LAS VEGAS — The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is hoping to educate attendees through discussion and collaboration at its 44th annual ACCA Conference and Expo. Visitors are invited to attend more than 30 unique Learning Lab educational sessions and breakout workshops, taught by industry leaders from around the world.

Topics include building performance, business leadership, business management, commercial HVAC, MIX groups, quality assurance, radiant and hydronics, refrigeration, residential HVAC, safety, sales, marketing, and technical excellence.

The first workshops will be presented 2:30-4 p.m. Monday, March 5. Sessions will resume at 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 6; and 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 7.

“This year instead of having all 75-minute learning labs, we have some 45-minute sessions and some 90-minute sessions,” said Paul Stalknecht, ACCA president and CEO. “We did this because we realized not all topics need to be hourlong sessions, and this opens up the schedules to allow attendees to gain more knowledge by only getting the information they need to succeed and not a lot of extra stuff.”

Seminar Highlights

Adams Hudson, president of Hudson Ink Corp., Montgomery, Ala., will present a seminar titled “HVAC Web Marketing Gold Rush.”

The workshop will focus on generating more leads through web marketing efforts. Tips include local listing strategies, a two-step lead generation formula, and how to attract and influence group interaction, results, referrals, and land sales through social media.

“Contractors are overwhelmed with web marketing complexity, plus changes are too rapid,” said Hudson. “With 64 percent of contractor purchases beginning online, and 91 percent of searchers never making it to page two, clear effective methods that can be easily implemented are more important than ever.”

Adam Gloss, vice president at Bel Red Energy Solutions, Seattle, Wash., will lead the “Get More Done by Working Smarter, Not Harder” lab.

“Our industry is more complex than ever and there are more and more demands being placed on available time to deal with it. Equipment is more complex to install and service, labor regulations, health care changes, code changes, utility program changes, and other requirements are adding to the burden of management. On top of that, you have to work even harder due to the bad economy,” said Gloss. “The problem is often not what you need to get done, but how you go about doing it. This learning lab will teach attendees to take control of their schedules and get more done by working smarter, not harder. Seven basic steps will be taught regarding effective time management, including how to align your activities with your goals, how to prioritize, how to organize, how to manage your activities more effectively, and more. Participants will be provided with simple tools that they can use every day to execute better, accomplish more, and let go of the things that may not really matter in the end.”

John Sedine, president at Engineered Heating and Cooling, Grand Rapids, Mich., will facilitate the “Manual Zr: Zoning from a Contractor’s Perspective” course.

“ACCA just released its new Manual Zr and there has been much confusion in the industry regarding zoning with dampers,” said Sedine. “This new manual helps put all the issues regarding zoning into perspective.”

Stephen Spletzer, senior technical sales engineer, Arkema Inc., will host the “Choosing the Right R-22 Retrofit” workshop.

“Given the recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agen-
cy to reduce the allocation of R-22, interest in R-22 retrofits is at an all time high,” said Spletzer. “It’s important that contractors take the time to get the facts and learn about the many issues they will be facing.”

ACCA is presenting a Radiant and Hydronics educational track for the first time this year.

Warren Lupson, AHRI director of education, will facilitate the “I=B=R Residential Hydronic Heating Installation and Design” workshop. Lupson will exhibit a step-by-step explanation of home hydonic heating — from boiler operation and selection to system design, sizing, and more.

John Siegenthaler, professional engineer Appropriate Designs, Utica, N.Y., will facilitate the “Hydronic Cooling Options” class. The lab will show a variety of system configurations for cooling-only systems, as well as systems that integrate chilled-water cooling along with hydronic heating. Siegenthaler will also teach the “Hydronic-Based Air-to-Water Heat Pump Systems” lab, comparing geothermal heat pump systems with air-to-water heat pumps.

General Sessions

In addition to the Learning Lab workshops, several general sessions designed to motivate and educate ACCA members are scheduled for the conference.

Tommy Spaulding, president of the Spaulding Cos. LLC, will lead the opening general session, 10 a.m. Monday. Spaulding will discuss the importance of forming and nurturing relationships — emphasizing that return on relationships may be just as important as return on investment.

ACCA’s MIXer Group program will take place at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The MIX program encourages non-competing contractors to form peer groups and serve as informal advisors and business companions for each other. MIX groups allow contractors to learn directly from similar contractors in small group settings. At the MIXer event, contractors seeking groups, or groups seeking members, can connect and form lasting relationships.

ACCA’s signature CEO/Contractor forum is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday and offers the opportunity for contractors to connect with manufacturer CEOs. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance while moderator Mike Murphy, publisher of The NEWS, engages in a provocative dialogue. Gary Michel of Ingersoll Rand; Bob McDonough, Carrier Corp.; Bill Rau, Mitsubishi Electric; Rod Rushing, Johnson Controls; Dave Swift, Goodman Manufacturing; and Doug Young, Lennox, are scheduled to participate in the forum.

The Ultimate Block Party, a special reception hosted by the ACCA Radiant and Hydronics Council and IE3 Magazine, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The chairman’s banquet, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, is a celebration of the entire industry.

The “I’ve Got an Idea” brainstorming session will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The event allows contractors from all over the country to share successful and unsuccessful tactics and ideas that have impacted their businesses.

“The ‘I’ve Got an Idea’ session is great — not just for the money, but because they are real ideas that are already working for real companies,” said Tricia Vogel, Top Notch Heating & Cooling, Kansas City, Mo.

Keynote speaker Erik Wahl, owner of The Wahl Group, San Diego, will present his “Art of Vision” program, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The event is designed to challenge organizations to discover their untapped potential, helping employees better embrace the future by becoming more innovative, productive, and profitable.

Publication date: 3/5/2012