No. Not the picture. Well, it is a new picture. The old one looked like a parrot according to a friend in Cleveland, an uglier version of me according to Charlie Greer, and someone not allowed in the house any longer according to my mother. The new one is better because the professional photographer magically provided the subject with an extreme makeover, less the extreme costs.

However, the new look we're referring to is actually in the form of the Regional Reports available on our Web site,

To access this page, go to our home page and click on Regional Reports in the left-hand column. It's a great place for contractors, wholesalers, and manufacturers to get "region-specific" news. The location contains stories, announcements, branch openings, and more that we don't have space to print in the pages of the magazine. You'll find information written especially for Canada and four regions in the United States.

As you know, there just are some issues that are region-specific. For instance, humidity is a problem in Florida, more so than in Michigan. California is always on the cutting edge regarding environmental regulations, while some other states wait for the fallout. Texans politely send an occasional "y'all" to the Canadians, who call back with a courteous "eh" at the end of every sentence.

The point is every part of North America has particular needs for HVAC, and The News realizes that our magazine should cater to those particular communication needs, as well. Now you can find region-specific news that is of special interest to you.

As an extra bonus, you can contribute your own local and regional news items for inclusion in these very specific reporting areas of our Web site. Reporters are standing by, waiting for your call:

  • Canada - Kyle Gargaro, 248-244-1720,

  • West - Mark Skaer, 618-239-0288,

  • North Central - John R. Hall, 248-244-1294,

  • South - Peter Powell, 847-622-7260,

  • East - Barbara Checket-Hanks, 313-366-7093,

    Time For A Makeover?

    The reality TV craze of makeovers has even bitten the HVAC industry. Several industry consultants have volunteered to work with a contractor from Abingdon, Va., after our own John R. Hall set the wheels in motion.

    Excellence Alliance Inc., a contractor alliance in Greater Cincinnati, recently awarded Aladdin Air Conditioning and Heating of Newbury Park, Calif., a business makeover, courtesy of York Unitary Products Group. (See the article "EAI Member Wins Makeover Contest" in this issue.)

    And, not too long ago, Adams Hudson of Hudson Ink helped to rebuild the marketing effort of a struggling HVAC company in Alabama.

    There are plenty of opportunities to find good help for your business. Whether it be through a professional consultant, trusted networks of contractor friends, or just a heart-to-heart with your spouse, don't be fearful of creating new possibilities for your company.

    You may think I've been spending too much time in my car listening to self-improvement tapes. Perhaps I have, but it's a cheap Irish way to get a quick makeover. Or, as you may have heard said, "a checkup from the neck up."

    Hugh Joyce, Jr. of James River Air Conditioning in Richmond, Va., can vouch for a company makeover. Ask him why and how he chose a consultant to help in the revitalization of his successful company. You can meet Hugh at the Air Conditioning Contractors of America national convention in Austin, Texas, March 9-12. He'll be the fellow wearing the bow tie.

    But, Hugh - if you really want a new look, you need a tie like mine.

    Mike Murphy is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446, 248-244-2905 (fax), or

    Publication date: 01/17/2005