No. The dream I have is not nearly as noble as the one this headline brings to mind; though it is a favorite among a number of speeches I have studied. The dream of which I speak is a true sleeper, spawned in the early morning hours before the first cup of coffee has weaved its magic. Perhaps you have had such a dream, one that you wish you could have over and over because it had begun your day on such a happy and positive note. And, more importantly, it is a dream that you can conjure up at any time, as if it had happened this morning - it is that vibrant in your mind.

During this week of our nation’s Independence Day celebration (and the proverbial hottest day of the year, which is good for business) - a little dreaming of what this industry could be.

But, my dream first. Then, you can take a nap.

As dreams often jump from one chronologically and physically impossible sequence after another, so does my trek begin in the Cumberland Mountains of southwest Virginia. Descending on a leisurely drive through a summer-shaded mountain pass, one switchback after another, the car slows in a bottom as I greet the lone passerby in another vehicle. The other driver is a nondescript acquaintance who said with a surprised look on her face, “I never knew you liked the mountains.”

Next, I am swooshing along miles and miles of rugged snow-covered mountain terrain near Aspen, Colorado. Two skiers cross my path on a downhill run and I discover them to be old childhood friends. One says to me, “I never knew you liked to ski.”

Next, I have a strange enlightening and sense of euphoria, realizing that two people, one who knew me very well, and one barely at all, have now peeled back a layer. They uncovered something that they never expected.

Enough of this silly dream.

The purpose of this, I think, is that it is fun to surprise people with who we really are instead of who they think we are. Now, on to your dream.

You walk into a stately, paneled boardroom where the office building owner escorts you to a plush leather chair at the head of the table, and then asks you, “How can we increase worker productivity?” You have the answer.

A concerned father invites you into his elegant home and offers you something to drink while you wait two minutes for the mother to join the discussion. She asks, “Do you have any suggestions for our daughter’s asthma?” You have the answer.


What usually happens is that a building maintenance supervisor calls to complain that the offices are too hot, and tells you to get your butt down there if you expect to keep the account.

Mom and dad are late for an appointment you’ve been trying to set up for two weeks, and mom cuts out early.

Regardless of the realities of life, you, the HVAC expert, really do have many of the answers customers are looking for - they just don’t always know where to look.


It has been written that we are in fact three people: who we think we are, who others think we are, and who we really are.

The HVAC contracting community is often prone to thinking, “I’m just …” The immediate limitation of pigeon-holing oneself as “just” anything can serve to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Consumers usually think of HVAC contractors as people who install and repair heating and air conditioning equipment, a noble charge in itself, but that is often all they know.

The men and women of the HVAC profession are really people who can solve problems. True, sometimes the solution can be as simple as adjusting a thermostat, but the problems range from poor IAQ to the proliferation of mold.

I have heard contractors refer to themselves as house doctors, comfort specialists, and environmental consultants. Perhaps it could be said that these people are simply living in an egotistical dream world. Dream on.

The world needs more people who think of the challenges in this world, and of the change that will alter its course. On July 4, 1776, 56 men put their names on a document that was full of dreams.

If you can help customers peel back the layers in the HVAC profession, it is likely they will uncover unexpected solutions to problems they never knew they had.

Publication date:07/02/2007