If you are happy with your employer, let us know.The Newsis out, once again, to find the best contractors to work for in the HVACR industry.

Notice we did not say biggest. We did not say the contractors with the most revenue. That's not what we are talking about here.

The News wants to honor the contractors, big or small, who truly care about their employees, who believe their employees are just as important as - and maybe even more important than - their customers. We are looking for contractors who provide training and education, a solid benefits package, allow for professional growth, reward hard work, and ... well, do those "little things" that just add up.

In truth, little things are noteworthy items for most employees.

For instance, the installers and techs from Atmostemp LLC Service Experts let us know that they appreciate the company paying for their service tools, NATE (North American Technician Excellence) training, and NATE testing. Simple gesture, but just one of the reasons why the East Berlin, N.J.-based firm was one of The News' "Best Contractor To Work For" winners last year.

At Pat's Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., service techs were happy to tell us how much they appreciate owner Pat McNamee. Not only does McNamee take his crew out for weekend fishing trips, he gives them that Friday off - with pay. Again, that is not the sole reason why the Oconomowoc, Wis.-based company was voted one of the best contractors to work for, but it certainly factored into the equation.

Meanwhile, employees at Morris-Jenkins are treated to a morning breakfast on the first Friday of each month. Again, nothing special; but just one of the reasons why the Charlotte, N.C.-based company was honored in our contest last year.

Simply put, The News wants to recognize companies that encourage a safe, secure, and fulfilling work environment. Any HVACR contractor in the United States or Canada can be nominated for the contest. The nomination must come from an employee of the contracting firm.

You can find an entry form on page 42 of this issue. Nominations can also be made online at The News' Web site, www.achrnews.com. The deadline for entries is Nov. 7.

The News will select a best contractor in each of the five following regions for 2005: West, North Central, South, East, and Canada.

Let's Hear From You

Each winner will be featured in the Jan. 23, 2006, issue ofThe News, which is to be distributed at the 2006 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) in Chicago. Also, we plan to supply a stipend for the winners so that each can come to the Windy City to be a part ofThe News'panel discussion concerning employee retention.

When entering, don't hesitate to expound on the virtues of the owner and the company. In fact, it is encouraged. The more proof you can bring to the table, the better your chances of impressing The News' editorial staff, which judges the entries. In other words, filling in the entry form is OK, but providing details is much better. The more information you can supply, the better.

When asked last year what he thought of his company, technician Steven Holt answered, "It‘s just a great place to work. There are all good people here. You have all the opportunity in the world here."

It's just one reason why Gallagher's Heating and Air Conditioning of Los Molinos, Calif., was voted one of last year's best contractors to work for. If you can say the same for your company, then please enter.

Mark Skaer is senior editor. He can be reached at 618-239-0288 or markskaer@achrnews.com.

Publication date: 08/08/2005