ACCA Annual Conference Focuses on the Future


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The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) held its Annual Conference and Expo at the Gaylord National Harbor in Washington, D.C. from February 12-14.
Hundreds of professional HVAC contactors, along with the industry’s leading equipment manufacturers and service vendors, gathered with a shared agenda to move the industry forward.
ACCA honored contractors and industry partners with awards during its Industry Champions breakfast. Contractors and ACCA partners were recognized for the Residential Contractor of the Year AwardCommercial Contractor of the Year AwardFederated Insurance’s ACCA Super S.T.A.R.Skip Snyder Humanitarian Award, and the Distinguished Service Award. Federated Insurance also honored ACCA with a plaque celebrating the 10-year Anniversary of the ACCA-Federated Corporate Partnership.
ACCA hosted more than 30 Learning Labs and networking luncheons. ACCA also hosted the annual Management Information Exchange (MIX®) Group MIXer for contractors interested in joining an ACCA MIX Group, a premier membership benefit. The most popular learning labs focused on communications guidance, creative marketing strategies, innovative training programs, proven methods to recruit qualified staff and hire veterans, and successful customer service tips. View pictures of the Learning Labs, networking luncheons, and the MIXer here.
The plenary sessions featured Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s keynote address on workforce development and small business healthcare, controlling customer experiences with Jay Baer, tax reform and the future of the HVAC industry with Connor Lokar of ITR Economics, and Chairman Steve Schmidt’s roadmap to strengthen ACCA and drive the association’s membership initiatives forward. View pictures from the plenary sessions here.
Secretary Acosta addressed the skilled worker deficit and explained how the Trump Administration is encouraging careers in the skilled trades. He reiterated the Administration’s goal to “design and certify high quality apprenticeship programs” for the contracting industry. He stated that “[A]ir conditioning means a lot more than just cooler homes. Your industry is a source of quality, family-sustaining jobs” and was met with lasting applause.
The Secretary also highlighted the Administration’s efforts to ensure access to more affordable healthcare for small business owners. He said, “Our current health system places burdens on the small businesses across America, that create the majority of jobs. The small business healthcare proposal is designed to reduce much of this burden and level the playing field.”
ACCA is encouraged by the Secretary’s efforts to solve the contracting industry’s workforce issues and challenges with the affordability of healthcare. ACCA is leading the industry by working closely with the Secretary and his staff on these issues.
The Annual Conference concluded with Chairman Steve Schmidt’s pledge to galvanize contracting professionals and strengthen their national trade association. The Chairman noted that Baby Boomers have dedicated decades of work to create a robust trade association, but contractors must ensure the Association is adapting to the needs of younger business leaders.
Schmidt stated that “ACCA is actively identifying the benefits contractors desire from their national trade association and uncovering the core challenges that all contractors struggle with. As Chairman, my goal is to modernize ACCA and meet the needs of all contractors and help them break into new markets.”
Chairman Schmidt resolved to enhance ACCA’s value proposition and increase the value of membership. He also pledged that, under his leadership, ACCA will enhance membership experiences and further engage students and young professionals.
To accomplish these objectives, Schmidt vowed that ACCA will “be redeveloping the value ACCA membership and creating innovative programs to solve members’ problems.” Chairman Schmidt acknowledged that young business owners share a desire for strong communities and stated that “ACCA will be a community of engaged contractors with a shared desire to professionalize the contracting industry and work together for the betterment of society. Our association will adapt to the needs of young contractors.”
Continuing with his focus on the future, Chairman Schmidt closed his acceptance speech by encouraging contractors to attend ACCA’s 2019 Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX, from March 4-6. He said, “be prepared to see a new ACCA in San Antonio!”

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