NOVI, Mich. - Don't sit on your laurels. That was one of the many messages from outgoing president Charlie Elliott at the recent convention of the Michigan chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (MIACCA). Skip Snyder, ACCA national chairman, touched on a very similar message as he made his address to MIACCA members. Both Elliot and Snyder encouraged contractor attendees to get involved and always strive to improve.

"We are working on the best possible training programs for our members," Elliott said. "But until we can get continuing education mandated in our state, we will have problems. I believe that you will see the value of your membership increase, especially now that we are one [federated] ACCA."

Outgoing MIACCA President Charlie Elliott prepares to turn the gavel over to incoming 2004-2005 president Glen VerMurlen.

Goodbye, Charlie

In his closing speech, Elliott said his tenure was very gratifying as 2003-2004 MIACCA president. He pointed to some positive signs that the Michigan chapter is moving in the right direction.

"We have met challenges with great answers and we are in a solid financial position with a great set of leaders," he said.

Elliot, owner of Elliott Heating & Cooling, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., highlighted some other strengths of MIACCA, including the group's Web site.

"Use the Web site as a resource, and if you are not interacting through it, shame on you," he said. He also encouraged attendees to "support our student chapter at Ferris State University, too."

Elliott's last task as president was turning the gavel over to 2004-2005 president Glenn VerMurlen of Michigan Building & Mechanical, Wyoming, Mich.

Randy Seaman thanks the audience for voting his company, Seaman’s Air Conditioning, as MIACCA’s Contractor of the Year.

Snyder Pushes Voting

When it was his turn at the podium, Snyder talked about the importance of the HVACR contracting trade.

"We have a voice and we need to use that voice," he said.

Snyder, who described himself as a "third generation boiler repair guy," encouraged MIACCA members to vote in the upcoming elections and to encourage other people to vote, too.

"If we don't have a presence on Capitol Hill, we will not win the battles," he said. "The [ACCA] federation needs you and a united voice. Ours is the only voice of the air conditioning contractor on Capitol Hill."

Snyder added that there are other advantages to the strength in numbers represented by a federated ACCA.

"We should be able to pool our membership to get better insurance rates," he said.

Snyder believes one and all should promote National Indoor Comfort Week, which was observed April 18-24 this year.

"The intent of this promotion is to show how much our industry affects the welfare of our population," he said.

Snyder encouraged contractors to toot their own horns, too - especially to customers.

"Talk it up and tell them what you deliver to them," he said. "We are not just a guy in a truck. We are a trained eye."

Snyder told the audience that ACCA has been holding closed-door meetings with equipment manufacturers to iron out issues between the two sides.

"We take the gloves off and go at it," he said.

Snyder spent much of his presentation on the economic events of the past 30 years. He warned, "I think our economy will be bouncing all over the place. It will not be a smooth road. The next opportunity for us will be distribution of information, then goods and services."

Snyder also took time to talk about the importance of ACCA Mix® Groups.

"ACCA Mix Groups are the single most important thing I have done in business," he said. "I think I blew 20 years before joining my group. I want every one of my competitors in the area to be in ACCA and a Mix Group. It will raise our prices.

"Folks, you can't do it alone. You need confidants and advisors."

Snyder said that he has learned three things as a businessperson: the need to work as a team, constantly improve, and raise the bar of professionalism.

Following Snyder's speech, Seaman's Air Conditioning of Grand Rapids, Mich., was named the winner of the association's Contractor of the Year Award in the residential and light commercial category. Randy Seaman is owner.

Publication date: 05/24/2004