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    3 HVAC Events Ring Out 2023

    Dec. 14, 2023
    Following a successful Service World Expo in early October were three additional main events: ACCA’s “Next Level” conference; PHCC’s Connect2023; and Women in HVACR’s “Go Bold” conference.

    Fall’s 2023 HVACR conference activity was both an end to one year, and a fitting introduction to the next, as industry-leading associations and their memberships gathered after the conclusion to the summer of 2023.

    Following a successful Service World Expo in early October were three additional main events: ACCA’s “Next Level” conference; PHCC’s Connect2023; and Women in HVACR’s “Go Bold” conference.

    ACCA “Next Level”

    The HVACR industry gathered in Indianapolis in October 16-17 for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America's "Next Level" event, a day-and-a-half of intensive learning tailored to empower both established and up-and-coming leaders in HVACR contracting companies. The event aimed at enhancing leadership skills, offering attendees valuable insights and practical knowledge to thrive in an ever-evolving industry.

    The event featured three distinct tracks focusing on vital aspects of managing a successful HVACR business or department: Recruitment and Skill Development, Effective Team Leadership, and Strategy and Communication. These tracks were meticulously designed to equip attendees with the expertise needed to run their operations efficiently, ensuring they stay ahead of industry trends and challenges.

    Participants were enthralled by the sessions, where presenters shared genuine experiences and practical scenarios. The event started with a keynote presentation from Jeff Butler, an author and workplace strategist, who shared insight into how HVACR professionals can leverage technology and make simple changes to attract and keep top talent.

    There were three additional mainstage sessions, including a breakfast panel: The Power of Potential: Solving the Skilled Worker Crisis by Expanding the Talent Pool, sponsored by UpSmith, a lunch panel: Preparing Your Team for the Refrigerant Transition featuring Don Gillis of Chemours,  Hudson Technologies. Also this year was the return of “I’ve Got an Idea!” hosted by Past ACCA Board Chair, Bobby Ring, president of Meyer & Depew Co.  

    One of the highlights of Next Level was the opportunity for attendees to learn from each other. Networking sessions and social events allowed industry professionals to connect, share experiences, and gain insights from their peers.  A Welcome to Indiana Reception and the Party at the Punch Bowl Social, sponsored by Carrier, Federated Insurance, Indiana HVAC Association, Jackson Systems & Supply and Scorpion provided a vibrant atmosphere for networking and collaboration.

    ACCA’s annual conference will be held at the Universal Orlando Sapphire Falls Resort, March 11-14, and will have more than 20 training sessions. Keynote speaker will be Jake Havron, a leading business strategis and mentor. Visit acca.org/acca2024 to learn more and register.



    Cleveland, Ohio, delivered a hometown welcome to an energetic group of p-h-c professionals as they gathered for PHCCCONNECT2023 in late October to make real progress on their plumbing and HVACR businesses secure a strong future for the industry.

    The passion of PHCC’s people was on full display throughout the three-day event, reinforcing this year’s conference theme of “People. Passion. Purpose.” PHCC honored several people during the conference’s opening session. “As we recognize these individuals today – with the support of our industry partners – I am reminded of how valuable solid relationships are,” said PHCC—National President Dave Frame. “These people share a passion for improving society, making a difference, contributing to their communities, mentoring the next generation, and advancing the industry.”

    PHCC members and other attendees took to their feet to acknowledge veteran PHCC Member Herman Bohinc of Ohio, who was presented with a resolution from the PHCC Board of Directors for his distinguished service to the Ohio state chapter and for lasting contributions to the association and its mission. As an instructor and mentor to many, Bohinc has inspired others in the profession to strive for excellence.

    From the start, PHCC of Ohio President John Milburn (left) encouraged attendees to discover the spirit of Cleveland – “an inviting city … that seamlessly weaves its rich history with an eager embrace of the future” – for themselves. And that they did, right through to the closing event at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where some PHCC members took the mic and made their own music!

    The keynote session, “Growth Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone,” once again had attendees on their feet for a standing ovation for Coach Ken Carter (right), a highly successful author, business owner, and educator. Many claimed that Carter – who mixed hard-hitting advice (“Discipline lasts you a lifetime.”) with a need for compassion (“Great people meet people where they are.”) – was the best speaker they ever heard. Among his other messages: be respectful; write down goals and carry them with you every day; and “reset your preset,” reinforcing the need to adjust quickly in certain situations.

    Economist Connor Lokar

    “Look at 2024 as an opportunity,” said the event’s second keynoter, Connor Lokar of ITR Economics. While inflation and rising prices are not going away anytime soon, he advised that contractors “look at areas of your business that could be opportunities … things that you didn’t have time to do before, like training, technology, and software transitions.” He warned of very tough economic times in 2030 and advised attendees on how to steer their businesses now in preparation.

