Mike Murphy

Charles Barkley and Dwayne Wade, representatives of past and present basketball fame, have no doubt created a sensation of sorts for T-Mobile telephone cellular service. The television commercials are among my current favorites. I don’t know if the duo’s efforts are selling phone plans for the company, but it’s viral. The commercials appear all across the Internet - from You Tube to blogs about commercials - with people talking about these guys and maybe even about the phone plan.

Which, of course, in the same mode as the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where any word can be associated with a Greek origin, I am now afforded a nice segue from basketball to HVAC.

Many contractors have peer groups, advisors, or a board of directors to help steer the ship from time to time. The guidance provided by trusted business friends must be invaluable - everyone needs to occasionally rise up from the trees in order to survey the forest around them. So, who would be in your Fave Five?

If you could name any five people associated with the HVAC industry that you would have in your trusted group, who would those people be? Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have already added some names to your personal advisory list, but if you are going to dream, dream big, but limit the list to five.


Here are a couple of Fave Fives fromThe NEWSguy. The first is a list of successful people I would like to meet, and why.

Muhammad Ali:In high school, I was one of only three young men in Phys Ed class to pick Smokin’ Joe Frazier over Ali in the March 1971 “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden. The rest of the class duck-walked for a solid hour while the three of us taunted and laughed at them. However, I never bet against the Louisville Lip after that, who after all, is simply The Greatest.

Henry Clay:The Great Compromiser spoke eloquently in the Halls of Congress and negotiated some of the most meaningful changes the country had ever seen. He was a leading advocate of programs for modernizing the economy. In 1957, a Senate committee chaired by John F. Kennedy named Clay as one of the five greatest senators in American history.

John Y. Brown:A former governor and the man who turned Colonel Harland Sander’s secret recipe into the highly successful KFC chain of restaurants. (Plus, the guy married Phyllis George, the 1971 Miss America!)

Abraham Lincoln:He served as the 16th President of the United States of America, 1861–1865, coincidentally the same years that Jefferson Davis served as the only president of the Confederate States of America. Born a mere 90 miles apart, the former died to become an American symbol, the latter denied the opportunity to ever serve again.

Johnny Depp:An accomplished and versatile actor; I wonder if he and I were both at his uncle’s party together.


Now, think about who from this industry you would most want to have as your advisors. For me, it would be:

Thomas “Doc” Rusk (deceased):During my second year in this industry, Doc sat at a breakfast table with me and gave me the best advice I’ve ever heard, “When you ask someone to hire you for a job, tell that person all you want is an opportunity to show what you can do.”

Lee Rosenberg:Rosenberg Indoor Comfort, San Antonio. Calming, intuitive, knows how to make a business sing, and knows how to teach others to think. One of only two people I called when I changed careers.

Paul Stalknecht:Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Washington, D.C. Solid, grounded in determination like a bulldog, and can pinpoint an internal problem that many will never see until it’s too late. You gotta’ trust a guy in a yellow pickup truck.

David Allen:McKinstry Company, Seattle. This man has got to be unmatched at brainstorming the possible from the most unlikely connections.

Matt Michel:Service Roundtable, Flower Mound, Texas. When it comes to generating a prolific flow of ideas that can stoke the flames and ignite a business, you’d want to bottle his drive and pour it down your company’s throat.

So, who’s in your Five? I’ll put mine up against anyone’s. But, if you can come up with something really good, you might see it somewhere down the road.

Send me your Five.

Murphy’s Law:Join a peer group.

Publication date:06/16/2008