Ray Isaac

It’s been a very eventful year for Ray Isaac, president of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning, of Rochester, N.Y. In February, Isaac was elected to serve one year as chairman of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). He also participated in ACCA’s National HVACR Service Managers Forum, the Chiller Systems Group (CSG) meeting, and pushed for stricter HVAC installation standards through EPA’s Energy Star HVAC Quality Installation (QI) program.

Besides these items, Isaac has crisscrossed the country as ACCA chairman, meeting with chapter leaders and contractor members to discuss key issues involving the HVAC trade. And he has had his own business to run, too. He took time to tellThe NEWSabout some of the main topics of discussion for HVAC contractors in 2008.

Staying aggressive in times of economic uncertainty - “During down economies, and this is from my unscientific observation, service businesses, and especially heating and air conditioning businesses, can realize great opportunities in growth in both sales and profits,” Isaac said. “Money is tight on the consumer side, increasing the importance to consumers to make sure that they are getting the best value for their investment.

“I often say that value is where price and quality meet. Consumers want to make sure that the dollar they are spending is providing the best return on that investment. As professional contractors, we have a great story to tell, and this story is made even better when the energy savings, green, money-savings element is added to it. Secondly, in the absence of elevated competition on the advertising front, your message can take a greater prominence and be acquired for fewer dollars.”

Growth areas of ACCA - “We have seen increases in membership retention,” Isaac said. “Current members are realizing the value of belonging to professional associations. During tough times it is easy to get stuck in a reactionary, present situation mode of thinking. ACCA helps to expand that scope, get our members out of the proverbial box, question the current approach, and add vision beyond the next 12 days, 12 weeks, or even 12 months. A voice of calm, a voice of reason, and a voice of strategy are indispensable now more than ever.

“Another area of growth, and this started long before my tenure, is in ACCA’s prominence and influence in areas that can both positively and negatively affect our industry, and the professional contractor in it. For example, to have the state of California not only invite us to the table, but to summarily adopt our suggested wording into their Strategic Plan on Energy Efficiency is monumental. ACCA is gaining this same respect and influence on the national level and with other stakeholders including other agencies, and utilities and collaborating with other associations, manufacturers, wholesalers, and influencers.

Isaac and shop foreman Steve Pryzlock examine custom ductwork.

“We have also reinvigorated a focus on specialized sessions that have not been done in a while, namely the very successful Service Managers Forum held this past fall in Houston; and we have more to come. We realize, and I know this from personal experience, that the owner/president/manager of an entire organization can only effectively focus on a finite number of areas in the organization, sometimes overlooking opportunities in other areas.”

The importance of partnering, e.g., ACCA and the Chiller Systems Group - “As an association, ACCA has always had advocacy on both the residential and commercial/industrial contracting sides,” said Isaac. “This advocacy has been demonstrated through both our actions on Capitol Hill and on the state and local levels, as well as our discussions and dialogue with many of the major manufacturers during our COSTARS meetings. We were happy to bring this to the Chiller Systems Group. What CSG brings to ACCA is the constituency and representation component at a greater level than what was previously modeled by our membership.”

Sidebar: 2008 HVACR Newsmaker

Name:Ray Isaac
Company:Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning
Location:Rochester, N.Y.
Notable Quote:“A voice of calm, a voice of reason, and a voice of strategy is indispensable now more than ever.”

Publication date:12/22/2008