HVAC and chill? It doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it, but the industry may soon have a documentary on the popular streaming site.

We are getting ahead of ourselves, though. The premiere of the documentary just happened a few weeks ago in Austin at the Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) conference. It is called “Hot Commodity,” and it is a recruitment documentary for the HVACR industry.

The documentary, commissioned by the HARDI Foundation in partnership with member donors, aims to bring awareness of the HVACR and distribution industries to younger demographics as a tool for recruitment. The idea for the project came as a result of a video titled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” which was presented at the annual conference last year in Las Vegas. That video showcased the legacy stories of three HARDI distributors and was produced by filmmakers Bryce and Jessie Suriano through their company, Muddy Trails. Muddy Trails also filmed “Hot Commodity.”

“This project has been such a unique and fun undertaking,” said Chris DeBoer, HARDI director of marketing and sales. “There are so many details that you constantly think about. Coming up with a name for this was no different. The group brainstormed for several weeks before deciding on something that we felt worked for all audiences. ‘Hot Commodity’ speaks not only to how precious finding young talent is, but also to the opportunities that are out there for people. It also doesn’t hurt that we were able to reference temperature.”

It was very well-received when it was shown at the conference. I think the most important part of this project is that it was not directed at those in the industry but rather people — specifically young people — deciding on a career.

All too many times, this industry is “preaching to the choir” on this topic. I have been in countless meetings and conversations where industry leaders are talking about what people should know about working in this industry. The problem is getting the message out.

Kudos to HARDI for finding an interesting way to begin speaking outside of the HVAC walls. This documentary tells the story of the industry and how fantastic some of the participants are. It highlights the stories that are often told to us in one-off conversations at industry events.

The documentary does not just focus on the jobs everyone thinks about when thinking HVAC — sales, dispatching, and technicians. Job functions, such as marketing and e-commerce, were also highlighted. It really gives people outside the industry an idea of how many paths there are to take inside the industry.

And while a lot of work was done to get the film to this point, a great deal of work is still ahead. HARDI has some funds set aside to market the film. The goal is for the organization to work with a distribution agency to find a place for the documentary starting in early 2019.

“Hopefully, we can get this on an Amazon or Netflix,” DeBoer said. “These are high hopes, but with having members of Congress and the Department of Labor Statistics in the documentary, we certainly hope we have some credibility with this.”

The marketing council for HARDI is putting together a special task force that will help with phase two of this initiative. The organization has a good product, but needs it to be distributed. Come to think of it, that tends to be what HARDI does best.

“We have been complaining for years that we can’t get good quality young people into our industry,” said Troy Meachum, HARDI member. “We have now identified and are putting together a project that I think will effectively reach hundreds, if not thousands, of potential young people that are looking for careers and let them know that we have a viable, attractive, exciting, and highly technical industry they can become a part of and make a good living and have a great career.”

Publication date: 12/24/2018

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