Tackling Questions of the DayIn the Editors’ Blogs section of Sept. 1, Mark Skaer asked 9 questions. These are my answers, for what they are worth.
1.[On wanting your children to work in the trade] My son does work in the trade, but I’ve made it clear to him that there are easier ways to make a living. It’s not for everybody, but I love it.
2.[On why so many HVACR-related skilled trades jobs are going unfilled] Let’s see, you need the technical expertise of an engineer, the physical stamina of a football player, the flexibility of a yoga instructor, the bedside manner of a family doctor, mechanical aptitude of an auto mechanic, be willing to endure working conditions of an oil rig worker, and collect the wages of a mailman. Does that sound like a great deal to you?
3.[On why there’s so few women in the skilled trades] Why don’t you ask the women? I’m a little afraid to answer.
4.[On making carbon monoxide and smoke detectors mandatory in all U.S. households] Why don’t we make helmets mandatory for walking? I’m sure that would save a few lives too. But just because something can save lives doesn’t justify making it a legal mandate. I’m a big fan of the old-fashioned idea of personal choice.
5.[On whether global warming really exists] I’m sure it does, but why? Whether or not our reduction of ozone-depleting chemicals will significantly impact global warming, I just think it’s a no-brainer to try hard not to pollute our environment. Hey, you wouldn’t urinate in your own swimming pool, would you?
6.[On whether or not the Green Mechanical Council will take off] The Green what?
7.[On the scarcity of young people entering the skilled trades] See answer to No. 3.
8.[On how to get more young people into the HVACR industry] I would say try to change the image of the industry, but that would probably just be hiding the fact that this is a job that involves a lot of work for an average amount of pay. Most kids are probably looking for a little work for a lot of pay, but I’m not sure how realistic that is. I think our high school teachers and counselors need to be more realistic with students, but if teachers really believed that trade work is a desirable career, why are they teachers? It seems to me, people who went to college will generally tell kids they should go to college. And teachers all went to college.
9.[On why ductwork leakage is so common in the United States] I put the blame at the feet of the contractors. Employees can become very complacent and lazy. The boss needs to verify that work is being performed properly, but how many do? And putting guys on rough-ins who don’t know what they’re doing is a formula for disaster. I know, I used to be one of them!
Dix Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.
Proceed With CareMike Murphy’s green editorial [“Green Requires Risk Management” Aug. 25, 2008] had several insightful thoughts: Fresh green products/concepts must be understood per each application and performance tested for energy usage/conservation. Also, he pointed out that the risk(s) associated with aggressive approaches to green enhancement claims must be borne by the industry: designers/specifiers; manufacturers; and the tail on the dog, contractors.
We are learning solutions on a daily basis here at Metro Mechanical, but subscribe to Murphy’s advice: “Step back, assess the risk, and move forward more cautiously.”
In the meantime, we are purchasing hybrid technology vehicles for the sales and project management force. Every little bit helps.
Executive Vice President
Metro Mechanical Inc.
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