Have you looked around your shop lately? How about your offices or cubicles? Have you noticed anything that seems to look vaguely similar? Maybe the shading is a little more gray than brown or blond. Maybe the fast walk has been replaced by a slow, calculated pace. Maybe there’s more talk about visits to the doctor than visits to the gym.

I think I’ve dropped enough hints by now. I’m talking about the aging process - and how it is creeping into the HVAC contracting business. Some may argue that creeping is a good adjective, while others might say that the aging process long ago crept into their business.

Several years ago, I read that the average age of HVAC service technicians was 41 years old. I don’t know what the average age of HVAC contracting business owners is, but if their employees average 41 years of age it is a good bet that the owners are slightly older.

Let me explain that I have the utmost respect for our mature business owners because I am in the same age bracket. I am a baby boomer that technically could retire in about seven years. But I have no plans on doing that, even if I win the lottery. I like working too much. And I suppose that a lot of our older business owners like what they do too, or they would have exited long ago. We need these people to train our future generation of HVAC contractors.

Which leads me to the question: Who are these next generation of business owners, the so-called “young guns of HVAC?”


I sent out e-mails recently, looking to recruit some HVAC contractors or managers in the 25-35 age bracket. I am interested in identifying some of these young people because without a doubt, people in this age bracket represent the future of HVAC. They hold the key to whether the HVAC trade will continue to be looked down upon by the general public as a second-class profession - worthy of only the votech students who couldn’t cut it in college and scorned by the media as people of less-than-acceptable business integrity.

These are people who still understand the hard work ethic yet strive to keep up with the latest in management and technology trends. These are people who have decided to embark on owning their own businesses because of their experience in HVAC or maybe because their business is family-owned and they are the next in line. Perhaps these are people with absolutely no background in HVAC who see it as a rewarding and profitable profession.

Whatever the reason, I feel it is as good a time as ever to embrace these people and ask them all to stand up and be accounted for. By identifying who they are and learning about their business practices, maybe other people in all HVAC businesses - be they contractors, distributors, manufacturers, or educators - could learn something they might not know, that a fresh pair of eyes has seen.

Think of how many times you have learned something from your children. I know. It happens all of the time with me.


With the help of these young guns, I’d like to assemble a series of articles on what they see as the biggest obstacles to starting their own businesses and how they plan to stay ahead of the competition in the coming years. I also want to tap into their brains and learn what gets them excited about HVAC.

Maybe it’s the changing technology or maybe it’s because they make a difference in how people live comfortably and safely. Maybe they like the interactive nature of the HVAC business or maybe they just like being on a power trip and running the whole show.

This is the part where I ask for your help, to close the sale so to speak. I’d like to hear from some of the young guns in the HVAC trade. If you currently own a business or plan to own a business and are in the 25-35 age range (but I’ll fudge on that), please contact me. If you are a member of a management team with plans to move up the ladder or own your own business some day and fall into that age bracket, please contact me.

In return, I’ll tellNEWS’readers your stories. And I may even throw in a visit to your business, too. You are the future of our trade and I’d like everyone to know that the future is bright.

Publication date:03/26/2007