We Are Not Air Conditioning Contractors


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Who are you? Who am I?

It’s easy enough to say that we are air conditioning contractors. We are members of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, after all. But is that really what we are? Is that all we ever will be?

I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t even think ACCA’s name makes much sense any more. Because as mechanical contractors we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of any number of new expanded opportunities. The only way we will miss these opportunities is if we keep thinking of ourselves as air conditioning contractors.

I think all of us contractors need to ask ourselves a number of serious questions, like:

  • What specific disciplines will we be responsible in the future?
  • What is our role in making decisions for the entire building?
  • How do we incorporate the new equipment and control technologies with our service strategy?
  • Will our future maintenance sales include checks and service for the electrical, solar, and  photovoltaic systems?
  • How do we move from preventative maintenance to predictive maintenance?
  • Aging buildings are in need of tune-ups. Is re-commissioning part of our portfolio?
  • Will plumbing service follow the entry into the Solar Business?
  • Will we monitor the performance of all these systems as an additional service offering?
  • Will we assist owners in deciding what power broker to use for the resale of generated power from the building to the utility?

If these questions seem foreign to you, if they seem like something outside your company’s scope of business, then you may not be ready to thrive in the rest of this decade. It’s time for you to step back and evaluate your current mission and vision. You should make sure you have the right people, with the right mindset, who are ready to adjust and redefine their roles in your business.

As an association, ACCA recently re-evaluated our own mission and vision. The Board decided it was time to expand beyond the traditional role of “air conditioning contractor association” because our members need to expand beyond their own traditional roles. Our new mission is a very simple one: “To lead America’s professional indoor environment and energy contractors to business success.”

You’ll note that we don’t mention heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or refrigeration. That’s on purpose. Top performers in our industry have already moved beyond HVACR to whole building services, energy management, and total service solutions for the indoor environment. HVACR is a key part of that strategy, but not the only part.

The only way to succeed as mechanical contracting firms in the rest of this decade is to expand our vision of who we are and what we want to be. To be successful business leaders, we must not be afraid to change course and make adjustments as necessary. Surround yourself with colleagues and employees who model your company’s core vision, and who share your vision and commitment.

Then surround yourself with people, outside your company, who also embrace change and new technology. Spend time with other business leaders equally committed to building responsive, dynamic companies in the indoor environment space. Learn from their successes, and their mistakes. And don’t be afraid to share your own, as we all work together to build new strategies and solutions for our industry.

You already know where to find these dynamic leaders in the indoor environment and energy sector. We are all right here in ACCA. Whatever the letters “ACCA” may mean, now or in the future, we all know what “ACCA” really stands for. It stands for you, it stands for me, it stands for all of us. It stands for professional contractors who are prepared to move this industry forward before it gets moved aside.  I hope you are as excited about this journey as I am.


Posted In: Opinion

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