisors, and employees have accomplished,” Jenkins said. “If I can do it, what can you do? If I can do it, the stars are reachable for you.” Jenkins said the HVAC industry is “living on the cusp of the greatest economic boom the world has ever seen,” made possible in part by innovations in comfort systems technology.

“Look at the changes: two-stage compressors, modulating gas furnaces, humidity control we could only dream about a few years ago. The tipping point has been reached,” Jenkins said. “We're heating and cooling our homes in a way that sustains the environment. Whether or not you're an environmentalist, get on board. The train's leaving the station.”

The final ingredients that contributed to a fantastic HVACR WEEK were the exhibits. HVAC manufacturers, software companies, and service providers displayed many innovative products and new ideas. As a result, the perceptive and experienced contractors in attendance will have a running start into the coming heating season, and into the new year.

Party On!

Everyone's favorite first-night event, the Opening Night Reception, was sponsored by Emerson Climate Technologies. Karl Zellmer, Emerson's vice president of sales, welcomed attendees with the news that the Emerson Copeland Scroll compressor had recently hit the milestone of 75 million installations since its inception in 1988.

The Opening Night Reception provided show attendees with a chance to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and blow off a little steam before getting down to work the next morning.

Woman of the Year

Donna Lanier, owner, All-Seasons One Hour Heating and Cooling, Huntsville, AL, was this year's ContractingBusiness.com Woman of the Year.

“To be honored as a woman in the industry is near and dear to my heart. “But, it's not just me who's there each day, taking care of our homeowners,” Lanier said, “but those who are with me at the company. They're the wind beneath my wings.”

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NATE's Top Techs and the Golden Toolbox Award

This year, North American Technician Excellence (NATE) honored its “Top Techs” for 2009 a little bit differently. Unlike previous years, the technicians were chosen based on their full catalogue of NATE accomplishments.

“This is the 10th opportunity we've had to showcase some of the HVAC industry's top technical talent at Comfortech. This year, thanks to Emerson and Rheem, we wanted to recognize some talent that went beyond simply achieving a high score on one or two of our tests,” said Rex Boynton, NATE president. The Top Techs earned an average of eight NATE credentials, and NATE's Senior Efficiency Analyst credential.

Another annual NATE award, the Golden Toolbox, was presented to Gary Andis, director of education and research for the National Energy Management Institute, whose academic achievements include certification by the Association of Energy Engineers, and eight NATE certifications.

Commercial HVACR Symposium

The Commercial HVACR Symposium — a new element in HVACR WEEK — was a refreshed version of what had been presented in previous years as the Design/Build Seminar. It focused on seven timely topics for today's commercial HVACR contractor: training for the future; the benefits of service agreements; business diversification; sustainability; the role values and strategic vision play in success; raising your company to the next level; and adding energy services.

Contractors were very positive in their response to the Commercial HVACR Symposium sessions: “upbeat,” “to the point,” “brilliant,” and “easy to relate to” were just a few comments contractors offered about the seminars.

“I got a lot out of HVACR WEEK. I've known about it, and finally came to the show, and I'm glad I did,” said Drew Barbosa, president, Barbosa Mechanical, Dallas, TX. “I talked to many good people and picked up good information. I especially enjoyed the seminars that relate to increasing service agreements. I've got a lot to do on the airplane ride home.”

Scott Greiff, owner of SG Heating & Air Conditioning, Hightstown, NJ, was impressed by the easy accessibility to many of the HVAC industry's most successful contractors and consultants.

“I met some of the rock stars of the HVAC world,” Greiff said. “There was plenty of interaction. I got to bounce ideas off of other contractors just like me, and others whose businesses are smaller than mine. I came here thinking that if I left with one new idea, the conference would be worth it. I found much more than one new idea.”

(Watch for articles based on these presentations, and on the entire roster of HVACR WEEK seminars, in upcoming issues of ContractingBusiness.com.)

HVACR WEEK was a smashing success. Attendees from the residential, light commercial, and mechanical segments of the industry visited Nashville on a mission: find information to help them Succeed. Grow. Dominate.

It was a mission fulfilled.

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QHCA Design/Build Awards

Quality Home Comfort Awards were presented to the following residential contractors:

  • Sigman Heating and Air Conditioning, Belleville, IL
  • Tom Spall & Son, Carbondale, PA
  • Orchard Valley Heating & Cooling, Southampton, MA
  • TAG Mechanical Systems, Syracuse, NY

Design/Build Awards

Design/Build Awards, for excellence in commercial HVAC contracting were presented to:

  • Harrington Engineering, Inc., Rocky Hill, CT
  • Energy Control, Inc., Albuquerque, NM
  • MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, Seattle, WA
  • KAI Design and Build, St. Louis, MO

Save the Date: Baltimore, Sept. 22-24, 2010

What more could we do to top this HVACR WEEK report? How about news about next year's show? HVACR WEEK and HVAC Comfortech 2010 will make big waves on the East Coast, at the Baltimore Convention Center, Sept. 22-24.

Visit the HVAC Comfortech website at hvaccomfortech.com for

updates. From the staff of ContractingBusiness.com and HVAC Comfortech, thanks to all the sponsors, exhibitors and contractors who made HVAC Comfortech 2009 and HVACR WEEK a huge success.

See you next year in Baltimore!

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