In my travels to industry events, I often find myself having a meal with a few HVACR contractors. It’s a great way to find out what is happening on the ground of the industry, which I can’t do sitting in my office at our corporate headquarters.

Contractors are polite folks, so they inevitably ask me about the publishing industry. I usually give them a brief rundown of my ever-changing industry, which includes the gradual move to digital products.

While they shake their heads in agreement and ask a few questions, I’m quite sure what they’re thinking: Sure, the publishing industry is changing — like every business — but not nearly at the pace HVAC is changing. Technology is moving at a breakneck pace with SEER levels rising and the smart home on everyone’s mind; the government is constantly regulating the HVAC industry without concern of how the implementation will affect businesses and consumers; and, finally, the way contractors sell to customers is changing with social media, review sites, and online research. But, by all means, tell me more about needing to sell an online ad instead of a print one.


It has never been more important for HVAC contractors to seek out education. And I am not just talking about technology training, although that is important. Contractors need to continue to be educated on the best-selling practices, the best way to market the business in this new world, and many other items that are imperative to their businesses.

May I offer a suggestion? For the first time in two decades, a new conference and tradeshow is being launched for residential contractors. In the interest of full disclosure, The NEWS is involved through a partnership with Service Roundtable. The event is called Service World Expo, and it will take place Oct. 26-27 in Las Vegas. Topics to be highlighted at the event include technology integration, business growth, and marketing strategies, to name a few. Former ACCA chairman Larry Taylor will serve as the event’s emcee, and many other presenters, such as Adams Hudson, Derek Daly, and Kenny Chapman, are scheduled to speak.

And it is not just solely focused on HVAC. It is inclusive to plumbing and electrical contractors as, in this day and age, more and more contractors are branching out to cover all these trades under one roof.

“We will enhance the traditional contractor seminar and trade show experience with a new, more robust, model that will become the industry standard,” said Matt Michel, CEO, Service Nation Inc.

The group will also reinvent the typical trade show experience, extending network opportunities inside the exhibit hall with a unique floor plan and enhanced user and exhibitor experience.

“Our goal is to get contractors talking, discovering, and learning so they leave excited about products and services that can catapult their businesses forward. Instead of asking contractors to visit the show floor out of obligation, we want to make it fun, entertaining, and informative,” Michel said.

I did not intend this to be a hard sell — although it is beginning to sound like I did. If contractors are interested in attending the event, visit to register.

If contractors choose not to attend, it’s imperative for them to get their education somewhere. I do not think the speed of change in the HVACR industry is going to slow down any time soon. Contractors’ employees need an up-to-date and educated leader to navigate them through this time of change.

Publication date: 7/18/2016

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