There are many areas where HVAC contractors receive honor. Some are recognized for service to their customers, others for service to their communities. Some are honored for accomplishments at an early age, others for a lifetime of distinction. All these are worthwhile, but the honor that makes all the others possible in many ways is being recognized as a place people want to work.

This year, as every year, The ACHR NEWS is recognizing those who invest the effort and capital in making their firms the Best Contractors to Work For. This is the 22nd year for the award, and the 2021 class will join a prestigious heritage. Last year’s winners were Michael DeRitis, Madison & East Mechanical Corp., Parkland, New York; John Eanes, Eanes Heating & Air Conditioning, Highpoint, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Bruce Krinkie, Krinkie’s Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Dustin Miller, Comfort Now Inc., Visalia, California.

The award is about more than showing what a great shop each contractor runs, although all the winners run great shops. HVAC contractors face a serious shortage of talented employees. Many say it keeps them from growing their businesses. Creating a great workplace makes it easier to win the contest for the best employees — and to keep them once you’ve invested in them. The better the workers, the better the work done for your customers. This means more business and an opportunity to invest more in staff. It becomes a virtuous cycle.

This year’s competition began Sept. 8 and runs until Oct. 31, 2020. Entrants can be nominated by their peers, employees, or even themselves. Anyone who owns an HVACR company in the U.S. or Canada is eligible to enter. Companies of all ages and sizes will be considered. Multiple nominations neither help nor hurt a contractor’s chances of winning.

Kyle Gargaro, editorial director for The ACHR NEWS, said the many challenges of this year show the tremendous importance of a great workplace culture, which is why employee nominations are a big part of the Best Contractor to Work For contest.

“This year, we’ve struggled with economic uncertainty, a heated election, and unprecedented challenges to work-life balance, all during a pandemic,” Gargaro said. “The best contractors are those who stepped up and gave their teams a sense of stability. Now more than ever, the best contractors to work for provide their employees with more than a job. They provide them a place where they feel secure and appreciated.”

The criteria for the contest covers all aspects of a great workplace. This includes investments in money (salaries, benefits, tool allowances) and time (training, recognition). It also includes the intangibles, such showing staff the contractor truly cares for them and being open to their ideas.

The Best Contractor to Work For award is an honor presented in front of the entire HVACR industry. The winners will be showcased in the AHR Expo show issue of The ACHR NEWS, which is scheduled for Jan. 25. This means each contractor’s accomplishment will be touted to potential business partners, clients, and employees.

Perhaps most importantly, these stories give other contractors something to aspire to. The way you run your business may give someone else an idea of how to run their business. This elevates the entire industry.

So don’t be shy. Share your company’s story with the world. And, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so share photos of your business as well. To enter, go here and click on the “2020 Nomination Form” button. Answer some questions and you could be on the way to being named one of the Best Contractors to Work For.