ORLANDO, Fla. — March Madness came a month early at hilmor’s booth at the AHR Expo in Orlando, with more than 350 participants donning safety glasses, gloves, and black-and-green T-shirts and baseball hats to compete for the title of “Fastest Hands in HVAC/R” – and the chance to win hundreds of dollars’ worth of prizes.

The contest, which ran Feb. 3-4, is a longstanding hilmor favorite.

“It’s something we started when we launched the hilmor brand in 2013,” said Andrea Halpin, brand director at DiversiTech. “We wanted to do something fun that also allowed them to test their skills against each other…and got them to actually play with the tools instead of just a demo. Getting a hands-on experience is a lot more fun and a lot more personal than watching someone else do it!”

Contestants were judged on timing and accuracy, and the top 16 advanced to the finals, held on Tuesday afternoon. At 4 p.m., finalists and their buddies crowded the show floor around the hilmor booth to cheer on the contestants and see who would go home with the gold. First place was $1,000 worth of hilmor tools; second was $500 worth of tools, and third was a value of $350. Plus, the finalists got to keep their hilmor hats, gloves, and T-shirts.

Finalists played three one-on-one rounds with the winner advancing to the next bracket – and the next task to put their HVACR skills to the test. Top honors at this Expo’s challenge went to Evan Gutman, a technician at Doylestown Air in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He earned major bragging rights, vacuuming down a system in just 39 seconds.

“Quality won the first round,” Gutman said, “and speed won the last!”

The ACHR NEWS recorded the semifinal and final rounds on Facebook Live; click here to watch the video.

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