Dr. Lowell Catlett (above and below) stole the show at ACCA’s convention two years ago, and he’s expected to do the same in 2005.
AUSTIN, Texas - Ready for Round Two? The 2005 Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Conference and Indoor Air Expo, to be held at the Renaissance Austin Hotel March 9-12, once again will feature futurist and economist Dr. Lowell Catlett, who stole the show two years ago with his unique and very animated approach. Catlett, a Regent's Professor at New Mexico State University, is bound to bring the house down at the closing ceremony.

"We know those contractors who saw Lowell Catlett in 2003 are already packing their bags to see him again," said Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA's president and CEO, when it was announced earlier this year that Catlett was returning.

"And if you missed him then, you won't want to miss him now. He's not just fun, energetic, enthusiastic, and entertaining. He's also brilliant, innovative, wise, and business-savvy. He's coming back with all-new trends to explore and tips for contractors to move to the top of the game."

Catlett, who has consulted with many Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, is sought after by organizations all over the world for his unique insight into the way technology is changing everyday life and how businesses must adapt to meet new needs.

Terrell Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity, one of the few companies that came into being and remained profitable during the "dot-com bubble," will speak at the opening session.

Jones is scheduled to show contractors how the "wired generation" is changing the way people buy indoor comfort services and products, and how new search technologies will help contractors compete for new customers at the product, rather than brand, level. Jones is scheduled to offer attendees ideas they can apply for success in a world where people are buying products and services in a very different way than they have in the past.

Indoor Air Expo Sold Out

It appears this year's convention will break the attendance record set in 2004. The Indoor Air Expo is already a hit, as floor space is sold out with 162 spaces filled - a 33-percent increase over last year's show.

"This is the first time in the history of the show that floor space has been snapped up so far in advance," said Michael Honeycutt, ACCA senior vice president and chief of staff. "Suppliers and manufacturers are interested in reaching the decision-making men and women of the top HVACR contracting companies in the country and ACCA's conference is where they will be."

Day passes are available for March 10 and 11; the cost is $325 each day, and this includes access to the day's workshops. Admission to the expo is free each day.

Technical Applications

Look for plenty of learning experiences and possibilities while in Austin. In addition to a separate track of educational sessions for the residential and the commercial contractor, ACCA will offer an "application track" of educational sessions this year. This format is designed to focus on important technical issues in the contracting industry, including:

  • "How Building Science Explains HVAC Head Scratchers," led by Brendan Reid of Comfort Institute, Inc. This workshop will discuss how to differentiate from competitors by better understanding the fundamentals of building science.

  • "Codes. Not Interested? Beware!" led by Jay Peters of IAPMO. This presentation is designed to help reduce exposure to code-related pitfalls and show how understanding codes can enhance one's image as a reputable contractor.

  • "Trends in Utility Incentive Programs and Implications for the Quality Residential Contractor," led by John Taylor of CEE. This session is will explore several new incentives that have an in-creased focus on proper installation and maintenance.

  • "Zoning Applications on Small Tonnage Packaged Rooftops," led by Debra Drapas of Carrier Corp. In this workshop, contractors will learn to identify constant-volume zoning opportunities and solutions, and they will explore zoning design considerations.

  • "HVAC Inspection and Maintenance: An Important Industry Standard," led by Bob Baker of BBJ Environmental Solutions, Inc. This session will discuss ACCA and ASHRAE's preparations for the writing and approval of an ANSI standard to address proper maintenance.

    Commercial Possibilities

    On the commercial side of things, some of the educational sessions on tap include:

  • "Filtration as a Value-Added Differentiator," led by Barney Burroughs of Building Wellness Consultancy Inc. This session is aimed at exploring how seemingly higher-priced filters provide lower-cost filtration and can be profitably sold to customers.

  • "Application of ECM Motors in Fan Powered VAV Terminal Units and Fan Coils," led by Gus Faris of Nailor Industries. This presentation is designed to cover energy savings, systems performance, equipment performance, and specification details of equipment using ECM motors.

  • "The Impact of Formicary Corrosion and Developments in this Area," led by Ed Rottmann of Outokumpu and Andrew Kireta Jr. of Copper Development Association. This workshop has been arranged to cover the basics of formicary corrosion, including the what, where, when, and whys of the problem and available solutions.

  • "Effective Humidity Control with Light Commercial Packaged Equipment," led by Ronald Woodcock of Carrier Corp. This presentation will discuss methods of ensuring proper space humidity levels using constant volume packaged rooftops.

  • "Cooling Towers ... Untapped Gold Mines," led by Glenn A. Babcock of Baltimore Aircoil Company. This session has been set up to provide ideas for generating business for cooling tower repairs, retrofits, rejuvenation, upgrades, and eventual replacement.

