Dominick Guarino, the chairman and CEO of National Comfort Institute has a pretty good saying that all contractors should follow: “If you don’t measure, you’re just guessing.”

It really rings true. It should be a good rule of thumb for many facets of an HVAC business — marketing, employee performance, installations. How do you know if something is working if the numbers don’t confirm it? Is that customer calling because of your SEO work, the ad in the local newspaper, or by seeing your trucks buzz around town?

Even us folks in the publishing world follow that logic. We are constantly checking our online metrics to see what our readers are clicking on, which shows us what people are most interested in reading about. We also do a Readership Study a few times a year where actual readers tell us what they recall reading from a specific issue and what articles they found most useful. Our goal is always to write something that helps people in their business.

The latest results had our new products section being one of the most useful sections of the magazine for our readers. That came as no surprise to me as The NEWS has been getting similar results from our new products section for as long as I have been working here.

In the writing world, this is what we call an easy transition ...

I want to announce that The NEWS will once again be presenting the Dealer Design Awards this summer. Every July, the magazine highlights the best HVAC equipment that has been introduced over the last year. This contest is a little different than your normal product awards showcase. This is because the winners are chosen by a panel of independent HVAC contractors who have generously given their time to study up on the products. Gold, silver, and bronze Dealer Design Award recognition will be awarded in 13 categories. The categories include everything from commercial equipment to hand tools.

The judges rate the products on ease of installation and use, maintenance, application/repair, reliability, and competitive difference.

This information should interest both our contractor and manufacturer readers. For our manufacturers, this is a great opportunity to get your product noticed and recognized. It is indeed a high honor that is worthy of display. I can’t tell you how many times I have visited a manufacturer and seen a Dealer Design Award being proudly displayed in the office.

The Dealer Design Award submission process is now open, with a final deadline of April 9. Any product that was released between Jan. 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018, is eligible for the competition. To enter the contest, visit

For our contractor readers, we provide the opportunity to get a close-up look at the items you are most interested in — cutting edge products. Please consider being a judge in this year’s contest. Being a judge would offer you a first look at the newest products from manufacturers this year. It also, obviously, allows your voice to be heard. We will try to match you with the product category you are most interested in judging.

If you are interested in being a judge for the Dealer Design Awards, just send me an email stating your interest.

Good luck to all those who enter!