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ACCA’s Next Level 2023: Elevating HVACR Leadership in Indianapolis

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On October 16-17, 2023, the HVACR industry gathered in Indianapolis, IN, for ACCA’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.

A Sneak Peek into the Future

Kicking off the event was an exclusive tour of Carrier’s cutting-edge 6,000-square-foot training center in Indianapolis. Attendees had the opportunity to explore the factory floor and state-of-the-art labs, witnessing firsthand the innovative technologies designed to address real-world challenges faced by technicians in the field. The training center also prepared technicians for upcoming changes, including refrigerant phasedowns, making it an invaluable experience for all participants.

Training Labs at Carrier

Real-world Insights and Tangible Takeaways

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, John Maiorana of Arkema, and Kate Houghton of Hudson Technologies, and the “I’ve Got an Idea!” session hosted by Past ACCA Board Chair, Bobby Ring, president of Meyer & Depew Co. in Kenilworth, NJ.

Kane D’Amico, Vice President of Alliance Heating & Air Conditioning, praised the event’s informative nature, emphasizing the value of real-world insights in shaping their business strategies. Mason Hoover, CFO of Empire Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., found inspiration in the event, planning to implement newfound ideas within his company over the next year.

Even newcomers to the HVAC trade, like Zach Martin, Service Manager at Boelcke Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, found immense value in the event. Meeting industry veterans and learning from their insights proved to be eye-opening, encouraging him to slowly integrate these learnings into his company’s practices.

A Blend of Learning & Networking

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. Events like the Welcome to Indiana Reception and the Party at the Punch Bowl Social, sponsored by industry giants Carrier, Federated Insurance, Indiana HVAC Association, Jackson Systems & Supply, and Scorpion provided a vibrant atmosphere for networking and collaboration.

During the event, a group of attendees got together and formed a Service Managers MIX Group®. Matt Grizzard, ACCA’s director of membership and advocacy, spent a few minutes with these guys to go over group basics, and when he spoke to them later the same day, they already had their meeting schedule for an entire year laid out and the first meeting’s agenda completed!

Party at the Punch Bowl Social
New MIX Group®: Scott Bolin, Operations Manager, Glenn’s Commercial Service; David Henney, HVAC Service Supervisor, Seaman’s Mechanical; Al Caccamo, Operations Manager, The TurboChyll Company; Cole Dunagan, HVAC Technician, Martin Mechanical Contractors, Inc.; David Benitez, Refrigeration Technician, Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning & Plumbing; Paul Davies, General Manager, MAK Mechanical

ACCA’s Next Level was made possible by the generous sponsorships of ACCE; Adrian Steel, Agentis Air, Arkema, Chemours, BuildOps, Copeland, ECI Thermogrid, Federated Insurance, Grant Cardone Enterprises, Holman, Hudson Technologies, Indiana HVAC Association, Jackson Systems & Supply, Johnson Controls/York, Pearl Certification, Scorpion, ServiceTitan, Service Business Evolution, Sunnova, Thryv, and UpSmith. Their support reinforced the event’s commitment to fostering excellence and innovation within the HVACR industry.

“Next Level was a new concept this year and allowed us to merge some of our signature events, like the Service Managers Forum and the Office and Operations Managers Forum, into a shorter, more streamlined event that focused on leadership in general that would meet the needs of all levels of managers in a contracting company,” said Barton James, ACCA president and CEO. “It was exciting to see so many companies sending multiple managers to the event so they could learn from leading contractors who walk the walk every day.”

Following Next Level, ACCA contractor members, industry leaders, and ACCA staff toured Hudson Technologies‘ reclamation facility in Champaign, IL. The tour gave the attendees a first-hand look at how Hudson Technologies is leading the way in refrigerant reclamation, which provides contractors with a long-term, viable solution to meet their customers’ heating and cooling needs in the face of rapid refrigerant phase-outs and bans.

ACCA’s Next Level 2023 was not just an event; it was a transformative experience that elevated industry standards and inspired HVACR professionals to reach new heights in their careers. As the sun set on Indianapolis, it rose to a future filled with innovation, collaboration, and unparalleled leadership in the HVACR world. ACCA members can log in and view the session recordings here.

Looking Ahead

As Next Level came to a close, industry professionals eagerly anticipated ACCA’s next major event, ACCA 2024, scheduled for March 11-14, 2024, at the Universal Orlando Sapphire Falls Resort in Orlando, FL. Open to contractors across all levels, this event promises unparalleled learning opportunities and networking experiences.

For more information about Next Level, ACCA 2024, or any other ACCA programs, please contact Melissa Broadus, ACCA director of member communications & committee liaison, at or (703) 824-8842.

Posted In: Events, Leadership & Planning, Leadership Development, Management, Training

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