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Recession? Don't Participate.

Recession? Don't Participate.

It’s February, and here in Northeast Ohio, the weather is dismal. We’re just entering a seriously frigid cold snap — high winds, sub-zero wind chill factors, snow and ice, all the stuff that makes life as a commuter miserable.

Is this good news for the HVAC industry? Not that I’m condoning the use of weather as a barometer of good versus bad business environments, but as we all know, the economy is in the septic tank and it looks like it might stay there for some time to come. We can use all the help we can get.

If you’re a fan of the cable show, Mad Money, you know that host Jim Cramer says we’ve been in an economic recession at least since December and he predicts we’ll zoom out of it by the end of the first quarter. Many other economic commentators see the recession as still coming — very soon — and because of the situation with housing starts and sub-prime lending, they say it could last up to 18 months!

The bottom line: The residential new construction market is on vacation. And that impacts everyone. Except for company’s like Cropp-Metcalfe, of Fairvfax, VA. Company President Mitch Cropp says that 2007 was a banner year, and he and his team are planning for aggressive growth this year.

Granted, Cropp-Metcalfe is this year’s Contracting Business Residential Contractor of the Year (see page 32 of this issue to read the entire story), so you might think they have a leg up on the average HVAC contractor. You may be right, but they aren’t alone in their optomistic view that today’s marketplace is full of opportunities, and it’s just a matter of finding them.

Mitch Cropp says they simply choose not to participate in any recession. “We don’t have time for such nonsense,” he told me during his company’s annual recognition breakfast held in late January.

And that was very apparent, as his management team “cheerleaders” recognized and rewarded employees from throughout the company. Of particular note: they recognized five salespeople who achieved more than $1 million in residential replacement sales. One of them, a fellow named Donny Buckingham, actually broke the $2 million barrier in 2007. Just ask him if there’s a recession!

During those ceremonies, the Cropp team also recognized and rewarded many of their field technicians for achieving all levels of NATE certifications. In Cropp’s opinion, training, education, and certification don’t recognize recessions either.

Yes, the weather is cold. Yes, the economy is reported as being in the pits. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree with doom and gloom. Choose not to participate in the recession and maybe, it will never happen.

Forget the Recession: Think Super Bowl
Speaking of ignoring a recession, how about celebrating success with NATE for a chance to win tickets to the 2009 Super Bowl by competing in the inaugural NATE Bowl contest?

NATE Bowl, which officially kicked off on Feb. 1, 2008, is designed to increase the number of technicians who get NATE-certified, or recertified.

A variety of prizes will be awarded monthly in respective “divisions,” which are based on the size of the contracting firm. In late 2008, the grand prize will be awarded — an allexpense- paid trip for two to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, FL. The contest is open to all HVACR contractors without regard to their technicians’ NATE-certification status. Go to for additional information and to register.

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