Joseph Nichter, owner of Tri-City Mechanical, accepts the 2008 ACCA Award for Excellence in Commercial Contracting.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Bigger, Bolder, Broadmoor! Nearly 1,000 people trekked to the Rocky Mountains seeking the wisdom of the HVAC sages. What they found near the shadows cast from Pikes Peak and beneath high-flying F-18 fighter jets from the nearby U.S. Air Force Academy was a plethora of ideas to transform common business dilemmas into business opportunities.

The Broadmoor Colorado Springs Resort, located just south of the city, played host to the 40th Annual Conference and Indoor Expo of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) for the first time. Many attendees scheduled a few extra days to take advantage of sightseeing and skiing opportunities, but the halls of business were full of people yearning for the one big idea that would make the entire trip worthwhile.

Several special events accompanied the normal assortment of strategic business planning workshops. A panel discussion moderated by Kyle Gargaro, managing editor of The NEWS featured expert Dr. Ron Collier and Steve Saunders, a contractor from Dallas (see page 33 for full story).

Several general session gatherings were scheduled in order to afford a large number of the attendees the opportunity to hear prime subjects of interest, such as Secrets of the Contractor Millionaires, I’ve Got a Big Idea with contractor Bobby Ring presiding, a CEO/Contractor Forum moderated by Mike Murphy, editor-in-chief of The NEWS, and Adams Hudson, of Hudson Ink, who wowed the audience with executable marketing ideas to enhance print advertising.


ACCA handed out numerous awards at the meeting. Tri-City Mechanical of Chandler, Ariz., won the 2008 ACCA Award for Excellence in Commercial Contracting. Since 1962, Tri-City Mechanical has set the bar high for the HVACR industry with a commitment to both community involvement and industry involvement. Its goal as a design-build company is to build a relationship with its customers at the beginning of a job, and continue it well into the future.

“At Tri-City, when we say a team maintaining our customers’ trust, we are talking about internally and externally. We strive for innovation, integrity and reliability at everything we do at Tri-City. We empower our people and ask them to keep each other accountable,” said owner Joseph Nichter.

Currently, Tri-City Mechanical has two locations, in Tucson and Phoenix.

“The people who really deserve this award are the 550 back in Arizona who really make up Tri-City Mechanical. ACCA has been part of our success for the past 15 years. It is a way to improve your company and create excellence in your organization,” Nichter said.

Other finalists for the 2008 ACCA Award for Excellence in Commercial Contracting were Mallory & Evans in Scottdale, Ga., and IC Refrigeration in Ceres, Calif.

ACCA President Paul Stalknecht presents Todd McAlister of ACCA-Texas with the Spirit of Excellence Award

Hobaica Services of Phoenix won the 2008 ACCA Award for Excellence in Residential Contracting. A second-generation, family-owned business serving the Phoenix metropolitan area, Hobaica is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year.

Currently, Hobaica employs 45 employees with projected sales in excess of $5.8 million. Hobaica provides both commercial and residential air conditioning and refrigeration sales and service, as well as new construction of commercial buildings and custom homes. Hobaica prides itself on its dedication to honesty and integrity in all practices of business, and believes that the lives of its employees and their families should come first.

Other finalists for the 2008 Award for Excellence in Residential Contracting were Selvey Heating & Cooling in Rossville, Ind., and Air Conditioning by Jay in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Halco Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning of Phelps, N.Y., won the 2008 Jeff Forker Award for Excellence in Training. Halco is a NATE Quality Circle Contractor because management makes training and professionalism a top priority.

President Hal Smith, who holds seven NATE certifications, is committed to education and training within his company, and also in the community. Extensive training and education is provided to Halco employees, and individual accomplishments are recognized through extensive publicity. Halco’s NATE certification rate is 80 percent, with four employees holding seven specialty certifications and another eight holding three or more.

Other finalists for the 2008 Jeff Forker Award for Excellence in Training were Jack Rise HVAC Technical Training in Tampa, Fla., and Energy Auditors in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

The Spirit of Excellence Award was finally accepted by Todd McAlister of ACCA-Texas. McAlister was given the award last year but was unable to accept as he was serving his country in Iraq as a member of the National Guard.

“This award is not given every year because we think it should only be given when someone has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to ACCA federation at all levels,” ACCA President Paul Stalknecht said.

McAlister was quick to pass along the credit. “This is not about what I have done for ACCA, but rather what our chapter has done. And what ACCA has done for our chapter,” McAlister said.

The Indoor Expo featured exhibits from 115 vendors; attendees had several opportunities to browse through the aisles and kick the tires during the span of the three-day conference. Several local tours were offered on a fourth day as many contractors opted to visit the Air Force Academy; others ventured off on their own for a slice of Rocky Mountain heaven.

The 2009 ACCA Conference and Indoor Air Expo will be held in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information about ACCA and the meeting, go to

Publication Date:03/17/2008