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Meet the Press

June 26, 2006
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Pictured above from left to right are NEWS editors Greg Mazurkiewicz, Mike Murphy, and John Hall.
A nice contractor in Portage, Mich., recently sent me a letter stating that he disagreed with an opinion I had penned. Doesn't matter much which one it was; people disagree with newspaper and magazine editors all the time. Many never say anything at all; and a very few voice their disagreement - much like dissatisfied customers: You know they're out there - you just can't pinpoint them until they're gone.

However, the way in which this gentleman voiced his opinion was particularly noteworthy. Though he liked what The NEWS does for the industry, he took exception to the fact that it seemed HVAC trade publications were all the time drumming up some false crisis that supposedly afflicts our industry. However, he noted that none of these supposed crises seemed to be a problem in his backyard. Nicely said.

As the only weekly magazine in the industry, I often have people ask, "What could your editors possibly find to write about every week? Is there really that much going on in HVAC?"

Yes, there is. (Well, with nine editorial types intent on continuing to feed their families, there had better be a lot going on.)

One has only to look around to see how much the world changes every year to know that many of these changes also affect your HVAC businesses. When change is ongoing, there is something to write about in the newspaper/magazine business - every week.

As often as we ask our contractor and distributor readers to tell us about interesting aspects of their businesses, perhaps knowing a little more about us won't bore you too much. In fact, it could be helpful if you are ever in the mood to complain, suggest an idea for a good story, or simply develop a dialog with some of our staff. A few have been around for a long time; which of course means they either know a lot of stuff or they like the company's retirement program.

Barbara Checket-Hanks has been with The NEWS for nearly 20 years. She is the technical guru on the magazine and handles anything that remotely seems like it takes some engineering acumen. She has a unique ability to take a mass (or is that mess?) of technical story material and turn it into a concise piece that people can actually understand. Checket-Hanks is a sitting member on an ASHRAE committee and seems to be able to interpret everything that comes out of that association. In a word - smart.

Peter Powell has been around The NEWS since his old magazine, Refrigeration Service Contracting (RSC) was acquired by our parent company. Powell is quite simply the "R" in ACHR NEWS, our more formal abbreviated name, meaning Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration NEWS. He was editor-in-chief of the old RSC magazine and has more connections than a drug dealer in the South Side of Chicago.

Mark Skaer. I resent him mostly for being very tall. However, he is an excellent writer and rumor has it, was the editor-in-chief of Engineered Systems magazine and The NEWS before he lost an arm wrestling match. Skaer covers a wide berth: He understands the inner workings of all the major industry associations, and is especially well-versed in education and training programs. He also keeps his ear low to the ground, and handles all mergers and acquisition rumors and starts some whenever we're short on copy. (To the contractor in Portage, Mich., - just kidding.)

John Hall has been a mainstay with The NEWS since 1998. His interesting face graces the inside back cover on a regular basis and he has developed quite a following with his opinions. Hall is the business editor and understands the issues that face contractors and distributors across North America, perhaps more so than any of our staff. He recently authored an HVAC book, The Next Contractor, and has won several literary awards for his work on The NEWS. He's also taller than me, and I'm beginning to resent that, though I wish him well with his damn book.

A few other notable journalists include Joanna Turpin, Greg Mazurkiewicz (very tall), Cherie Preville, Kyle Gargaro, and Angela Harris.

Our publisher, John Conrad, worked in the HVAC industry for a number of years and operated his own business for a few more. He knows everybody - not many resources like him in the magazine business. We see eye-to-eye on most things because he's not taller than me.

As the adage goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." It takes a lot of people to keep up with this industry on a weekly basis. We hope we do a good job of it, just as you hope that you do a good job of serving your customers.

Oh, yeah. Well, I'm kind of interesting sometimes, and I'm not short. Really, I'm not.

Mike Murphy, Editor-In-Chief, 248-244-6446, 248-244-2905 (fax), mikemurphy@achrnews.com

Publication date: 06/26/2006

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