I’ve said it more than once, but I’ll say it again: This industry is far, far too fragmented.

Don’t get me wrong. Contractor, manufacturer, and wholesale/distributor associations and organizations show a heckuva lot more unity today than, say, 10 years ago. Case in point: the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA’s) annual meeting, which has not only grown larger over the past few years, but continues to draw contractors and manufacturers closer together (in my opinion). Steps are definitely going in the right direction overall, though those steps might be too slow for my blood. (Patience is a virtue, right?)

While I see unity increasing, there is still room for improvement. For instance, it’s good to see that HVAC Excellence now offers a national educators and trainers conference. At its second annual event in March 2008, Dr. Patricia Stanley, deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, will be among the featured speakers.

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), on the other hand, has been holding annual gatherings for HVACR instructors for several years, and other associations - including ACCA, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association (PHCC) - are now in ARI’s fold, helping and sponsoring the annual gathering of teachers.

Just a thought, but wouldn’t it be grand for all HVACR instructors to have one, unifiedgathering, rather than debating on which conference one should attend? It makes sense to me, but may never happen.