    Moderator Amy Hart of Continental Plumbing led an effective workforce panel on the tremendous opportunities for skilled trades. Together with Chris Boyd of A1 Sewer & Drain, Larry Betlejewski of Beetle’s Plumbing Solutions, and Jed Scheuermann from IAPMO, these panelists debunked some common misconceptions about the industry and offered ways to promote the truth about the profession. With the help of SupplyHouse.com, PHCC is offering this video to help contractors encourage future generations to embark on a career in the trades!

    Women in Industry Luncheon

    Led by moderator Susan Few of Sunshine Home Services, a panel of seven individuals involved in Women in Plumbing & Piping shared insights on how PHCC members can attract more women into the trades and the benefits not just to their companies but to the industry as a whole. They discussed recruiting tactics and timing (“plant the seeds as early as possible”), company culture, and the evaluation of all roles in a business.

     WHVACR 'GO BOLD' Conference

    Women in HVACR held its 20th Annual Conference – “GO BOLD”—in Jacksonville, FL Nov. 6-8. BOLD stands for "Believe, Overcome, Lead, Determination."

    WHVACR is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting career growth in the HVACR industry.

    The content for this year’s event focused on those various “bold” actions women working in the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration industries can take to step out and up in their careers. Women’s contributions to the HVACR industry are evident all around the world of HVACR, and increasing numbers of women are providing guidance and growth in the contracting, manufacturing, distribution and consultation sectors, as many have done for decades, most notably WHVACR founder, author, consultant Ruth King, who continues to provide financial management guidance to contractors around the US.

    Outgoing president Marcia Christiansen, business unit manager for PECO Control Systems, shared an update on the influence of WHVACR’s 35 national “ambassadors” who are helping to grow the association and event participation through networking.

    Christiansen said WHVACR participated in many of the industry’s major events in 2023, including AHR Expo, HVAC Excellence, EGIA, ACCA, Service World Expo and ServiceTitan’s Pantheon.  

    Chistiansen thanked the management support and guidance by 2023 officers and board members:

    Officers: Lori Tschohl, vice-president; Colleen Keyworth, immediate past president; Erica Leonor, secretary; Sarah Hammond, treasurer. Board members: Laurelyn Arriaga; Tanya Steindl; Kristin Gallup; Becky Hoelscher; Jane Sidebottom; Crystal Williams; Linda Rodriguez and Kerri Cupp.

    Presenter Highlights

    Molly Allison, manager of talent acquisition at Rheem, spoke on how women can stand out and stand together. Allison addressed the unique challenges women encounter in a male-dominated industry, highlighted opportunities for professional growth, and shared ways to achieve individual success and collective empowerment.

    Christyn Mueller, commercial learning manager at Johnson Controls, spoke on how to radiate confidence and use the fundamentals to influence your career. Mueller helped the audience explore their confidence, quiet their inner critic and conquer self doubt.

    Crystal Williams, founder of Lemon Seed Marketing, shared many ways create better instant relationships with customers and your company team, with a focus on the main personality profiles: dominant, inspiring, supportive and cautious. She described the major traits of each personality type and advised on which company roles those types would be the most and the least suited to.

    Industry technical issues were not ignored. Lori Byres, sales director at Hudson Controls, provided some analysis of the AIM Act, and its effect on the supply of HFC refrigerants, phasedown schedule, ad the impact society will face from the phasedown now and in the future.

    Brooke Greenwood, heating platform manager at Carrier shared how to improve understanding of the details of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and the impact local incentive programs can have on your ability to make discussions with homeowners easier to manage.

    Keynote speakers for “Go Bold” were: Cmdr. Mary Kelly, US Navy (ret.), author of 15 business and leadership books; Amberley Snyder, a rodeo competitor who was paralyzed in a horseriding accident, but went on to become an inspiration to thousands; and Lilah Jones, head of ISV’s & Marketplace Sales for Northam at Google, professor and lecturer, was inspiring in her message on embracing your authentic self.

    Manufacturing panelists discussed brand priorities for 2024 amid many changes. From left: Nick Arch, managing director, residential, Carrier Corp.; Cameron Prince, senior product manager, Allied Air; Connie Shroder, director of residential ductless mini-split products, Daikin; Kim Albrecht, director, marketing and training, Rheem.

    Lori Tschohl will assume the role of president of WHVACR for 2024.

    "This role is not just a title. It’s a promise and a responsibility. It is an opportunity to make a difference in our organization and the lives of those we serve. I’ve made it my mission to bring about additional growth and transformation for Women in HVACR for 2024. As your president, I am dedicated to leading this organization to new horizons and carrying this role with the utmost respect. Among the news Tschohl shared with attendees was the addition of four regional events in 2024, and the announcement that the 2024 WHVACR conference will be held in Dallas, Texas.

    Colleen Keyworth, director of marketing for Online-Access, was recognized for her nine years of participation in WHVACR, including president and board member. She will remain in the industry, and will be involved in taking HVACR to greater global heights, as she will begin to serve on the board of the International Network of Women in Cooling. Learn more at inwic.org.