The following remarks were made regarding the guest column “Ignorance of Today’s Youth, Not Stupidity, Is Crippling the Trades,” written by Jack Tester, president and CEO of Nexstar Network, published July 23.

Greed Ahead! Stay Away!

I’m a 21-year veteran of the HVAC trade, and most of my experience is as a retrofit installer. The real reason our industry is hurting for labor is greed that has gone unchecked and infected every owner in the Portland metro area. Since I have been a victim of this greed, I feel it’s my duty to inform all youth to stay away from the HVAC trade for their protection. There are many people just like me spreading the word to all who will listen. My words are not intended to hurt, but hopefully change the industry and make it better for the next generation. Every year, it gets harder for installers. In my city, a journeyman installer is routinely asked to install full systems in an eight-hour period with an inexperienced helper. The install may include zoning and duct modifications, too. Owners could put two journeyman installers and a helper on such a large job, but then they wouldn’t make as much money. Every time a company attempts to be more efficient, it means the installers have more steps to finish the install. Sales people are given new tools every year to become more effective, but installers are continually indoctrinated, “You have to do more with less.” Installs are a commodity tallied by the hour to make sure profits are always above projections for the week because, according to the owners, if you don’t make $2 million more than last year, you’re not making any money. If you were the son or daughter of an installer asked to do these things daily for years on end, would you really want to follow in their footsteps? Could you suggest to anyone that HVAC would be a great career? Having a career in HVAC needs to be promising, otherwise it’s not attractive. Once an owner starts making a seven-figure income, they change and will do anything to make more. Too many people in this industry end up with nothing while the owners just take it all.

James Allen
Portland, Oregon


The following remarks were made regarding the article “#metoo Affects You, Too,” written by Amy Al-Katib, managing editor for The NEWS, published July 30.

Involve Women in HVAC

I just read your “#metoo” opinion piece in the July 30 issue of The News. You bring up some excellent points about getting female techs into the industry. Years ago — nearly 20 — I worked with NATE [North American Technician Excellence] through my job at Hickman + Associates public relations company. I remember suggesting we include some images of women techs in the NATE brochure. The response I got was, “We’d love to, but there are none.” I hope that through calls to action like yours, the industry continues to see the value in engaging women in the industry — beyond conferences and events at trade shows.

Susan Miller
Public Relations Director, 5 MetaCom


The NEWS wants to hear your thoughts. If you have any comments concerning our articles or other topics related to the HVAC industry, submit them at for possible inclusion in the Letters From Our Readers section of the magazine.


Publication date: 8/20/2018

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