Peter W. Schwartz (seated), recently named president and CEO of NATE, gets down to work with staffers Liz Dominguez, accounting/human resources specialist, and Tony Spagnoli, customer service specialist.

ARLINGTON, Va. - North American Technician Excellence (NATE) named veteran association executive Peter Schwartz as its new president and CEO. He replaces David R. Pannier, who has served as interim president since January.

Schwartz comes from associations in the home building and design industries, where he has more than 30 years of experience. Most recently he was president and CEO of the Construction Financial Management Association, an organization of 7,000 members and 90 chapters throughout the United States that serves construction financial professionals. He has also served as CEO of such organizations as the American Supply Association and the National Apartment Association.

“North American Technician Excellence has done an outstanding and stellar job of establishing itself as the leader in testing and certification,” he said. “The efficiency of the product is certainly enhanced by the better installation quality that comes with the assurance of having technicians that are certified.”

Before meeting with NATE board of directors, the new president was reluctant to drive many stakes too far in the ground, but he did say that going forward it would be important to avoid simply communicating information about NATE, and begin to hammer the benefits message. “The first two measures that I would like to tackle are awareness, and the value-quotient.

“The industry and NATE have an opportunity to implement broad, consumer-based programs to enhance awareness,” Schwartz said. “I want to work with the manufacturers in this industry to see the benefits of NATE certification, and also to get the installers and technicians to realize the economic benefits, of which there are real, tangible advantages.”

He described his tried-and-true method of management by walking around, which had served him well in the past. He said he expects to spend the first few months of his new job doing much of the same. “I want to hear from contractors, installers, and technicians, manufacturers and distributors, what it is that they think we can do with NATE - and how should we get there.”

According to Chairman Ray Isaac, Schwartz “will provide the kind of visionary direction we need to continue building the leading certification organization for HVACR technicians.” He has previously used his management, operations, and marketing skills to develop strong, fiscally sound business associations. He also cited Schwartz’s work to raise the organizations’ profiles and increase their funding.

“We were impressed with his prior experience and the positive changes he has made at the organizations he has run,” Isaac said. “His experience in HVAC-, construction-, and supplier-affiliated industries helps him to understand the unique opportunities and challenges faced by NATE in dealing with each of these entities.”

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Publication date:09/27/2010