The NEWS Honors HVAC Innovation in Product DesignWe take pride here at The NEWS in our ability to print any and all information that can help an HVACR contractor improve business and make more money. We figure this would be the only reason you take time out of your busy schedule to read our periodical. This can include anything from trends pieces to business management articles to updates on legislation that affects the industry and more.

However, there is one topic that always scores highest in any evaluation we do on ourselves. And, despite us editors patting ourselves on the back for a well-written innovative piece of journalism, write-ups of new products are what our audience enjoys the most. This is a product-driven industry, and, if the recent AHR Expo in Chicago taught us anything, it is the industry produces a lot of new products year-in and year-out. Contractors need to keep abreast of all these products so they can service their customers well.

John Conrad, former publisher of The NEWS, undoubtedly realized this when he created the Dealer Design Awards (DDAs) more than a decade ago. The DDA contest recognizes products based on their impact to the contractor. In the years since, we’ve recognized the best products in the HVACR industry. Last year, we recognized products such as the TXV Connect Kit by Emerson Climate Technologies Inc.; the HVAC VN Nitrogen Purging/Brazing/Testing Regulator from Western Enterprises, a Scott Fetzer company; and VenturePro Software from

The best part of this contest is it highlights the best products the HVACR industry has to offer in the eyes of contractors. And that is what really matters, right?

I believe it’s the only HVACR product contest that is judged by contractors. This means factors such as reduced installation times, reliability, and maintenance take on added importance. Consumer features on many products are easily recognized and glamorized, but what about the time, effort, and expense that goes into designing a product that is “dealer desirable”?

If you are reading this and are interested in being a part of the Dealer Design Awards, there is still time. Manufacturers have until March 30 to enter their products into the competition. We have 15 product categories, so there is a place for each and every product. The competition is open to all manufacturers in the HVACR industry with products needing to be introduced to the market after Jan. 1, 2014, and before April 2015. If manufacturers are interested in entering the contest, they should go to

Entrants are asked to keep submissions and documentation succinct to make it as easy as possible for judges to recognize the products’ positive attributes.

For our contractor readers, you get to be the judges. One of the perks of being a Dealer Design judge is getting access to a plethora of information on many new products that were introduced in the last year. We have had a great group of judges in the past, and we are appreciative of that. However, we can always use some new blood.

If you are interested in becoming a judge, please email me at

Publication date: 3/2/2015 

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