BROADVIEW, Ill. — In January, more than 35 members of The Unified Group — a national association of leading independent HVAC commercial contractors in the industry — met in Scottsdale, Arizona, to share best practices, learn about new technology, and discuss company culture and employee development during the organization’s annual Service Management Forum.

“These meetings are a fast track to making great things better, and they always help with the reduction of trial and error,” said Chris Stokes of Air Controls. “The collaboration between peers is always invigorating.”

On the first day, John Howman, president of Allied Consulting Group, discussed hiring the right people and the cost associated if you do not. Attendees read “The Ideal Team Player” by Patrick Lencioni, then reviewed the three must-have traits in an employee: hungry, humble, and smart. Howman shared the keys to building a great team and gave the attendees a list of interview questions designed to help select the right candidates and create a robust team culture within their organizations.

On the second day, the group examined talent development and recruiting methods — specifically, enticing the younger generation to join the trades. Curt Stramel and Eric Dinges of Glassman Corporation talked about their company’s Annual Technical Trades Day, when more than 100 high school students toured their facility and discovered different career options within the trades. Dave Robistow told members how VHV Company started a series of open houses in 2018 to gain and attract energetic, young individuals. A number of students have used the opportunity to job shadow as a way to learn more about the possibilities in the industry.

Frank Quintanar of J&J Air Conditioning presented on how he motivates and inspires his team by making a personal connection, and caring about both his employees’ success and their personal lives and families. Janet Kelleher of The Unified Group facilitated group discussion on employee incentives, rewards, and recognition.

On the final day, the group discussed efficient estimating processes, financial metrics, and KPIs. The session concluded by discussing the service process — scheduling, dispatching, managing work orders, billing, days to bill, and the technicians’ role in the process.

Throughout the forum, members shared new technology that has made a positive impact on their businesses in the last year, such as a coil cleaner that saved 25 percent on labor expenses, Appion Vacuum Pumps that saved significant time evacuating VRF systems, and efficient staffing plans that ensure employees are in place prior to peak business.

“The Unified Group is such a great concept,” said Rachel Sykes of Service Unlimited, Inc. “We are brothers and sisters standing together facing the same issues inside and outside our office walls. So much good always comes from these meetings. We all benefit greatly!”

Publication date: 2/21/2019

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!