Goodbye, 2001 — or, should I say, good riddance! Hello, 2002.

With a new year, comes new hope. And here’s hoping at least two of my three wishes come true in 2002.


Contractors begin insisting that their communities teach hvacr classes at the high school level.

That’s not asking too much. Instead of complaining, it’s time contractors get off of their collective duffs and meet with their local school boards, principals, and guidance counselors. Without getting involved, nothing is going to happen or change. Seriously. And if nothing happens, well…

The hvacr industry is a $60 billion industry worldwide, employing 3 million people. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 17% increase in the need for hvacr mechanics and installers by 2006. Look at the calendar. That’s only four years away.

The only way to meet this demand is to get young people interested in this field. It’s not going to come from the “older crowd,” either. The Department of Labor estimates the aging labor force group (ages 45-64) will grow faster than any other age group in the next decade. Therefore, in order to get the estimated 219,000 technicians needed by 2007, contractors are going to have to take action and get involved.

How bad is it? The Department of Labor estimates there has been a 71% decline in enrollment in hvacr training programs from 1982 to 1996. And, the employment picture does not seem to be getting any brighter.

The News is not going to sit tight in 2002. With help from local contractors in the Detroit, MI area, we plan to put our money where our mouth is. Look for more regarding this in our January 14 issue.


An industry-wide hvacr three-on-three basketball tournament is established.

Why not? Several years ago, B&B Air, Inc., of Indianapolis, IN, held a local tournament and 65 contractors participated. There was talk then that such a tournament could be held across the country.

I’d like to rekindle that flame.

The rules can be simple: the combined age for each three-on-three team must exceed 120 years. And, each team member must be employed by an hvacr contracting firm, publication, wholesaler, or manufacturer. Each state could have its own tournament. The state winners would then compete against each other. This means each state needs a “tournament director” — and I hereby volunteer for the state of Michigan.

The Final Four, for instance, could be held in conjunction with the week of the real NCAA men’s Final Four. Publicity for the hvacr industry could be drummed up during this week — including a possible spotlight on national TV. Heck, Dick Vitale would be more than happy to provide the commentary — I think.

Like me, Bill Bissmeyer, a salesman at B&B Air, would love to see the industry get together for a “fun” event.

“I think it would be neat to have a regional or national 3-on-3 tournament, but I think it would have to be dovetailed with the annual ASHRAE Meeting,” said Bissmeyer. “I say this because most of our contractors would not send three employees farther than 100 or 200 miles unless we could tie it to some event they would already be attending. ASHRAE’s annual show would be the only event I could see fitting into this description.”

OK, it’s too late to pull this off for the upcoming 2002 AHR Expo in Atlantic City, NJ. That’s not to say this can’t be the goal for the 2003 Show in Chicago.

If you are interested, don’t hesitate to e-mail or call me. By all means if you are going to Atlantic City, stop by The News’ booth and let me know if you are interested in participating in this hoop dream.


I win the lottery.

Hey, I did say two out of three. (And if No. 3 comes true, I still volunteer to be “tournament director” for the state of Michigan. Honest.)

Publication date: 01/01/2002