In every profession there are some unsung heroes.

In football, it’s the people who play the offensive line, opening up holes for running backs and keeping opposing players from sacking their quarterback. In the corporate world, it’s the Information Systems (IS) team that keeps the communication systems up and running. In the restaurant business, it’s the dish and pot washers.

In the hvacr trade there are a few unsung heroes, like field techs and drain cleaners, who manage to keep customers comfortable while going about their business in a low-profile manner.

Then there are the hvacr teachers, who assemble curricula, sort through mounds of new data, get shunned by high school counselors, fret over whether their programs will continue to be funded, and still manage to create a learning environment for our most prized jewels: students who want to be a part of this great trade.

Just ask any contractor how important training is and they will tell you it ranks right at, or near, the top of their priorities. Good instr-uctors, trainers, are a valuable commodity and The News wants to recognize just how valuable they are. That is why we are proud to announce the first News “Hvacr Instructor of the Year” award.

We are looking for the “best-in-class” (OK, pun intended) and want your feedback. For the next two months, we will be accepting nominations for this award from students only.

We want nominees to be from an accredited vocational school, community college, four-year college, or apprenticeship program. The list excludes manufacturer-distributor trainers or seminar speakers.

Letters and entry ballots will be mailed out soon to more than 2,000 schools across North America. The News will be running an ad with the entry ballot periodically over the next two months. Students can find our full-page entry form on page 33. We also encourage nominations to be made online via our Web site,

The type and number of awards will be determined after all ballots have been received. Deadline for entry is June 16, 2000. We will announce the award winners and the site of the award presentation in the fall.

The News’ editorial staff knows the importance of an award program. Our recent “Best Contractor to Work For” contest was a resounding success. Winners now have an award to display, plus increased pride in what they do and the recognition they received for it.

The same philosophy rests behind the Hvacr Instructor of the Year award. We want teachers to take pride in what they do and what their schools are trying to accomplish. It is our hope that the winner(s) will be recognized in their communities, and business leaders will see how viable and important a good hvacr program is to their market.

News Training and Education Editor Gina Nowak will be monitoring entries and fielding questions regarding this first-ever Best Instr-uctor contest. You can reach her by e-mail ( or by phone (248-244-6433).

Once the deadline has passed, we will be making follow-up calls to verify the entries and ask some more specific questions. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned when searching for our winner(s).

If you feel strongly about the hvacr teaching profession and a particular instructor, make it a point to send in a ballot. We want these unsung heroes to get their day in the sun, because they certainly deserve it.

Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 248-244-6417; 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).