The 2009 Women in HVACR conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn., providing the only women-specific conference in the industry.

Metallica, Taylor Swift, B.B. King, and The Black Crowes are all making stops in Nashville, Tenn., this September, but they and the Tennessee State Fair aren’t the only shows in town. Women in HVACR’s (WHVACR’s) 6th Annual Conference arrives Sept. 22 at the Nashville Convention Center in downtown Nashville. The association is kicking off its annual event with a welcome networking reception that evening, and attendees will spend the next day, Sept. 23, engrossed in educational sessions and peer discussions. The conference is open to members and non-members alike.

“This high energy event will include opportunities for both women and men to understand, appreciate, and share solutions to the top challenges women in HVACR face on a daily basis,” said the association.


Centered on making better business decisions for back-end and front-end operations, WHVACR President Barbara Keil, president of Keil Heating and Air Conditioning, Riverdale, N.J., will lead off the day’s sessions with the president’s address.

“Women in HVACR’s members are dynamic women making great strides in what has typically been a male-driven industry,” said Keil. “We are engineers, sales associates, business owners, trainers, support professionals, and students representing manufacturers, distributors, or contractors in our trade. I’m thrilled to be part of an organization that is laying the groundwork for other women to enjoy a thriving future in this industry.”

During the 2008 Women in HVACR conference Milt Baum of Kool Kap; Nita Brooks, WHVACR board member, International Service Leadership; and Rick Kincel, HVAC Learning Solutions enjoyed the networking reception.

Other speakers for the day will cover customer service, social media, business management, and self-development. Blaine Fox, a 25-year HVAC industry veteran and vice president of business development for Warm Thoughts Communications, Secaucus, N.J., will lead a session titled “Superior Customer Service as your Brand.”

Ruth King, WHVACR advisory board member, channel manager for, and president of Business Ventures Corp. in Norcross, Ga., will moderate a panel discussion on social media and networking. During this panel, attendees will be able to listen and share their ideas and usage of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Keil returns to the microphone during her lunch presentation “How to Work a Room,” followed by Vicki LaPlant’s session “Managing Change.” LaPlant is the owner of Vital Learning Services, a series of training programs designed to transform contractor or distributor outfits into thriving and profitable business enterprises.

Many speakers will address this year’s conference on various matters. Last year, Renee Fiorelli, president of Peterson Service Co. Inc., spoke about her experiences in the HVACR industry during the opening session.

The final session is a “Power Hour of Self Development - Embracing & Empowering Self,” taught by Sharon McGee. A consultant and leadership speaker based in Austin, Texas, McGee also has many years of experience as the president and CEO of a mechanical construction company. The event will wrap up with a wine and cheese networking and discussion session.

WHVACR is expecting a favorable turnout despite economic challenges.

“There is no better time for each of us to ramp up our knowledge than through the exceptional networking and learning opportunities that will be available at the Women in HVACR Conference in Nashville, Tenn.,” noted Keil.

“Come learn about the many new opportunities we are providing for our members to connect online and find out how WHVACR can help you grow both professionally and personally. The conference is a great place to look for new ideas and meet other women in our industry.”

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Publication date:09/14/2009