Halsey Cook, ICP president of North America Residential, outlined the company’s growth strategies for dealer-contractors at ICP’s recent “Power of Potential” meeting. Other speakers from the company are shown below.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It was subtitled the “Power of Three” by Pete Gasiewicz, vice president of sales and marketing for International Comfort Products (ICP). He was referring to the manufacturer/distributor/dealer-contractor alliance that was evident during ICP’s “Power of Potential” meeting.

Gasiewicz said that it is important that all groups “work together for profitable growth all across the channel.” He added, “It is important for each of us to know what we mean to the HVACR industry.”

The overall theme of the meeting included a new spirit of communication from manufacturers through distributors and to dealer-contractors. ICP opened up the meeting to both their dealer-contractors and the trade press.

Halsey Cook, ICP president of North America Residential, told meeting attendees that “We have an opportunity to grow, and it will require change.”

Lee Prindle, general manager, Western Division Sales.

Inside ICP

Cook also talked about some of the promises ICP is making to its distributors and contractor-dealers:

  • Protecting ICP differentiation, which includes a brand strategy emphasizing differentiation of products and people;

  • Revitalizing product;

  • Making its Lewisburg distribution center “more customer focused” for greater ease of doing business;

  • Placing a greater focus on quality, including incentives, training, and engineering resources — a $2 million investment; and

  • Making new manufacturing moves, including taking production from under one roof to specialty factories.

    Steve da Silva, general manager, Canadian Distribution.
    “We are going to have a more disciplined design and testing process,” said Cook. “We remain committed to our focus factories who will deliver to our distributors and dealer-contractors.”

    Lee Prindle, general manager, Western Division Sales, talked about ICP commercial products. “The commercial package line has been changing, and we are constantly testing, reviewing, and improving product design,” he said.

    “ICP makes a very viable commercial product. We fit the market.”

    ICP is also big in Canada, noted Steve da Silva, general manager, Canadian Distribution. “The 90-plus furnaces are critical to our success in Canada,” he said. “The oil furnace line is very big in Canada, too. In 2002, we introduced four new oil furnace models.”

    Pete Gasiewicz, vice president of sales and marketing.

    Future Growth

    Cook said that the A/C industry will outperform the overall economy, citing the robust new construction market and low interest rates.

    “Our industry was up last year about 5 percent, which was driven by new construction and a hot summer,” he said. “Large commercial was a nightmare, and it brought us down to a flat-ish level.”

    He gave reasons why new construction will continue to be strong in the immediate future.

    “Immigration is a key with the influx of people into our country in the 80s and 90s,” Cook explained. “Immigrants form 1.1 million new households each year.

    “Overall ownership rates have risen to 68 percent and will be 72 percent by the end of the decade, crowding out the rental market.”

    Dan Burdette, product manager, cooling products.
    He added that baby boomers are fueling the economy, and that housing statistics show that home ownership peaks at 64 years of age, meaning the boomer generation is still increasing home ownership — and buying second homes, too.

    Cook added that IAQ has become very important, saying that “People are getting emotionally involved in the cleanliness of the home. Our industry will be squarely in the middle of the health and biotech age. Indoor air quality matters.”

    Cook said that the replacement market continues to grow by leaps and bounds, now accounting for $8 billion annual sales. “Add-on and replacement sales are growing twice as fast as new construction,” he said. “Federally mandated changes in refrigerants will put rocket boosters on this [replacement] trend. I don’t think this is a bubble. The dynamic forces will be operative for the next 10 years.”

    Lisa Townley, senior manager of marketing.

    Current Trends

    Dan Burdette, product manager, Cooling Products, talked about some of the current HVACR market trends. He discussed a growing interest in alternative refrigerants, improved customer comfort, and improved system performance. He also talked about the importance of IAQ.

    “IAQ is often worse than outdoor air because of the man-made materials in new construction,” he said.

    Burdette noted that ICP made the decision to gradually phase out R-22 products — but not eliminate them — while phasing in the more ecologically friendly R-410A products.

    Lisa Townley, senior manager of marketing, told attendees about ICP’s response to new marketing trends. She said that ICP’s marketing plans are driven by customer feedback.

    “Our consumer marketing support is built around our dealer-contractors,” she said. “Our marketing efforts are driven by you folks. We have changed out 85 percent of our marketing tools” thanks to feedback.

    Cook assured meeting attendees that ICP will remain strong and competitive. “There are going to be more brands entering the marketplace, including foreign competition,” he said. “We are going to partner with you to ensure that we are competitive in all areas of the market.”

    Publication date: 05/26/2003