CINCINNATI - Members of Excellence Alliance Inc. (EAI) now have new opportunities and initiatives designed to assist them in creating and running a successful business. These new programs were introduced at the group's 2004 spring managers meeting.

Contractors gathered to find out the latest EAI endeavors and to take part in a variety of workshops and learning sessions. Highlights of the 2004 meeting included a new EAI mentoring program and a franchising opportunity with Aire Serv®.

EAI members had the opportunity to attend a variety of breakout sessions on topics ranging from IAQ to profitability.

New Growth

The EAI meeting opened with a contractor advisory board meeting and a new member orientation and member refresher event. New and veteran members learned about current EAI offerings and business opportunities.

Don Schmitt, CEO and president of EAI, provided attendees with an organizational update and highlighted future plans.

Schmitt revealed that 64 new members had joined the group within the last 12 months. Also, York and Nordyne continue to be EAI's primary equipment manufacturer allies.

Schmitt then gave attendees a brief look at the numerous learning opportunities available during the two-day event.

"The focus of the 2004 spring meeting is training that provides best practices and information that can be taken back and immediately implemented in your companies," he said.

Those training sessions included "How to Succeed in the IAQ Market," "Proven Methods to Profitably Grow Your Service Department," "Real World HVAC 101," "Contracting, Consumers, and Collections," "Leadership Power," "Proactive Financial Selling in Varying Vertical Markets," and "Establishing a Relationship With Your Local Trade School."

The event also included a session called "Added Benefits of Aire Serv Franchise Systems."

The session not only provided insight into franchising, but also introduced EAI members to a new opportunity and agreement between EAI and Aire Serv.

Don Schmitt (left), president and CEO of EAI, discusses the new Aire Serv initiative with Aire Serv president Doyle James.

Leading Others To Success

The EAI meeting also ushered in a new mentoring program. The program was officially launched on June 1, and will be a resource to EAI members looking for answers to business-related questions. The goal is to help contractors with daily challenges.

The mentoring program was introduced at the meeting by Dave Dombrowski, a licensed HVAC contractor with Metro Services/ARS-Servicemaster, Raliegh, N.C.

"Anything you are looking for guidance in, EAI can give you a source to come to," Dombrowski said.

He explained that a team of mentors would be available to help answer any industry-related questions by phone or e-mail. The mentoring group, which includes Dombrowski, will bring together over 80 years of industry experience and expertise. The other mentors include George Cox, a retired army colonel and former regional controller; Mike Pratl from the Technical Training Institute; and John Turnage, a state-certified continuing education trainer with a background in mainframes, IT, networking, and dispatching.

Dombrowski said that once a mentor has helped a member handle a challenge, the mentoring team will keep in touch with the contractor to make sure he or she is still making progress.

The 2004 EAI meeting also introduced a new relationship between the contractor group and Aire Serv. As an EAI member, contractors now have the opportunity to become an independent franchisee of the company.

On hand during the event to educate members about the latest opportunity were Doyle James, Aire Serv president, and Brian Hall, Aire Serv franchise director.

Doyle told members about the benefits of becoming a franchisee, including buying power for strategic allies, brand building, and new training opportunities. He also explained that Aire Serv chose EAI for the opportunity because the company "saw EAI as a strong business model."

Dennis Laughlin (left), general manager of Arzel Zoning, discusses zoning with an EAI attendee. Arzel is an equipment manufacturer ally for EAI.

Servant Leadership

EAI's keynote speaker for the meeting was Larry Cook, managing director for TDIndustries, headquartered in Dallas. Cook spoke to the members about a concept practiced at TDIndusties, one that he feels has made the company a success. That practice is servant leadership.

"Servant leadership is about the individual," said Cook.

He explained that servant leadership means that leaders are a servant to the people they lead.

Cook said that at TDIndustries, all employees are treated like individuals, not numbers. This is accomplished by treating others with respect and by giving employees a stake in the company.

TDIndustries is 100-percent owned by employees, who are considered "TDPartners." No one in the company owns more than 3 percent of company stock, and the entire senior management team controls less than 25 percent.

The servant leadership concept has been a success for TDIndustries, said Cook. For the last seven years, the company has ranked in the top 10 of the "100 Best Companies To Work For In America" according to Fortune magazine.

Publication date: 06/14/2004