Motivated by More Than Money

[Editor's Note: This letter is in response to the editorial "Training (The Subliminal Message)," May 15.]

Some things have not changed much in the 32 years I have been in the HVAC business. I have worked for contractors and as a contractor.

I offer an opinion as to why our industry has difficulty recruiting and retaining workers (among other reasons). Most contractors worked for a contractor prior to starting their own business. They treat their employees as they were treated. This is the wrong approach.

Contractors' perceptions about priority:

  • Money is an employee's top concern. True, it is a critical issue, but studies indicate otherwise.

  • A good wage is incentive enough to perform. For some this may be true. Recognition is highly important to most people.

  • Contractors hesitate (or refuse) to provide training for employees. The reason is they're afraid the employee will leave after they are trained.

    This may indeed happen. But I have two points regarding this mindset:

  • What happens if you don't train them and they stay?

  • Studies show most employees leave a job because of their boss (not the money, company or work).

    Training to provide skilled technicians is only the beginning.

    Lou Tisenchek
    HVAC Learning Solutions
    Scotia, N.Y.

    To Be a Female in This Industry

    I was so glad to see the subject [of women in HVACR] addressed in your article "Let's Make an Effort to Recruit More Women in This Field" [July 24]. I am part owner of my company, and I have 19 employees - all male. It is an uphill battle, to say the least.

    I just returned from a three-day conference for the Kentucky Association of Heating & Plumbing Contractors, and I took my husband along. I spent the entire weekend dealing with other contractors walking up and talking to him about "his" business, and hearing him say "Oh, I'm not the contractor, she is!" It just gets really frustrating!

    Debbie Doyle
    Vice President
    Pine Tree Mechanical Inc.
    Smiths Grove, Ky.

    Luring Away Another Firm's Employees

    [Editor's Note: This letter is in response to the editorial "A Question of Ethics," Aug. 14.]

    I can't believe any manufacturer or distributor would stoop so low. I can't believe Joe would have continued doing business with the manufacturer after the first employee was lured away. As you can tell, I would have stopped doing business immediately with it, and told everyone in the industry about what it had done to protect the small businesses that feed this monster. Hopefully, this in turn would hurt it as badly as it hurt Joe the first time. Joe obviously doesn't mind this happening since he has allowed it to continue.

    Edward S. Leatherbury
    Batchelor's Residential Service LLC
    Mobile, Ala.

    Load Calculations Are Serious Problems

    Barb Checket-Hanks wrote an excellent article ["Fear of Residential Load Calcs," June 12] about a serious problem in the industry that dramatically affects consumers. Thank you very much for the public service. I hope someone finds a way to get the engineers to read the article and come down to earth.

    Ted Boyle
    Senior Territory Manager
    York Air Conditioning,
    A Johnson Controls Company Elkton, Md.

    Summer, Vacations, and HVAC Work

    Mike Murphy was on a roll [with his editorial "Happy 4th of July: Groundhog Day for HVAC is Coming!" July 3]. We'll take any holiday we can get off in July! We also have our own rule about the summer: In the eight or so weeks between Memorial Day and July 4, if we exceed 50 weekend emergency calls (average three calls a day for the 16 to 18 days) it's going to be a busy summer!

    Richard Krohn
    Krohn Refrigeration Inc.
    Manalapan, N.J.

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    Publication date: 08/28/2006