HFCs And Other Refrigerants

On behalf of York International, I would like to clarify York International's position cited in Peter Powell's recent article, "HFCs Are On Shaky Ground In Europe" (July 26). As was reported, York is working with the McDonald's Corp. and other potential business partners, at their request, to identify and implement viable alternative solutions for their selected applications in Europe.

This is in line with York International's policy committing to ongoing research into new alternatives. York International fully supports HFC solutions, products, and applications worldwide, including Europe. HFC products and systems are effective, safe, and energy efficient; as such, they comprise the majority of HVAC applications for York and for the HVAC industry in Europe.

York International employs, in practical use, all of the environmentally acceptable refrigerants, including HFCs and the wide array of natural refrigerants, based on their individual merits in the applications selected.

York International is taking action to phase out HCFC refrigerants in accordance with the Montreal Protocol and specific country requirements, but strongly supports the application of HFC refrigerants in our global operations.

Tony Digmanese
Manager, Industry Relations
York International Corp.
York, Pa.

Commercial Business Tips

[Editor's note: This letter is in response to Mark Skaer's editorial titled "Ponder This Message From ‘Northern California Betty,'" July 26.]

For those readers interested in expanding into the commercial side of the business, it is important to recognize a few key things:

1. A residential contractor moving into the commercial side of the business will initially be on the lower side of the price per hour spectrum than the commercial customers are used to seeing. While the contractor's ultimate success will depend upon the service that is provided, the lower price per hour will open some doors and offer some immediate opportunities. Property managers handle the bulk of the light commercial business.

2. The bulk of the commercial property managers with whom you will be working are women.

3. The typical career path for a property manager is to start as a secretary or receptionist and progress from that point, due to competence and reliability.

4. These property managers will know almost nothing about the technical side of what you say, but will have no problem in judging your performance based upon your follow-up, technician courtesy, jargonless explanations, and lack of problems after you have fixed things.

While a low price will get you in the door, it will not keep you there unless your performance is good. If your performance is good, you can (and should) increase your hourly rate every year; and in less than 10 percent of the cases will you even hear it mentioned, regardless of the magnitude of the increase.

Rate increases are only mentioned when performance is deficient, and if your performance is deficient, you would probably lose the account eventually.

5. In my experience, women are less impressed by flashy explanations and more impressed by getting their calls returned in a timely manner.

6. As with any customer, and especially with women, if you commit to doing something, you had better do it.

7. Recognize that every property manager has a personal network with whom they share information daily. Your reputation will either be increased or decreased in these conversations. Understand that they are actually eager to share information about a good-performing contractor because it is so rare, and therefore appreciated by their peers.

Follow the above, and female customers are almost always better than male customers. They will defend you when you are not in the meeting, they will beat up their accounting department to make sure that you are paid on time, and they will work with your technician to make the various details surrounding the job easy for you to accomplish.

Keep up the good work.

Mike Gallagher, P.E.
Western Allied Corp.
Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

The Best Way To Learn

[Editor's note: This letter is in response to Mark Skaer's editorial titled "Clearing Up The Certification Jungle," Aug. 2].

Few professionals in the trade have labored as hard or longer than I in trying to convince educators of the need for reassessing the role of secondary schools in preparing clients for roles in the vocations. Not many have been rebuffed more than I.

There is little question that the public education systems need a new direction for vocational training. Those of us who have made this business our career and those trade organizations that represent us, along with the trade unions with whom we partner, are at fault. State regulations that dictate training are not home free, either.

Generally, it is acknowledged, the best way to learn these comfort trades is through a combination of doing and learning experiences known as apprenticeship.

Unfortunately, the fact that one must be employed by either an employer organization and/or associated with an organized labor unit before one can take advantage of the program is a limiting factor in the training for the trades.

Certainly, the public school system should examine its role in preparing students, but we cannot excuse ourselves in limiting access to the very training programs that are designed to provide trained personnel to the ranks.

Robert M. Livingston
Macomb, Ill.

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Publication date: 08/30/2004