LAS VEGAS, NV — The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) held its 33rd Annual Conference February 26 – March 1, and despite chilly temperatures and rainy conditions in Las Vegas, attendees were treated to a bevy of informative seminars and a record-setting exhibitor showcase.

The four-day event drew 985 attendees, of which 23 were speakers and 240 were exhibitors, a new record for the group mainly comprised of manufacturers and vendors.

Attendees were also introduced to Paul Stalknecht, newly appointed executive vice president and ceo. Stalknecht, former senior vice president for Federation Relations at the American Trucking Assoc-iation, told press conference attendees about his vision for ACCA.

“I want to position ACCA for the long run,” he said. “We [leadership] will be visible. Our presence will be felt. Member’s voices will be heard. I want to hear from everyone and learn their thoughts.”

Stalknecht acknowledged that ACCA is “at the crossroads” and now the group needs to “walk in unison.” But he didn’t say it would be easy.

“This will cause some initial pain,” he said.

ACCA’s Board of Directors voted to have ACCA and all chapters become one united federated structure. Taking effect immediately, and stretching over the next two years for full implementation, “ACCA is, from today, moving ahead as a fully federated association,” declared ACCA president Anthony Shaker. “I have unbounded confidence that Paul [Stalknecht] and his unified staff will bring this program in on time and on budget.”


Keynote speaker Dr. Peter Johnson talked to attendees about keeping a “relentless focus on goals.” He cited the “ultimate objective” for businesses:

“To definitely establish in precise terms the strategic identity, image, and reputation of your specific company, your products, and your services such that in the mind of your targeted marketplace there could be no acceptable alternative anywhere — regardless of price.”

Many of the conference seminars focused precisely on what Johnson spoke of — building a successful business model and sticking to a game plan.

That same thought prevailed on the first day of the conference, as a number of wind-whipped and rain-soaked golfers braved the elements to compete. The camaraderie shown on fairways and putting greens transcended the golf course and carried over onto the exhibitor show floor and into the seminars, helping ensure a successful show all around.

At the closing general session, The News honored the seven winners of its second annual “Best Contractor to Work For” contest. News editor-in-chief Mark Skaer handed plaques to Brian Nalley of Northside Heating and Cooling (Benton, AR), Vince DiFilippo of DiFilippo’s Service Co. (Paoli, PA), Joe Nichter of Tri-City Mechanical/ Comfort Systems USA (Chandler, AZ), and Alan Barnes Sr. of Aircond (Smyrna, GA). Other contractor winners, but unable to attend the ceremony at ACCA, are Atomatic Mechanical Services, Inc. (Hoffman Estates, IL), Keil Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. (Riverdale, NJ), and Advanced Radiant Technology (Seattle, WA).

Look for more ACCA convention coverage in next week’s issue of The News.

Publication date: 03/19/2001