    Residential Offerings

    Those educational sessions targeted specifically for the residential sector include:

  • "Transitions in the Air Conditioning Market," led by Tim Fletcher and Geoff Godwin of Emerson. This workshop is designed to present the impact of the 2006 13 SEER minimum, the transition to R-410A, and modulated systems technology.

  • "Key Changes to Profitability and Growth in the Next Two Years," led by Jack Sinkler of Rheem Air Conditioning Division. This presentation will discuss the necessity of scrutinizing contractors' business practices and embracing new products and services in order to grow a profitable business.

  • "ASHRAE's Ventilation Standards Are Your Business," led by Drake H. Erbe and Bede W. Wellford of AirXchange Inc. This session is designed to provide an overview of ASHRAE Standards 62.1 and 62.2 and recent developments accordingly.

  • "Compelling, Telling and Selling - The Business of IAQ," led by Sandra Curtis of Lennox Worldwide Heating and Cooling. This workshop is designed to present the benefits of incorporating indoor air quality into business practices.

  • "Let MJ8 Increase Your Sales and Competitive Position," led by Stan Johnson of Stan's Heating and Air Conditioning, Richard Welguisz of The Trane Company, Jim Heritage of Energy Auditors, and Kenny Watson of Roscoe Brown Inc. This industry insider session will review recent Manual J 8 changes and how they can increase profitability, plus reveal a new MJ8 document that is simpler to teach, understand, and apply.

    Sidebar: Convention Has Special Slate For Business Issues

    AUSTIN, Texas -- As part of the educational program planned for ACCA's 2005 Conference & Indoor Air Expo, a special slate of business sessions will be held for contractors. Some of the more notable sessions include:

  • "Commercial Refrigeration Issues," designed to present the latest updates on the commercial refrigeration issues facing contractors this year and beyond.

  • "Selling Extended Warranties," led by a representative from Equiguard. This presentation is scheduled to discuss the private label risk management program "designed exclusively for ACCA members."

  • "Effective Problem Solving," led by Al Roach of Callahan/Roach & Garofalo. This workshop is designed to offer a process for solving problems permanently and eliminating problem-solving as a major time killer.

  • "How to Solve the Costliest HVAC Marketing Mistake," led by Adams Hudson of Hudson, Ink. This workshop will cover the closely guarded secrets of customer acquisition, customer retention, and maintenance agreements, said Hudson.

  • "How to Establish a Real In-House Training Program," led by Greg L. Goater of Isaac Heating & Air. This presentation features a company that established an intensive training program that offers year-round training programs and opportunities for their employees and will show how it's done.

  • "Cycle Time Reduction," led by Bill Napolitano of The Institute for Business Excellence. This session is designed to cover the strategy of speed as a major point to achieve competitive advantage.

  • "Customer Service and Developing People," led by Kenneth J. Kukla, Ph.D. This session is focused on the idea that consumers may not know the difference between HVAC systems, but they do know when they are treated with professionalism and quality service.

  • "Who Wags the Tail - You or Your Business? Practical Business Planning for Success," led by Vicki and John LaPlant of VLE Enterprises. This seminar is scheduled to discuss the importance of defining business focus and communicating that focus to employees.

  • "What the NATE Tests Tell," led by Patrick Murphy of NATE. This presentation will cover the dynamics of the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) test and how it demonstrates the need for technician education.

  • "Go or Grow - Business Valuation," led by John Garofalo of Callahan/Roach & Garofalo. This seminar is designed to help contractors explore both sides of the issue to reach a sound conclusion.

  • "Developing Career Paths," led by Mike Callahan of Callahan/Roach & Garofalo. This session is designed to show the essential steps in establishing clearly defined career paths for employees.

  • "The Contractor Activist: How Contractors Can Engage Lawmakers to Work for You," led by Chris Brown of ACCA. The purpose of this workshop is to give contractors the tools they need to promote their business and the industry to lawmakers.

  • "Technology Tools, Tips, and Techniques," led by Patrice Pruitt, CAE of ACCA North Texas. This session is designed to help contractors maximize Microsoft software used in daily business operations.

  • "How to Hire and Train a Million Dollar Salesperson," led by Terry Nicholson of Venvest Inc. This session focuses on hiring the right person and training them to set new sales records.

  • "Commercial Project Management," led by Tony Shaker. This presentation is designed to introduce and provide tools to implement the design, planning, procurement, and delivery of effective, profitable projects.

  • "Business Valuation and the Exit," led by Allen Oppenheimer of A.M. Oppenheimer Inc. This presentation will offer a step-by-step process of how to value a business and how to increase the future value of the business.

  • "Insider Secrets from the World's Most Successful Contractors," led by JP Maroney of People Builders Training Systems. This seminar is based on real-world, live interviews with some of the top contractors in ACCA.

    - Mark Skaer

    Publication date: 03/07/2005