Randy Tice
LEBANON, Pa. - Randy Tice knows how to keep himself busy. He is the current chairman and CEO for APR Supply, a family-owned business that opened in 1922 and has grown to include 13 branch locations throughout eastern Pennsylvania. Tice is also active with the Heating, Airconditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). In fact, Tice is the president-elect for HARDI and will assume the role in 2004.

Tice has also taken on the role as the newest board of trustees chairman for North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Tice was previously the vice president for the board of trustees, and he replaces the previous president, Skip Snyder, owner of The Snyder Co. in Upper Darby, Pa.

"It is quite an honor to be a wholesaler and named chairman [of the board]," he said.

Tice believes that with his wholesale and distribution background he can spread the word on NATE certification and bring it to a new level of recognition.

"As the first wholesaler to lead NATE's board, [Tice] brings a valuable and unique perspective to his new role," said Rex Boynton, NATE president. "The wholesale/distribution community has embraced NATE, and Randy's blend of energy, enthusiasm, and experience position us well for continued growth."

Industry Benefit

Tice and APR Supply were active with HARDI when it was still known as the Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration, and Airconditioning Wholesalers Association (NHRAW). Tice played an active role in NHRAW's education committee. Ted Reese, past president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), attended an NHRAW meeting and talked to Tice about NATE and the possibility of joining the board.

Tice said he has learned that NATE is not just beneficial to contractors, but the industry as a whole. He explained that as a distributor, he has an interest in the men and women who install the systems and components he sells. When technicians are properly trained and certified, chances are better that equipment will be installed correctly. "We want more education and more qualified people in our trade," said Tice.

He also explained that when a unit is installed properly and does what it needs to do for customers, it also makes the manufacturer look good, as well as the distributor and the contractor. "It is a win-win-win situation," Tice said.

He also believes that NATE makes qualified technicians more visible to customers. Tice explained that when he is asked where to find a qualified technician, he says he can give the names of customers who have NATE-certified technicians. He can also refer them to the NATE Web site, www.natex.org, which lists NATE technicians by location.

Wholesaler Impact

According to Tice, about one-third of the NATE exams are administered by wholesalers and distributors. "We are doing more testing than any other industry entity," he said.

Tice believes that wholesalers have the ability to reach out to contractors and get them on board with the NATE certification program. "We have a lot of power to get the word out," said Tice.

Information will be available through several APR Supply branches, which are authorized NATE testing sites, and HARDI.

NATE officials will make a presentation to the HARDI board and share ideas on what the two entities can do to strengthen technician certification.

Publication date: 12/08/2003