HVAC CEOs ‘Belly up to the Bar'

ORLANDO, Fla. - Members of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) had a chance to see the CEOs of four major HVAC manufacturing companies “let their hair down” at an informal chat session hosted by Mike Murphy, editor-in-chief of The NEWS who served as the “bartender” during the lighthearted yet informative gathering.

Four CEOs including Trane and American Standard’s Dave Pannier, York’s Tom Huntington, Carrier’s Halsey Cook, and Nordyne’s Dave LaGrand, sipped on make-believe bourbon cocktails while fielding questions which had been submitted to ACCA prior to the national meeting held this past March. Each man had the opportunity to answer every question and most did.

Some of the topics discussed, with responses from the CEOs after each topic, included:

Aftermath of 13 SEER

LaGrand: “We are glad the 13 SEER issue is over with.”

Huntington: “I’m not sure 13 SEER is over. Right now we are at or below minimum levels in our inventory channel.”

Cook: “The benefits of 13 SEER are going to stay with us for many years.”

Pannier: “I believe that 2007 will be much more of a normal year. For consumers it will be business as usual.”

The annual CEO Forum at the ACCA national conference provided a few interesting moments as leaders from four major manufacturing companies bantered with “bartender” Mike Murphy, of The NEWS, who moderated the “Belly Up to the Bar” format. The NEWS sponsored the event. The participating executives were (left to right): David Pannier, The Trane Co. and American Standard; Halsey Cook, Carrier Corp.; Tom Huntington, UPG Group of York, a Johnson Controls company; and Dave LaGrand, Nordyne.

Refrigerant Changeover

Huntington: “We do a poor job of recycling. Less than 5 percent of refrigerant comes back through reclamation.”

Cook: “We need to do a better job of policing reclamation. Legislation will heat up over the next few years.”


Huntington: “Our main focus is the independent contractor. We want to stay in touch with contractors and make training available to them. Most recently we have been using Webinars.”

Distribution Channel

Cook: “The key to success is finding the best people at the local distribution level to serve our customer base.”

LaGrand: “We are traditional and rely on our independent distributors to add value to our products. Contractors are the key to our distribution channel.”

The ‘Green' Movement

Huntington: “We see different shades of green from light to forest. The paybacks are there and contractors have the opportunity for good paybacks, especially the ‘greener’ they get.”

LaGrand: “Consumers are aware of the green options and there is money to be made for contractors.”

Trane/American Standard Changes

Pannier: “From our perspective it is business as usual. We will continue to focus on our two brands - Trane and American Standard.”

The CEO panel forum has been sponsored by The NEWS for five years. The event continues to draw huge crowds and is now considered a must-see during the annual ACCA convention. Did you miss out on this year’s meeting? Go to The NEWS home page or the Video Archive page where you can see video clips of the CEOs as they answered questions from contractors.

Publication date: 05/28/2007

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