Two things will remain with me the longest from Mechanical Systems Week 2012.
The first is comfort. There was a lot of talk (spoiler alert) of returning the show to its Comfortech name in 2013. I think that’s a good move; it’s a very strong brand that’s instantly recognized throughout the HVAC industry, and will come to be just as recognizable among our hydronic and plumbing friends and partners. But while the focus of the word “comfort” is usually thought to apply to the comfort the show’s attendees will provide in their customers’ homes, I think one aspect of comfort sometimes gets overlooked: the comfort the attendees feel during their time at the show. It was there on full display again this year.
These few days together is as comfortable as it gets for contractors. They’re surrounded by friends old and new who understand the business and face the same issues. They look forward to the annual event (this was the 17th) and see it as a respite from the grind and a time to open up to each other, learn, and have fun.
The first night there, at a hospitality suite party, I stood listening to four contractors — from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, and California — talking for hours about their common challenges and the goals, hopes, and dreams they have for the industry and their businesses. These four had all just met, and within minutes were forging friendships and bonds that will help them survive and thrive in a tough industry. Think they were immediately comfortable with each other? Think they’ll keep in touch and come back to see each other again next year? They sure will . . . Comfortech is a comfortable few days in a world of challenges.
The second thing I’ll long remember is my friend Michael Bohinc receiving the Service Roundtable’s highest honor, the Servant Leader Award. There was probably never a guy who would more like to keep himself out of the spotlight than Michael, and it was fun to watch a flabbergasted Bohinc take the stage to receive the award. He reportedly had some unprintable “thanks” for award presenter Matt Michel, but I could tell Michael was truly moved. Congratulations, Michael!