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Collaboration Is Our 2019 Mantra

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How fortunate are we to be in this amazing industry?  To be surrounded by dedicated, hard-working people, to have the opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives and to do the type of work that made this country wonderful and prosperous for so many generations. Anyone who has chosen to make HVACR their career, their livelihood and, the reason that they get up every day so that they may provide for their families has made the right decision. Ray Isaac often reminds our team here at Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning that, “It’s only heating & air conditioning.” Ray is not minimizing what HVACR means to our organization, but he is pointing out that there is more to what we do in life and each of us needs to decide for ourselves exactly what that is. Those words remind us to remain agile, to be open to other ideas and options and to not focus solely on heating & air conditioning. 

As the world marketplace and the demands of our clients change, we need to be certain that we are searching for the opportunities that will come our way. Challenges are often the fuel that lead to opportunities, and the coming year will be presenting each of us with plenty of opportunities and we all need to be ready. Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” I have been in this amazing industry for just shy of 30 years and the rate of change the past 5-7 years is running circles around the previous 25 years, so just like everyone else I have had to work hard to stay in front of a rapidly changing world. 

So, what are these changes that we have in front of us? None of us are alone in this, the changes that you face in your business, regardless of the number of employees, is the same. I have not spoken to a single contractor, manufacturer, or supplier who isn’t looking for people, who isn’t looking for training, who isn’t trying to figure out how to best connect with potential clients. We can all work on this alone in our own business bubble and focus on our little piece of the HVACR pie (I prefer pecan pie myself) or we can choose to collaborate as an industry and solve the problems that we face. 

I propose that each of us consider the term “collaboration” as our mantra for the coming year. We can still do our own thing and fine tune what we have, but the more we work together as an industry the better we will understand and appreciate each other. As the in-coming Chairman of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), I feel it would serve us best as an industry to work together to solve the issues that we face. I want to understand the needs and objectives of Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), the North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and all the other industry partners, and I want them to understand ACCA’s, because through collaboration we can all achieve more. 

Most everyone I speak with needs more employees to do the work and this is not isolated to the HVAC industry, it is across all sectors of business. The need for training, both technical and non-technical is just as big as the need for people. With less people getting into the skilled trades the ones that are entering need to be trained and most contractors don’t have the resources of their own to make this happen. This is where collaboration comes in, by asking ourselves how can we combine efforts to introduce the HVACR trades to perspective employees who may have never considered HVACR as a career option? How can we combine efforts to train and educate these same people? There are numerous training programs available from manufacturers, suppliers, and third-party educators and we need to find a way to collaborate on those efforts. 

Cheers to an exciting year ahead, to a year of growth in both volume and wisdom and to the potential that lies within each of us to raising our companies to a higher level. None of us is smarter than all of us and through collaboration and cooperation we can achieve so much more.  

Eric Knaak

Posted In: ACCA Now, Opinion

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