Five contractors have earned the right to take a bow. In this issue,The NEWSis proud to honor the 2005 winners in our annual "Best Contractors to Work For" contest. The five winners stretch from Tacoma, Wash., to Ashland, Va. - and for the second year includes a Canadian contractor.

The criteria for winning included creating and maintaining a nurturing environment for employees, providing opportunities for growth and ongoing training, and recognizing and rewarding achievement. It is important to point out that an employee nominated the contractors for this honor.

Each contractor has the amazing knack to hire and keep quality employees. Each knows the importance of training, providing healthy benefits, keeping a safe work environment, and treating inside customers on the same level as outside customers.

The regional winners in the 2005 "Best Contractors To Work For" contest are:

WEST REGION - Air Systems Engineering Inc., Tacoma, Wash.;

EAST REGION - Howell's Heating And Air Conditioning, Ashland, Va.;

SOUTH REGION - Lyons Service, Bowling Green, Ky.;

CANADA REGION - Atlas Air Cli-mateCare, Mississauga, Ont.; and

NORTH CENTRAL REGION - A. Leechman Heating and Cooling, Des Moines, Iowa.

There are vast differences in the sizes of these companies and the markets they serve, but there is at least one common thread - the owners and managers at these companies realize the importance of their employees, and they know what it takes to keep them happy and productive.

For complete coverage on these award-winning companies, see the following stories in this issue:

  • "Leadership Starts At The Top"

  • "Growing Pains Don't Slow Down Contractor"

  • "Taking Time For Its Technicians"

  • "Contractor Goes Through A Culture Change"

  • "New Faces Bring More Spark To Contractor"

    Publication date: 01/23/2006