Want to know a good way to get free publicity for your HVACR business? Just have someone on staff that was, say, “an All-Conference receiver” the year his high school football team was, say, co-conference champion.

It worked for Dave Kistin, a contractor with National Metal Works of Loves Park, Ill. It seems that back in 1977, he was a student at Harlem High School in nearby Machesney Park. His skills as a receiver produced the All-Northern Illinois Conference honors and helped the team to a share of the conference title.

The year 2010 happens to be the 50th anniversary of the modern NIC conference, so the local newspaper, the Rockford Register Star, decided to draw attention to that in its annual special section previewing the upcoming high school football season.

The layout took on a retro-look reflecting the paper’s layout in 1960. Then as each of the 10 schools in the conference was profiled, there was a photo of a current player flanked by a couple of older folks who played on that team in past years.

Kistin was one of the guys pictured in the Harlem preview, even wearing a retro jersey from 30 some years ago. Most of the copy for each profile was on the upcoming season, but the cutlines did bring readers up to date on what the grads were doing these days, thus the mention of the HVAC business where Kistin works.

Among the 10 schools profiled, it was noted that some grads went on to play for National Football League teams in Cleveland, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego.

Kistin wasn’t in that list - but frankly if he is helping keep residences and businesses comfortable and energy efficient, he is doing a really good thing.

So, contractors, it is time to start surveying your staff and seeing who achieved a certain amount of greatness on the gridiron on especially good teams in past years and see if you can parlay that into some free publicity at this time of year, when high school football is so high on many minds.