Confession: I like reality television. And I am not talking about the critically acclaimed reality TV like “The Amazing Race” and “The Biggest Loser.” If I wanted to watch a fat guy sweat through multiple shirts I would have someone film me at the gym. I am partial to the bad reality television where real housewives from New Jersey yell at each other.

Finally, after many years, my personal enjoyment of reality television and my career have intersected. A casting director from Hollywood reached out to me recently to get the word out about a new show they were doing on CEOs of small businesses.

Give It Some Thought

At first I did not think much of the phone message as more pressing items were on my plate. However, upon further thought it seemed like a good idea to get the word out on the project. I have been in this industry for about 10 years, and over that decade I have been in thousands of conversations where people lament the lack of recognition, respect, and understanding of the HVAC industry by the general public. And everyone I talk to is right. The American consumer does not really know what you have to offer other than keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and we all know you offer more than that. They have no idea how much a tech gets paid, why they should want their kids to consider HVAC as a career choice, how you should keep your system maintained, or how much it should cost to replace a system.

I have heard these legitimate complaints for years, and here is an opportunity for someone in the HVAC field to tell the industry’s story. They are looking for a small business CEO with 50 or more employees. Of course, since the idea has not hit the small screen yet, the details were understandably vague. According to the casting agent, a major broadcast network “is conducting a nationwide search for a small business to participate in a new, groundbreaking, thought-provoking television series that encourages employee team building and problem solving in the workplace.”

Pitman Casting, who reached out to me, has been involved in such shows as “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” and “Celebrity Fit Club.”

Good for the Business

Being highlighted on national television would not just be good for the industry; it could also be good for your business. We are not talking “Dateline NBC” here, but rather a show that will highlight your business rather than take it down. How many years of your marketing budget would you need to spend to get this type of exposure? This is millions of dollars worth of advertising to a primetime, major broadcast network audience for free. Who do you think people in your area are going to call when their HVAC system dies a few weeks or months after watching you on television for an hour? Perhaps you will get a few more quality resumes delivered from people who are interested in working at a great business like the one you run. I guarantee you will create a buzz of excitement for your current employees.

And by the way, the company CEO will receive $25,000 for appearing on the show. Invest that money back in the business, take the wife for a great vacation, or share the money with your employees to improve company morale.

Don’t be nervous. The camera can only broadcast things it can see. If you run a reputable, honest business that treats customers and employees well — which a vast majority of HVAC contractors do — you have nothing to worry about.

For an application and more information, email I challenge you
to submit your information and teach the general public about the HVAC industry. If you do not feel it is worth your time, that is fine, just don’t saddle up to me at the next industry cocktail hour and complain about how none of your customers understand what you do.

Publication date: 8/19/2013 

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