After more than 30 years in the HVACR industry, Phil London will take on an elite level of responsibility as he assumes the role of ACCA National Chairman of the Board next week during ACCA’s annual convention in Grapevine, Texas.

Humble Beginnings

Phil London (left), vice president of residential services, Thermal Concepts Inc., Davie, Florida, will assume the role of ACCA National Chairman of the Board.
Phil London (left), vice president of residential services, Thermal Concepts Inc., Davie, Florida, will assume the role of ACCA National Chairman of the Board from Dave Kyle (right), president, Trademasters Service Corp., Lorton, Virginia, during ACCA 2015 next week.

London actually got his start in the transportation industry before deciding to join a family-owned HVACR company in the early 1980s. There, he gained field and business experience in the industry before becoming a partner in two other companies. Eventually, he started his own business in 1989. That was when he was introduced to ACCA, the indoor environment and energy services association. When an opportunity arose to join the local chapter’s board, London took it, eventually becoming chapter president and getting more involved with the association on a national level.

In 1997, he closed his business and joined Thermal Concepts Inc., a Davie, Florida-based full-service mechanical contractor. He currently holds the title of vice president of residential services at Thermal Concepts, which boasts three locations and more than 200 employees.

London described being elected chairman as overwhelming and exciting.

“When I consider the legends that filled this position before me and the thousands of contractors that will be looking to new leadership to guide them, it’s breathtaking,” he said. “Being chosen as the ACCA chairman is no small task, and I won’t take this position lightly.”

Dave Kyle, president, Trademasters Service Corp., and current ACCA chairman, said the organization couldn’t have a better person to fill the position.

“Phil is a consummate professional,” Kyle said. “One good thing about Phil is he’s completely accessible — you can always approach him. He’s really engaging, open-minded, a motivated free-thinker, and, genuinely, a nice guy.

“I think it’s going to be really beneficial for the industry to have Phil in this key position,” he continued. “The industry is developing and evolving at almost light speed, I like to say. Things are changing very quickly, so you have to think on your feet and predict where the industry is heading. And, of course, you have to constantly adjust that based on the way the industry does develop. Economically, I feel very positive that things are getting a whole lot better around the country. We’re very fortunate to have Phil in this position because he really cares about the industry and wants the association and the industry to be successful, which is an absolute win-win for all of us.”

Preparing for a New Role

London said he is prepared to take on the industry challenges that will be presented knowing he has the strength and support of ACCA volunteers and staff.

“From the first day I recognized the opportunity to be a member of ACCA, I saw the vision, strengths, resources, and commitment from the organization’s leadership, staff, and volunteers,” he said.

London became a national board member in 2008 before taking on the role of his current position as senior vice chair. He has participated in a number of ACCA committees, including chairing the codes committee and seeing firsthand the inconsistencies of the codes around the country. He also worked with the chapter relations committee to overcome challenges with membership, expectations, and geographical differences.

“My involvement with our other committees gave me the insight into many of the challenges our industry and members are confronted with daily,” London explained. “While working in many leadership roles in and out of the ACCA arena, I still find it humbling to be the incoming chairman of the industry’s indoor environmental and energy professional organization.”

While humbled, London said he’s also excited about the opportunity to be an industry leader.

“The HVACR industry allows individuals the opportunity to gain success, earn a substantial living, and to potentially become a business owner without earning a college degree,” he said. “And, HVACR is continually evolving. The hands-on experiences coupled with an ever-changing technology makes for an interesting and dynamic challenge.”

“Phil London has served on the ACCA Board of Directors for many years, and, like all chairmen before him, he has a strong vision of where ACCA is going and what ACCA needs to do to get there,” said Paul Stalknecht, president and CEO of ACCA. “He has vast knowledge of the inner workings of small and large businesses, and he brings a unique and enthusiastic perspective to the board of directors that will help him be the strong leader that ACCA always seeks from our chairmen.

“He’s been an integral part of developing a long-term strategic plan that keeps ACCA’s operations focused,” he continued. “This continues to be extremely important, because our industry will continue to face challenges from outside forces in 2015, as we’ve already seen with the DOE about to finalize a regional standards enforcement scheme on central air conditioners and now proposing an aggressive 92 percent AFUE standard nationwide. However, London, along with our entire board of directors, will be working diligently to ensure ACCA is representing the needs of all of our contractor members. The contracting industry is very fortunate to have so many hard-working, passionate volunteers guiding its trade organization.”

Rebranding HVACR

According to London, the biggest challenge the industry faces is rebranding, or “changing the way the HVACR industry is perceived and the need to more accurately reflect who we are and what we do. The old term a/c mechanic is a far cry from the services we provide to our industry.”

Additionally, regional standards present their own challenges.

“Regional standards have caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty for all segments of our industry,” London explained. “I think there was a lot more concern about them before the lawsuit over the furnace rules was settled this past spring. Now, contractors are a little more confident about what is going on, and ACCA has done a great job of explaining what they can expect. Government regulations are always going to be a challenge.”

To combat the regulatory agencies, London said contractors need to get involved. “We’re lucky to have an organization like ACCA keeping a close eye on what is happening in our government. When they call on us to get involved, we need to jump into action, because if we sit back silently, we have to live with the consequences.”

During his term, London expects to see continued technology advancements and contractors constantly evolving to keep up with current trends. Additionally, he said sales should continue to grow in 2015. “Obviously, there are things contractors can’t control that will have an effect on sales, but there are a lot of things we can control. Contractors should always focus on the things they can control, like staff size, marketing budgets, and overhead expenses; instead of worrying about things like the weather to sustain their businesses. Many contractors, over the past five to 10 years, have been aggressively diversifying their service offerings to keep their businesses steady year-round.

“We have a lot of work to do on rebranding our industry,” London said. “We will be working closely with staff to streamline our operations and to ensure continued viability and unparalleled resources for our contractor members. Working with our government affairs staff, we have a unique opportunity to help shape many of the initiatives that affect our members. We have many challenges ahead, but we are off to a good start. We have a board of directors in place that has the faith, integrity, responsibility, and enthusiasm to overcome the challenges and the vision to guide our organization and industry to a better place.”

Publication date: 3/9/2015

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