Bobby Ring didn’t set out to make the news in 2012, but that is exactly what happened. Now, he’s finding himself in the spotlight once again as one ofThe NEWS’ 2012 NEWSmakers.

His continued involvement with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) provided him with an opportunity to speak for and defend the HVACR industry on a national stage on multiple occasions. Most notable was his participation in NBC News’ “Today” show.

“Having been active in ACCA at the national level for the past seven years, I was very familiar to the staff of both ACCA and NATE [North American Technician Excellence],” he explained. “The ‘Today’ show producer contacted both of these organizations and asked if they could recommend a reputable HVAC contractor in New Jersey to work with, and both ACCA and NATE suggested that NBC call our company.”

Ring is president of Meyer & Depew Co. Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., and his presence on the show helped shed light on a news segment that is traditionally used to bash HVACR contractors.

“The ‘Today’ show experience was very interesting to say the least,” he said. “We had no idea what contractor was coming to the house until about 20 minutes before they arrived. We were initially concerned that all of the contractors would come to the home, do the right thing, and NBC would think we tipped them off. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect that six out of six would be as incompetent or dishonest as we saw while filming.”

What the ‘Today’ show did not reveal was that all of the contractors they called, except one, had an F rating with the Better Business Bureau. Understanding that this fact would not be of great assistance to the HVACR contractor image, Ring began initiatives in his company to re-emphasize the importance of “clearly differentiating between required repairs and recommended, proactive repairs.”

Industry Involvement

He and his service manager took this same message and presented on his involvement in the “Today” show at ACCA’s Service Manager Forum this past October. Ring has also made several presentations to ACCA chapters across the nation and is scheduled to present at ACCA’s annual conference next February.

The “Today” show sting wasn’t the only thing keeping Ring busy this year. He is the senior vice chairman of ACCA and will step into the national chairman role in 2013.

“My father took me to my very first ACCA meeting in 1981, and I have been involved at either the local, state, or national level since,” said Ring. He credits much of his company’s success to the ACCA MIX Group he participates in.

“We meet at one of our members’ place of business twice a year to conduct a critical review of their operations,” explained Ring. “We share financials, marketing ideas, best practices, and serve as a free board of directors between meetings. Our company wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful as it is if it wasn’t for them.”

Hurricane Sandy

Ring is facing a new challenge in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. According to him, nearly 30,000 buildings in New Jersey suffered serious flood damage and more than 500 were outright destroyed. In a visit to the area as an ambassador for the ACCA Disaster Relief Fund, Ring found some businesses under 8 feet of water, wiping out computer systems and inventory.

“Several employees of our members lost everything they owned — homes, cars, personal possessions,” he said. “The relief fund provides financial support to our members and their employees, something they are going to continue to need in the months to come.”

In an effort to speak on behalf of contractors once again, Ring encouraged the HVACR industry to consider contributing to the ACCA Disaster Relief Fund so that the association could continue to provide financial assistance.

When asked what the key to being a 2012 NEWSmaker was, he pointed out that he didn’t know because he wasn’t looking to become a newsmaker in the HVAC industry.

“It might be like business where it is said, ‘If you chase money you’ll never be successful; if you do the right things, the money will come to you.’ I am focusing on doing the right things.”

2012 NEWSmaker

Name: Robert “Bobby” Ring Jr.

Title: President and CEO

Company: Meyer & Depew Co. Inc.

Location: Kenilworth, N.J.

Notable quote: “If you chase money you’ll never be successful; if you do the right things, the money will come to you. I am focusing on doing the right things.”

Publication date: 12/17/2012