Paul Stalknecht
NEW ORLEANS - What may have been the biggest surprise at the 2004 Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Conference and Indoor Air Expo came from Rheem Manufacturing, Air Conditioning Division.

At the closing of the Industry Leadership Luncheon on Feb. 27, Jack Sinkler, vice president of Marketing for Rheem Manufacturing, Air Conditioning Division, announced that Rheem will provide full ACCA membership at the national, state, and local level to qualifying Rheem Team and Ruud Reliable contractor members. This entails the funding for all current national, state, and local ACCA membership dues for over 400 of Rheem's qualified top contractors.

"Everything that ACCA does - in terms of information, industry presence with the government and industry agencies - is designed to continue to educate and breed a network of top contractors, like everybody who is sitting here," said Sinkler. "That is consistent as to what we are doing and how we want to support the Rheem Team and Ruud Reliable contractors going forward."

John Saucier, ACCA's immediate past chairman, was naturally pleased with the historic partnership. He praised Rheem for its leadership and pointed to this manufacturer support as evidence of how ACCA and its federated state and local chapters "have moved to the forefront of the contracting industry."

"Rheem's recognition of the value ACCA provides to the independent contractor is gratifying," said Saucier. "We want to thank them for the support of our mission. At ACCA, our only mission is a more successful, more profitable independent contracting industry. Our mission has been greatly enhanced by all the manufacturers that have increased their commitment to ACCA over the past two years, including Rheem, Carrier, Trane, and York International. We're all partners in this great industry, and together we can do great things."

Rheem was among the first manufacturers to provide Platinum Elite Sponsorship to ACCA, and the manufacturer has supported the work of ACCA ever since. The company's "Innovation Center" exhibit at the 2004 conference was considered one of the largest manufacturer exhibits ever presented at an ACCA expo. Rheem also un-veiled several of its new residential and commercial heating and cooling products at the expo.

"The Rheem landmark decision, an unprecedented endorsement of the value of contractor membership in ACCA, is perhaps the most innovative single act of support ever given ACCA by a manufacturer," said Paul Stalknecht, ACCA president and CEO.

"In working together, I have come to appreciate some similarities shared by the Rheem Air Conditioning Division and ACCA. We both have new leadership and direction and have built strong support teams, we both have a strong commitment to customer service, and we share a can-do innovative attitude that is raising the performance bar for both of us."

J.R. Jones, president of Rheem Air Conditioning Division, said he supported the "innovative ideas, bold industry initiatives, and strong leadership coming from today's ACCA leadership."

"ACCA, like NATE, ARI, GAMA, and others are providing the visionary leadership and partnership necessary to move our industry successfully forward," said Jones.

"Our increased support of ACCA in recent years is due largely to the focused, vigorous leadership of ACCA's president, Paul Stalknecht; the vibrant ACCA board; and its exciting newly federated member chapters. The mission of our Rheem Team and Ruud Reliable ‘Top Contractor' program is in 100-percent agreement with ACCA's mission to raise the bar of excellence and customer-focused professionalism. That is why we have taken the unprecedented action to financially support the ACCA membership of qualifying Rheem Team and Ruud Reliable members."

Look for more coverage from the 2004 ACCA Conference and Indoor Air Expo in future issues of The News.

Publication date: 03/08/2004