It happened overnight.

When The ACHR NEWS first started recognizing the younger generation of the HVAC industry by establishing a yearly Top 40 Under 40 list, I was technically eligible to be on such a list. Of course, nobody nominated me. But that is certainly all right. I do things that do not show up in the box score.

But as the years have gone by since its inception, I have quickly become the old dude. You know who I am talking about. They guy who has to do math when he is attempting to figure out his age because it has not been memorized (or it has just been forgotten). The guy who makes a reference to 1997 only to have someone on his staff tell them they had not been born yet. The guy who talks about home improvement projects whenever he gets together with his friends. A lot of you know what I mean.

However, what has not changed since we started the Top 40 Under 40 list is the importance of young people in the HVAC industry. The “greying” of the HVAC industry has been well documented. I am not sure if that is what Jerry Garcia was singing about — but it certainly applies.

It only makes sense that when one HVAC professional retires from the industry, we need another to replace them. And in the near future, there will be many retirements.

The industry does not just need people. It needs smart, hardworking individuals that can build upon the foundation of the HVAC industry that has already been established.

Do you know someone under 40 who is doing great work in the industry? Nominate them at It does not matter whether that person is a contractor, technician, engineer, teacher, distributor, or employed by a manufacturer.

The contest is open to those working in every aspect of the industry. Each channel of the distribution channel could use young talent. The nominee just has to excel in the workplace and give you a blank stare when you mention the TV show “Alf.”

Perhaps you know a technician that can solve any issue and is oftentimes requested by homeowners. Maybe you know a young gun who has gone out on their own and started their own HVAC company to great success. There could be an engineer that is the sharpest on staff and deserves to be recognized. Those are the types of individuals you should be nominating.

In addition to giving some great people some much-needed recognition, this contest can help your business. The younger generation loves to be recognized, and this is a fantastic opportunity to reward these individuals for their hard work and fresh ideas. One of the goals of highlighting the youth of this industry is to help recruit more talented individuals to the trades. The next time you are interviewing a 20-something applicant, you could mention that your staff features one of the up-and-coming individuals in the HVAC industry. Or perhaps more than one.

When you do nominate your person, I will give you a friendly hint. On the entry form, please share as much information as possible. You know these individuals much more than we do. The more we know about your nominee, the more reasons we have to put them on the list. This is one of those rare occurrences where bragging is encouraged. Those chosen for the list will be featured in the Aug. 23 issue of The ACHR NEWS, with both a picture and a write-up.

I am excited to see who is nominated, and I hope you are as excited to share these young employees’ achievements with the rest of the industry.