Farsightedness Is Needed

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mike Murphy’s column “Labor Isn’t Short, Just Heavy Handed,” May 7.]

I am concerned about getting new blood into the HVAC trade, too. I have been interviewing contractors this week, discussing what we can do to attract new qualified technicians. Mike Murphy hit the nail on the head.

A contractor I spoke with yesterday has been hiring Bosnians that have immigrated here to St. Louis. He could not say enough good things about the skills, professionalism, and dedication they show on a day-to-day basis. He made the comment:

“For too many years, I hired guys that looked like me, and they many times did not work out. I can’t believe I did not see the opportunity before, and be more open-minded in my hiring decisions.”

He was not being bigoted, just myopic.

These first-generation American citizens are looking for a better life for their families. We are a trade that desperately needs new, younger skilled workers. Seems like a natural match to me.

Tim Burke
Emerson Climate Technologies
St. Louis, Mo.

Mining for Copper Isn't Alarming?

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mark Skaer’s story “Another Season of A/C Thefts?” May 21.]

Mark Skaer’s opening remark [on copper prices] in the article left me cold. You don’t think $4 per pound for copper [processed copper, cut to length and deburred] is alarming? Copper was trading at under $1 per pound in recent memory.

OEMs are jumping through hoops trying to convert copper products to steel. This is a very, very serious problem that’s upsetting the dynamics of the HVAC industry.

The gutted condensing unit on the front page of the May 21 edition ofThe NEWSsays it all - they took the copper but left the compressor.

Dan Beaubien
Kraftube Inc.
Reed City, Mich.

Don't Broadcast the Price of Copper

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mark Skaer’s story “Another Season of A/C Thefts?” May 21.]

The local newspaper ran an article on the front page of the Local & State section of the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago about copper thefts. It featured a large picture of a policeman in front of a huge mound of scrap copper at a local scrap yard. The article stated that the thieves could to get $65 for a coil from an a/c unit. I cringed when I read that statement.

Well you know what happened? Every wanna-be thief in town that did not know about the copper market does now. We replaced approximately $20,000 worth of condensers the next week.

Mike Creamer
Pro-Air Engineering Inc.
Austin, Texas

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Publication date:06/11/2007