Anthony Williams/Service Nation
In 2023, be among those contractors who value the expertise and peer group support found at industry events.

A Year of Learning, With More to Come in 2023

Dec. 1, 2022
It was a great year for HVAC business owners who do what it takes to succeed. The show season ended with the Service World Expo, which provided many ideas for enterprising contractors to run with.

It’s the final curtain for 2022, and a new one will soon open onto 2023. Time flies when you’re having fun, and we know of many HVACR contractors who had a blast in 2022. No need for them to fret over another year gone by, because they realize each new year brings new opportunities.

I spoke with many of those contractors at the October Service World Expo at the Tampa Convention Center, an excellent show, city and facility. The many hundreds of contractors who made the trip personify the ideal attitude for business success. They jump right into group discussions, ask questions, hang back to ask presenters extra questions. If I, as a reporter, hate to see a show end, I imagine they do too,
although their attention is on the work back home, and to home they must return. When they do return home, it’s often as different people, much more focused and attentive to what needs changing, based on all they learned at the show.

Speaking of looking forward to the new year, a presentation at SWE by Ben Middleton (Daikin), Jennifer Bagley (Web Group) and Matthew Bratsis (Optimus) did just that, with ideas for new year planning that included insight into technology, marketing and financing. Their unified message was how to develop an overall strategy that includes developing a branding strategy, customer profile strategy, media strategy and messaging strategy. For products, that means explaining features and benefits without becoming too "brand" focused. For marketing, that means using every newest development in social media and consumer preferences. For financing, that means you must absolutely be offering financing to help set up affordable payment plans. 

Our contributors for this issue are Bud Hammer, Vince DiFilippo, Renee Lucas, Nathan Coker and Darryl Robinson. Each of them took action to make a change in 2022, with excellent results. Hammer, president of Atlantic Westchester, Inc., Bedford Hills, NY, took steps to improve employee engagement through culture changes, transparency and working with the local union. They restructured their management team, and built a better career track. 

Vince DiFilippo, president of DiFilippos, Paoli, Pa. and a CB advisory board member, added financing, and realized a 22 percent increase in sales. He also changed software providers and purchased extra equipment to avoid supply chain issues. 

Be sure to attend one or more events in 2023!

Renee Lucas, who with husband Travis owns and operates LCS Heating & Cooling in Indianapolis, focused on the financials more than ever, and shares the numbers with the team. She also has a better marketing plan in place, and is reviewing it each quarter. She discussed some of the changes in her presentation at Service World Expo, "Rebuild Your Business to Rebuild Your Life." 

Darryl Robinson worked out deals with customers that delay installing new flex duct for new systems in hot, hot Oklahoma attics until September. They simply used the old duct until temps dropped and attics were at a reasonable temperature to work in.
Changes are simple, but that's where big changes begin. 

Thanks to Ken Goodrich, CEO of Goettl Air Conditioning, for making a sizable matching contribution to the Joseph Groh Foundation during
Service World Expo. He challenged the audience to donate up to $50,000 during the show, which he would match. Was there any doubt that it would work? It did, and $120,000 was raised for the Foundation, which provides home remodeling, wheelchairs and more to contractors unable to work due to life-altering disabilities.

The amazing Vicki and John LaPlant help to promote the Foundation at the contractor level. These two crazy kids have retired from full-time consulting, but are busy as ever, helping with Foundation management. They are always "On the Road Again," which I have made their unofficial theme song.

To learn about the Foundation and make a donation, visit  

Thank you to 2022 contributors: Tom Casey, Jr.; Joel Cannon; Candy Cunningham, Scott Tinder and Jeff Plant of Business Development Resources; Kelly L. Faloon; David Derocher; Vince DiFilippo; Zac Garside of Power Selling Pros; Charlie Greer; James Griner; Dominick Guarino; Bud Hammer; Dena Jalbert, MBA; Michael Keating; David Richardson of NCI; Jon Ryan of Genz-Ryan; Mike Treas; Dan Vastyan; Howard Weiss of HVAC Excellence. 

ACCA, PHCC, EGIA and National Comfort Institute hosted fine events in 2022, and we look forward to those events in 2023. Get to a show, folks! 

A happy, safe, and profitable New Year to all, filled with peace, love and understanding.