November 11 was Veteran’s Day. It is an important day to honor those who’ve served in the military to defend this country and keep it free.

Of course, one day of observance can’t possibly payback the men and women who’ve given so much. Sadly, after the Facebook posts and the free meals at average restaurants, most of America will go back to their lives.

Some in the HVACR industry have veterans on their minds all year long, as they are using these individuals to solve a big problem in the industry — finding a talented workforce.

Comfort Systems USA is a Houston-based HVAC commercial contracting company that is utilizing the talent base the military provides.

“Finding an ample supply of qualified technicians has been an issue for our industry for years,” said Brian Lane, president and CEO, Comfort Systems USA.

“We recognized there was an untapped wealth of highly trained, detail-oriented talent. Although we might have to train veterans in commercial HVAC, they already had the kind of committed, focused background we were looking for. In the not-too-distant future, we can see a point where a larger share of hires are veterans.”

For as long as I have been in this industry, I have heard contractors lament the lack of a qualified workforce. They cite people who lack training, motivation, and dedication. That could not be farther from the truth when talking about U.S. military veterans.

Comfort Systems USA is quick to point out they do not hire people just because they are veterans. The fact is, in its experience, almost all the veterans the company interviews are detail-oriented, organized, and disciplined, which are attributes found in high-quality employees.

Things have been going so well for Comfort Systems USA they launched a veteran recruitment website this year on Veteran’s Day. The early returns have been outstanding.

And Comfort Systems USA is not the only organization looking to veterans to work in HVAC. I ran into Dave Kyle, president, Trademasters Service Corp., Lorton, Virginia, at the recent Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) meeting and he told me his company was making the same push. He had even coming up with a catchy title — V to E (Veterans to Energy). Kyle believes the drawing down of the military and the expanding need for HVAC workers seems to be a match.

The HVACR Workforce Alliance also strongly supports the addition of veterans into the HVACR field by striving to connect military occupational specialties with highly desired HVACR skills and traits. points out four benefits of hiring military personnel, including loyalty to the team, reliable work ethic, motivated productivity, and comprehensive communication skills. Do you think you could find a place in your company for an individual with those attributes?

In addition, there are also more than a few tangential benefits. These include everything from federal tax benefits to receiving positive public relations in your local community.

As contractors look to expand or simply replace a worker, those with U.S. military experience may have just the skills and attitude you’re looking for.

Publication date: 11/24/2014 

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!