The U.S. House resolution designating April 18-24, 2004, as National Indoor Comfort Week also recognizes the contributions of the industry’s technicians (above and below).
On March 2, Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a resolution officially designating the week of April 18-24, 2004, as the first annual National Indoor Comfort Week.

It may not have been the shot heard around the world, but it marked a significant step in bringing overdue recognition to the many HVACR contractors and their field technicians who work hard every day to provide comfortable and safe indoor environments for millions of Americans. In other words, it is a vehicle for telling the general public that the HVACR industry has a huge impact on the everyday lives of men, women, and children across the United States.

I don't think it is time to get on a soapbox and preach to the choir; you all know the role you play in your customers' lives. But I do think it is a great time to take advantage of this opportunity to show everyone how important our industry is.

Thanks to an effort led by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Rep. Manzullo saw the need for an "official" recognition of the HVACR trade. Manzullo's resolution recognizes the contributions of those who "design, manufacture, install, and maintain heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems" and concludes by stating that the House of Representatives "supports the goals and ideals of National Indoor Comfort Week as proposed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America."

In order to understand the significance of this resolution, I looked up a few other measures recently introduced by the current 108th Congress, all which have been enacted for 2004.

Sharing The Spotlight

National Indoor Comfort Week has some very worthy peers, including the following designations:

  • January 2004 was "National Mentoring Month." In describing its support, President Bush praised individuals who are already giving their time to mentor young people and voiced support for efforts to recruit more adults as mentors.

  • February 2004 was "National Cancer Prevention Month." The U.S. Senate called for efforts to elevate public understanding and decrease the terrible toll that cancer takes on our society because "cancer is one of the most prevalent and devastating diseases to face society in the United States, taking over 550,000 lives in the United States every year."

  • February 14, 2004 was "National Donor Day." The House urged everyone to learn about organ, tissue, bone marrow, and blood donations, and discuss such donations with their families and friends.

    The resolutions run from the serious issues to less serious ones. For example, the entire year of 2004 has been recognized by the Senate as the 50th anniversary of rock 'n' roll. The Senate commemorated Sun Studio for recording what it termed the first rock 'n' roll record, "That's All Right," and expressed appreciation to Memphis, Tenn., for "its contributions to America's music heritage."

    Some issues are clearly matters of life and death. I tend to look at numbers like 550,000 cancer deaths and compare them to huge "unknown" numbers of deaths and illnesses resulting from poor indoor air quality (IAQ), including carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and toxic mold. The News has provided extensive coverage on both of these IAQ problems and others, detailing how our industry is doing its part to address these issues.

    That's what makes Rep. Manzullo's resolution even more important. It can help to bring awareness to the many dangers of poor IAQ and how our field technicians troubleshoot and repair systems in order to prevent these dangers.

    I have read reports that cite as many as 20,000 deaths and injuries each year from inhaling deadly CO gas. While that figure does not approach the 550,000 cancer deaths, it is still alarming. And unlike many forms of cancer, CO poisoning is preventable.

    Jump On The Bandwagon

    I applaud ACCA's efforts to call attention to the positive aspects of the HVACR trade. I also applaud their motivations.

    In a recent interview with ACCA President and CEO Paul Stalknecht, I learned that it is not only the contractors who need recognition for their work, it is the service technicians and installers. "We think the resolutions passed in Congress recognize the technicians in our industry for all of the hard work they do," he said.

    Stalknecht emphasized the importance for all of the ACCA industry partners to jump on the bandwagon and promote National Indoor Comfort Week in 2005. He will actively seek input for ways to promote the event, and I would like to use this forum to echo his passion for the subject.

    National Indoor Comfort Week is for all of us. And it is our duty to support it and offer our input on ways to promote it on the local level.

    Here are a few ideas:

  • Profile a technician who went above and beyond the call of duty to diagnose or repair a faulty piece of equipment.

  • Reward an employee who gives back to the community by helping to sponsor a charitable act or charitable donation.

  • Publicize a case history about how a routine service call or equipment changeout improved the IAQ in a home or building or perhaps even saved a life.

    I'm sure you can come up with many examples to demonstrate how your business is vital to the members of your community. And while you're at it, don't forget to pump up the egos of your employees. Maybe a second benefit to this positive publicity will be a renewed interest in HVACR as a viable career choice.

    I welcome your suggestions.

    John Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 248-244-1294, 248-362-0317 (fax), or

    Publication date: 04/12/2004