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    April 13, 2023
    Deepest Sympathy

    Tragedy in North Carolina

    April 30, 2021
    Home invader takes the lives of family members, two HVACR technicians. Events begin again, and an industry friend announces his retirement.

    The HVACR industry experienced a tragedy on April 7, when Robert Shook and James Lewis, HVAC technicians employed by GSM Services, Gastonia, NC, were among the victims of a mass shooting at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Mr. Lewis was killed at the scene. Mr. Shook succumbed to his injuries three days later. The assailant was alleged to be ex-NFL player Phillip Adams, who came to the home in search of the homeowner, Dr. Phillip Lesslie. Dr. Lesslie’s wife Barbara and their two grandchildren were also slain.

    We at Contracting Business offer our condolences to the Shook and Lewis families, their colleagues at GSM Services; those in the PHCC-National Association, to which the men belonged; and to the families of the Lesslie’s and to the parents of the slain children.
    Lewis was a single father of three children. His mother Linda Tucker told WSOC-TV: “He helped anybody, he was a kind guy, a great dad . . .” Shook was a husband and father of three. His cousin Heather Thompson told USA Today that, “He walks this earth and puts those work boots on every day for those three kids and his wife.”PHCC of North Carolina Board President Rob McClintock said that co-owner Joel
    Long and the entire GSM company also wanted to express gratitude for the outpouring of love and support they have received in this difficult time.

    “This is a heartbreaking incident,” said PHCC—National Association President Hunter Botto. “Our hearts go out to the families of Mr. Lewis, Mr. Shook, the entire GSM Services organization, as well as the Lesslie’s. We are grateful for these GSM technicians: honorable people who, while providing essential services to protect public health and safety, became innocent victims of such a horrific tragedy.”

    PHCC of North Carolina Board President Rob McClintock said that co-owner Joel Long and the entire GSM company also wanted to express gratitude for the outpouring of love and support they have received in this difficult time.

    PHCC—National Association Executive Vice President Michael Copp remarked, “Though we look down in deference with bowed heads, our eyes will slowly rise to see a way forward through the thick haze of hurt to honor these professionals who we will never forget.” 

    And as happens so often, people, the majority of whom are strangers, showed their compassion, by donating $385,000 to the families of Shook and Lewis through a GoFundMe account. Claims that America is a fractured and divided nation are greatly exaggerated.

    Events Starting Up

    In what we hope is a return to daily normalcy, two leading contractor support groups have announced live membership events. First will be the Service Nation “Barefoot Roundtable,” to be held in Clearwater Beach, Fla., May 13 & 14. Presenters will include Matt Michel; Joe Strittmatter; Jason Johnson; Melanie Gentry; Pete
    Danielson; and a panel of “healthy home” experts. Topics will include: principles for success; the connected home opportunity; wealth and tax management; healthy homes; goal attainment; and a layered approach to marketing.

    "Our roster of panelists and speakers has been selected because they are the pioneers to this new world, and rock stars in this industry, rising from challenges, with new strategies to share," says Service Nation CEO Matt Michel. The room block is sold out, so inquire directly with the Sheraton Sand Key about room availability, at 727-595-1611. Find event content and registration information at serviceroundtable.com/events.

    In October, Electric and Gas Industries Association (EGIA) will present EPIC2021,
    at the Paris, Las Vegas hotel and casino, Oct. 28-29. This is a revival of the 2020 event which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The good news is all of the originally-booked speakers will appear. Topics will include planning and execution; how new national demographics will affect your business; and practical steps for moving up at your company. Learn more at epic2021event.com.

    Bittersweet News

    At press time, we learned that Steve Saunders, CEO of Tempo, Inc. is retiring, after more than 40 years of service to the HVAC industry. He told me this was in the works, and now, Brian Mount will take over as CEO, after 10 years on the Tempo team.
    Saunders and Tempo were planning well in advance for this change. The firm is in year 11 of a 15-year leadership and ownership transition plan. Are you listening, HVAC owners? That is advance planning.

    Steve Saunders was a member of the CB advisory board, and a recipient of the ACCA Distinguished Service Award. He was always willing and able to provide an article or other commentary to help us out. Brian Mount reported that Steve will be Chairman Emeritus of Tempo, and will focus on helping the new leadership team with issues related to Customers, Culture, People, Problems and Policy. Serving Tempo’s 230 employee-owners with Mount are President David Gannon; Bonnie Hutti, CFO; and Aaron Gonzalez, COO.

    Thank you, Steve Saunders!

    (Sympathy graphic by HowLettery/iStock/GettyImagesPlus)