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    First Word: A Good Year for ACCA

    Dec. 3, 2019
    Air Conditioning Contractors of America's leaders have had a busy year, and good news to report.

    Air Conditioning Contractors of America is ending 2019 with a sense of accomplishment and a positive outlook. The year 2018 was one of reflection for ACCA, for taking stock and strategizing, culminating in the appointment of Barton James as President and CEO, and an aggressive, 12-point strategic plan, announced at the 2018 annual conference by then-Chairman Steve Schmidt. Nothing was left unattended, from educational initiatives and member benefits to increasing member renewals and new memberships.

    Things are definitely looking up. In a recent email to ACCA members, James provided a progress report on a few improvements to date. Some excerpts: 

    “One of my priorities as the President and CEO of ACCA is to ensure there is a clear representation of your national trade association. And, I’m proud to say that the state of ACCA is strong! ACCA partners and customers match your membership dollars three to one, enabling us to deliver top-notch programs and outreach, expert representation with legislators and regulators, and an ever-growing array of member benefits.

     “To ensure ACCA members have resources that will help contractors continue to grow their businesses and mitigate risk, we have also invested in more staff to serve our members. By adding new communications staff, an HVACR education manager, and a membership director, we are able to provide even more support and resources to you and your business.”

    James reported that the new ACCA Social Media Toolbox allows members to log into their ACCA account and download premade social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

    During the year, ACCA has travelled to meet with contractors to learn their concerns and needs. In September, ACCA staff met with multiple ACCA MIX® Groups, and visited with American Residential Services (ARS), which recently signed up all 75 branches for ACCA membership. And, there is ACCA’s strong support for President Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers.

    James shared that ACCA continues to invest in high quality technical products and education programs to help ACCA’s 3,000 contractor members develop their business teams. 

    “Between our technical design manuals, ACCA’s ‘Qtech’ Online Learning programs, and upcoming soft skills training, we have plenty of programs in place to help you grow your team,” James wrote. 

    Financially, James reports that ACCA’s Corporate Partner Program is the strongest it’s ever been, and has seen 25 percent growth over the past two years.

    “ACCA’s expenses have shifted somewhat for FY 2020. For many years, ACCA invested significantly in technical products — design manuals and standards. Because of our prior investments in those products, ACCA’s technical products most likely won’t need significant funds for several years. As a result, ACCA is able to reallocate resources to enhance our membership development and education programs,” James wrote.

    2019-2020 Chairman Eric Knaak has energized association learning events with his positive leadership and by encouraging contractors to share ideas during seminars.

    “Collaboration is still one of the biggest opportunities that I see for ACCA, our sister associations and our members,” Knaak wrote to me. “There are a lot of different folks doing a lot of different things to try and develop talent, and become more efficient and productive, and I see the opportunity to try to tie a lot of these pieces together.”

    Stay tuned to contractingbusiness.com and contractormag.com later this week, for Eric Knaak's overall assessment of ACCA in 2019.

    Tom Hunt, executive director of the Arkansas HVAC Association, told me he’s thankful for the sense of partnership he feels with ACCA. 

    “Features like email support when writing to legislators, sharing articles for our newsmagazine, and educational support, make me feel that when I call ACCA I’m calling on friends,” Hunt said. He also mentioned ACCA’s help with trying to enact an HVAC continuing education requirement in the state. Nothing yet, but they will persist. 

    The ACCA 2020 Conference will be held March 16-18 in St. Louis. To learn more, visit accaconference.com.

    So look into ACCA. And if you’re a past member who has drifted away, consider drifting back in 2020.