Glenn Frey, huh? Who is next on HVACR's stage? Don Henley? Joe Walsh, maybe? Ted Nugent, perhaps? Whoever the musical entertainer is, I'm all for it. And, when all other industry organizations and associations – and that's from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) all the way to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) - join the latest HVACR convention trend, well, I'll believe that when I see it.

While I'd like to believe that some industry group would sign up, say, Bob Dylan or Willie Nelson to perform at the conclusion of their respective convention next year, here's betting that it may not happen in 2007. In fact, it probably will not. What I am sure of, though, is this: The 2006 Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) convention got it right.

Not only was that annual meeting full of awesome information, robust seminars, powerful networking, and contractor synergy - look for full coverage of SMACNA's convention in a future issue ofThe NEWS - SMACNA outdid itself the last evening with, per usual, a to-die-for sit-down dinner and dance, with former Eagle singer/composer Glenn Frey, in person, providing the music to shake and shimmy.

Is having a musical entertainer important or needed in the big convention picture? Probably not. However, it does add a great finishing touch. And, that's something to note.

One could say the same about some of the resorts chosen for industry-related conventions. Did SMACNA have to host its annual gathering at the beautiful confines of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in thankfully warm Phoenix? Answer: No. But, again, having it at such a gorgeous spot made it ... well, memorable. And, again, that's something to note.

Getting back to SMACNA's grand finale, it was - for lack of a better word - heart-warming - to see attendees on the dance floor doing their none-too-shabby movin' and groovin' best, gyrating to the music that Frey originally composed and sang in the '70s and '80s. The Baby Boomers among the bunch - and there were certainly a fair share of those - could not contain themselves. They sang the words to "Tequila Sunrise," hummed to "Lyin' Eyes," and/or tapped their feet and/or hands to "The Heat Is On." Many, of course, did all of the above - and more.

Translation: It was a memorable conclusion to, what most attendees will now believe to be, a memorable convention.


Now, hosting class-act musical performers or entertainers is not new for SMACNA. The same can be said of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA). For instance, at MCAA's annual meeting in magnificent Maui this year, Kenny Loggins hit the stage for a 90-minute-plus post-banquet performance. And, yes, like Frey, he sang his top hits over the years. Like SMACNA's grand exit, MCAA's final convention night was very memorable.

And, how could it not be? Unless you totally dislike the singing talents of Frey and/or Loggins, it's hard to be disgruntled leaving a SMACNA or MCAA convention. I'd say it is the familiar music and singers that leave that lasting impression.

This is not to say that the content of these respective conventions or where these respective meetings are usually held are not top-notch. Not at all. Each is top-notch in each and every way. It's just that people not only remember first impressions, but they also remember that last impression. So, if convention participants leave with a smile after listening to Frey, it's all good...right?

In my estimation, having a class-act musical performer is the correct way to go. (No local yokel bands, such as Harry Hunter and His Hogs, please.)


I'd venture to guess that the young children and teenagers who accompanied their respective parents to Phoenix had to leave somewhat impressed. They had to admit that maybe being in the HVACR industry is not all that bad. Talk about a good recruiting tool, huh?

Maybe the yearly International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition should seriously consider concluding with a live show from, perhaps, Eminem. You know, draw in tomorrow's workforce pool to a night of entertainment and then give them the lowdown regarding this great (and silent) industry, either before or after Marshall Mathers' gig. Why not?

And, why stop there? Why not commission country singer Garth Brooks to create an overall theme song for this industry? Hey, if guys like Bruce Springsteen can produce musical scores and songs for Hollywood movies, surely The Boss could bang out a memorable cooling and heating beat.

And, did not Elton John repackage his song "Candle In The Wind" when Princess Diana was killed in a tragic auto accident? He could collaborate with his usual accompanying lyric man Bernie Taupin to put new words to one of their collective hits. Hmmm, I can hear the new lyrics to "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" right now:

It's getting late. And I need my air conditioner.
Ma, tell me when the contractor gets here.
It's seven o'clock and I want to be cool.
Want to get a belly full of beer.

OK, OK. The revision needs a lot more work, but you get the idea.

Publication date: 10/23/2006