One week ago, glitz and glamour reigned supreme as Hollywood rolled out the red carpet once again for the Academy Awards. In my unrefined opinion, Oscar didn't have a lot of good choices about whom he was going home with; no big box office smashes this past year. Neither upset winner "Crash" nor "Brokeback Mountain" made me rush to the theater; but it's always fun to see what people arenotgoing to be wearing on the runway on Oscar night. Also, with a live television show there's always the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction.

The HVAC industry has its own glamorous event coming our way this summer - the Dealer Design Awards (DDA). True, no one will ever recognize our illustrious nominees for being either the best or worst dressed on the red carpet, but the entries are stunning, nonetheless.


The DDA recognizes contractor-oriented products with features that assist in installation, maintenance, and service of products in the HVAC and refrigeration industry. Last year more than 140 products were entered in the contest. Because of the large number of entries, the 2006 DDA program has been increased to provide recognition in 14 categories of products.

Does your company's product have design features that cut installation time, help the contractor diagnose performance problems, offer easy accessibility for service, include special instruction booklets or videos, or have unique features to make the contractor's job easier? If so, you are an ideal candidate for The NEWS DDA program.

Competition is open to all manufacturers in the HVACR industry. Products entered must have been introduced to the market after January 2005 and available to the market no later than July 2006. A limit of three entries per manufacturer (or respective division) is allowed and a product can only be entered in one category. Entries must be received no later than April 12, 2006.


The most unique aspect of this program is that it's the only such contest of this magnitude that is judged solely by HVACR contractors. For this reason, the program has gained favor among manufacturers. Entries will be judged by a panel of independent contractors representing various fields of HVACR. The contractors will rate entries for ease of installation, maintenance, service, overall design, uniqueness, and impact on the HVACR industry. Last year, 47 contractors volunteered their time to review the entries.

If you are a contractor and would like to be involved in judging the industry's best products, please send an e-mail my way, If selected as a judge, you'll receive about five or six entries in categories matched with your expertise. You'll only be asked to return a scoring sheet.

The role of judge is an important one. We have streamlined the process to make it very time efficient for you. In the process, you get an opportunity for an in-depth review of the hottest products in the market. Also, if at the end of the program, you find that you usually sell one of the winning products, you may be able to use the extra publicity about the item to increase your own sales. Award-winning products always catch people's attention.


Be as specific as possible about your product's design features and what they mean to contractors. Remember, the judges are looking at product entries that may be very similar to yours. Thus, merely saying that a product is more "saleable," "reduces installation time," or offers "improved reliability" will not provide the judges with enough information to make you a winner. Submit entries and documentation that are succinct and to the point. Make it as easy as possible for the judges to recognize the product's good points.

Who knows, you might have a winner on your hands. Go to and click on the link in the left-hand column that says "2006 Dealer Design Awards Contest" to download entry forms.

Mike Murphy, Editor-In-Chief, 248-244-6446, 248-244-2905 (fax),

Publication date: 03/13/2006