While the summer is the busiest season for most of our contractor readers, for those of us covering the industry, the first three months of the year are the most jam-packed. This is when many of the associations and manufacturers have their conferences, trade shows, and conventions and we here at The NEWS cover as many as humanly possible.

This isn’t a bad deal as I get to spend weeks away from the Michigan weather in such places as Phoenix, Orlando, and San Antonio. But don’t tell the wife, she is under the impression it is really hard work.

However, as I have been told, they don’t pay me to enjoy the River Walk. So to prove that, here are some interesting items I have picked up during my travels:

• I believe New Jersey contractor and current Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Chairman Bobby Ring could run for public office. I have heard a lot of association president/chairman acceptance speeches over the years, but none as good as the one Ring gave in Orlando. I am sure he will do a great job for ACCA this year. I mean, if he can handle the “Dateline NBC” fallout, he can handle heading up ACCA.

However, on second thought, after seeing the video montage ACCA played before Ring’s speech, there might be a few pictures out there that would not help his campaign.

• I think 2013 is going to be the year the HVAC industry really bounces back from the economic downturn. I know people have heard this before, but it seems different this time. I have heard people say “I am cautiously optimistic” about 944 times over the last five years.

However, in my recent travels, there seems to be real enthusiasm for the coming year from contractors, distributors, and manufacturers. And the most recent Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) shipment numbers released back that up. Here is hoping everyone has record years.

• I am wondering if it is appropriate to offer cash for a fellow flyer to put their child in the overhead compartment. I am thinking about this because I am writing this column on a late-night flight back from Texas. If I wanted to hear kids screaming, I would stay at my house.

• I think the Chiller Systems Group is one of the most engaged and enthusiastic groups in the HVAC industry. Now, I am not going to lie, if I was on “HVAC Jeopardy,” the chillers category would be my last choice. That is some technical stuff that goes over my head at times.

But the Chiller Group took a deep dive into a lot of issues and the sharing/engagement of nearly all members was truly impressive. This crew was some of the sharpest people I have been around and their ability to help each other was inspiring. Check them out at www.chillergroup.com. See, they even have a great URL. However I will warn you that if you want to be a part of this group, there is a rigorous screening process.

• I think perhaps I should tone down my opening joke when I am on stage after I received a healthy mix of groans — and a few laughs — while hosting the ACCA/NEWS CEO Forum. ZoneFirst’s Dick Foster compared my performance to that of Seth McFarlane. While I took that as a compliment, it is fairly obvious that was not Foster’s intent.

• I think I am going to steal a fact I picked up at a meeting where it was said that the controls business is going to grow to $5 billion by 2018. Might be something some of our contractors want to look into.

• The amount of apps that are out there for the HVAC industry is amazing. It seems like every event I’ve attended, a group discussion broke out regarding which apps are used to make your life better. If you have not checked these out, do a search on your smartphone or tablet today.

Publication date: 4/1/2013