LIVONIA, MI — At first glance, one would think Dan Bergstrom was giving away a free car or a trip to Europe. The lunchroom of his Blue Dot business in this western Detroit suburb was packed.

It was Career Night at Bergstrom’s Inc./Blue Dot.

There was more than just a passing interest in what Bergstrom and his staff had to say. The event was aided greatly by a well-placed article in the previous Sunday’s Employment Section of the local Detroit newspaper.

Instead of the typical small, hard-to-read ad, the newspaper ran a two-paragraph article describing the Career Night and what types of positions were available.

Bergstrom and residential service manager Chris Elder acknowledged that it may have had something to do with the fact that Bergstrom’s is a regular advertiser in the newspaper. (Hint: This may be just the leverage contractors need if they, too, are advertisers in local newspapers.)

The meeting room was stuffed with management and field technicians including plumbers, service techs, and installers. Sandwiches and refreshments were served while videotapes of Blue Dot’s national TV advertisements were played on a video screen.

Residential field supervisor Terrance Miller shows attendees around the company's sheet metal shop.

Working the room

The crowd was warmed up by staffers who asked a series of non-hvac trivia questions. Winners received Blue Dot travel coffee mugs.

The session continued with a brief welcome from Elder, who then turned the discussion over to Bergstrom.

Bergstrom talked about the roots of Blue Dot and how the company is represented in the metro Detroit area. A large residential contractor, Kast Heating & Cooling, in the northern Detroit area of Oakland County and another soon-to-be announced contractor in the Detroit market will form a triumvirate of businesses that new workers could choose to locate to.

“People will have the opportunity to move back and forth within the Detroit market and can also move to a different region of the country,” Bergstrom said.

He played up the advantage of working for a national consolidator, citing the ability to move about in the company and choose a career path. He also referred to the company’s three types of training programs: commercial service, residential service, and corporate-management training.

“There are many growth opportunities in management,” he said. “We look to grow from inside.”

Bergstrom also told would-be workers that they have the chance to help out in some very unique situations, citing crews that were sent to Puerto Rico after recent hurricanes, to repair damage to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.

“We also sent some crews to Cleveland to work with service people there who were doing some special duct-cleaning work,” he said.

Bergstrom turned the discussion back over to Elder, who gave a brief overview of company benefits. She also told the audience that her company was looking to hire some people immediately, granting interviews on the spot, and keeping other resumes on file for future job openings.

The attendees were given a tour of the facility and had the opportunity to quiz employees on the company and the work they perform. (Hint: They made would-be applicants feel comfortable and willing to open up with straightforward questions.)

Judging from the turnout and the response by the attentive crowd, Bergstrom appeared to have made a good, lasting impression on people who knew little about him or his company prior to that evening. That’s probably the goal of many contractors who want to put their best foot forward — and keep it there.