ARLINGTON, VA — The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) held its Educa-tion Summit here recently, bringing together major hvacr education and training leaders, as well as leading ACCA contractor members. According to the association, the summit was designed to focus on ACCA’s future education role.

Larry Taylor, ACCA president, and Paul Stalknecht, ACCA executive vice president and ceo, were on hand for the event.

In his welcoming remarks to the group, Taylor commented that “We are here today to review and establish education priorities and action plans that ACCA will use as a roadmap to lead the hvacr industry in this new century.”

“We have assembled a group of visionaries both from the perspective of education advocates and the contractors who depend on the outcome,” said Stalknecht.

ACCA contractor members Warren Lupson of Primary Multi-craft (Gaithersburg, MD), Tom Winstel Sr. of Engineering Excell-ence Inc. (Cincinnati, OH), and Pat Jopek of Merit Mechanical Systems (Bridgman, MI), began the meeting by discussing the training and education needs they have as hvacr contractors. They cited safety issues, technical training, and soft skills training as top priorities.

Dick Shaw, ACCA’s technical education consultant, joined Lupson in addressing educational priorities and the focus of hvacr instructors. ACCA technical consultant Hank Rutkowski gave an overview of the organization’s technical manual resource library and discussed how it helps contractors, educators, and building science engineers.

Glenn Friedman, ACCA’s interim technical manager, joined Rutkowski in giving an overview of ACCA’s relationship with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Condition-ing Engineers (ASHRAE). Bill Wright, ACCA’s technical software developer, discussed changes resulting from new software and technology.

ACCA board member Phil Forner of Allendale Heating Company (Allendale, MI) gave an overview of the association’s expanding and influential role with international code groups and the importance of ACCA technical manuals to these organizations.

Finally, Skip Snyder of Snyder Company (Upper Darby, PA), chairman of North American Technician Excellence (NATE), discussed ACCA’s role in leading the training efforts associated with the NATE program. Snyder also serves as chairman of the ACCA Education Steering Task Team and has advocated ACCA’s ability to promote accelerated learning opportunities for contractors and their technicians.


At the forefront of the summit was a wide-ranging discussion of ways to utilize the new ACCA chapter federation structure to deliver education and training at the grassroots level. Stalknecht has championed the need for ACCA to do a better job of outreach to vocational instructors, and several proactive initiatives were discussed at the summit.

Jim Hussey, ACCA senior vice president and president of Marina Mechanical (San Leandro, CA), gave an analysis of the challenges and opportunities that exist in education as a result of the California energy crisis.

Stalknecht summed up the first ACCA Education Summit by saying, “Everyone came away from the table with a renewed commitment to seeing ACCA forge new territory when it comes to fostering education in the hvacr industry. We know that we can’t do it all, and partnership opportunities were certainly part of the discussions today.”

Publication date: 06/25/2001