In an early August meeting of the group’s new contractor advisory board, Jim Norris, advisory board chairman, reminded attendees of the power and resourcefulness of the group.
“It is incredible when you think about it,” Norris said. “Jeff Wilmink [EAI president and ceo] and a half-dozen contractors sat down and talked about the future of the business a few years ago. Their dream was to band together to promote excellence in the industry.”
Wilmink said that the original goals of the alliance are still in effect today: encouraging members to use all of the tools and resources available to them, which include 38 member resource manuals. But he said the ultimate goal goes far beyond that.
“We are talking about changing the way our industry goes to business,” Wilmink said. “Our goal is to run the organization like a publicly held company: to return the benefits of the company to its members.”
He unveiled a plan to update the organizational chart of EAI, which includes the 32-member advisory board. This will consist of four main areas: Hvac, Electric, Refrigeration, and Plumbing. Each area will be divided into two parts: Residential-Light Commer-cial and Commercial-Industrial-Mechanical.
Cultivating ManagersIn addition, EAI will roll out a new initiative. “The key to our next strategy is to put people in the field, called Excellence Managers,” Wilmink said. (The Newshas been publishing classified ads for these positions.)
The program will be strategically offered in the 18 EAI districts, to assist members and act as liaisons to the advisory board and the alliance’s leadership.
The overall EAI business plan includes cultivating and training people for the mechanical contracting industries. Wilmink cites “Seven Principles of Excellence” that attract contractors to EAI as a resource for finding workers and keeping up on industry trends:
“Each member should be committed to our Foundation [raising money for hvac school scholarships]. If we all commit to the Foundation, we could have 400 [$2,000] scholarships available.”
Down the road, EAI plans to become a national presence. Wilmink believes that anything is possible.