As one of the senior (read: oldest) contributors to this publication, I thought it appropriate to provide my perspective on the current world situation. First, after having to follow far too much media in the last several weeks, I want to express a compliment to the publishers and editors of The ACHR NEWS. They have always provided current, honest, and responsible reports regarding the issues of the country and specifically of our industry. They have done that without the unbelievable bias which we see in so many media reports today. That is why I am proud to have been associated with The ACHR NEWS for 21 years. By the way, they aren’t paying me to say this — I truly believe it.
There is no doubt that we are in one of the most unusual times we have ever experienced. As individuals, it is impacting everything we do. We have found that a weekend with no TV sports is not really a weekend at all. Unfortunately, in today’s world, we are bombarded by the news media wherever we turn. And if you haven’t noticed, the information we receive is not always completely true and certainly isn’t complete. We hear about the number of cases detected, but never hear the number who are cured. The fact is that sensationalism is what makes news, and that is often negative. There are many more reports of cases and deaths than of those areas where the rate of cases is subsiding. I encourage you to dig further to make sure you are aware of what is really happening.
This is not to say that COVID-19 is a not dangerous and deadly virus.
This situation is causing us to change virtually everything about the way we live. It is so unique as to be indescribable. Yet is it truly that unprecedented? My dad took over our business in August of 1929, dropping out of high school because his dad had died. As we all know, two months later the stock market crashed, and the country went into a nearly decade-long depression. The stories of people jumping from buildings, of unbelievably long food lines, of no one having any money, are not made up. Yet Dad and Mom and the country managed to survive.
Then came World War II. Just like now, everything was shut down. All of the young people were sent to war, and all of the country’s resources were turned into military use.
While I was just a toddler through the war years, I still remember what everyone was going through. For Dad and our company, the biggest problem was the lack of metal. That’s what we used. We installed furnaces and ductwork using metal, but there was no metal. Somehow, they and the country managed to survive those times, and following the war, there was unprecedented growth.
For each one of us heating and air conditioning contractors, these are certainly trying times. In the short run, I hope and assume that all of you are taking all of the prescribed precautions necessary to protect your employees and your customers. But what about the bigger and long-run picture for your company and your employees? Are you getting into the practice of only stating the negative?
Don’t let that happen. While these may be very difficult times, it is important for us, as business leaders, to let our employees and our customers know that we are going to be here for them in the long run. Think of the positive things to point out: how many service calls you ran this week, or how many replacement sales you have made.
On the commercial side, while things are more closed down, remind your people that those buildings where you were working still need to be completed — and that you will be the ones to complete them. In the meantime, for all of us, this is an excellent time to work on those internal issues that will help when things do return to normal. You know the things I mean. Those things that we are always too busy to do because we are just too busy. Maybe now is the time.
I hope that all of you will continue to practice safe procedures, and I have a good word of positive advice. Instead of watching the nightly news tonight, go to YouTube. Search for “Kate Smith Original God Bless America.” It will make you feel a whole lot better about tomorrow.