A Letter from the President


The 2019 AACP Apprenticeship school year is back in session! We have nearly 170 apprentices participating in our 4-year program, and I was fortunate to meet with them at their Orientation a few weeks ago. We are proud to welcome our largest first-year class to date – almost 60 students. Best wishes for a great school year to all our apprentices.

Summer is winding down, and so is the busiest time of year for our industry. We have some great events lined up for the fall of 2019 for you to attend! The Annual Golf Tournament is coming up quickly on September 13th in Leesburg, VA. We also will be hosting the Heat Exchanger Experts Seminar on September 30th in Laurel, MD. AACP will be hosting a Legislative & Regulatory Meeting on October 10th in the evening, at Positano’s in Bethesda, MD. This meeting will feature updates and Q&A sessions with some of AACP’s legal representatives. Topics to be covered include Sales Tax on HVAC Services, Minimum Wage Requirements, the Top Ten OSHA Fines & How to Avoid Them, EmPowerMD and the Rebate Program, and an outlook on the Maryland 2020 General Assembly. We’ll close out our 2019 programming with a Leadership & Finance Seminar, Keep Your Cool! Better Leadership for Better Profitability. Commander Mary Kelly, USN (ret) will provide leadership tips and economic advice to improve your company’s productivity and profitability. Your registration also includes a Happy Hour at The Brass Tap following the event!

As always, please reach out to me with any questions about AACP or what we can do for you and your company.

Thank you,


Mike Tucker
AACP President


Upcoming Events

Five Hiring Practices that Get Better Candidates to Fill Your Jobs

By Larry Stewart
Originally Published by ForConstructionPros.com

The U.S. jobless rate at a 16-year low multiplies your risks associated with finding and hiring quality people. But tolerating a less-than-polished hiring process is a significant handicap for contractors no matter what employment figures look like.

The cost of a bad hire – one that ends prematurely – is more than 30% of the hire’s salary.

Kathy Cole, president of DK Cole Co., an executive search firm with a specialty division for construction operations and finance management positions, presented a brace of such sobering statistics at the 2017 Construction Financial Management Association Annual Conference. She also offered some great guidelines to improve your ability to compete for top talent.

“Your top performers make the greatest impact on your business results,” Cole said. “Google says they know their top performers make 300 times the business impact of their other employees.”

Cole called the weaknesses she routinely sees in her clients’ employment practices “hiring process risks” because they allow the best job candidates to slip away from talent-constrained construction companies. She broke them down into five risks:

  1. Writing the wrong candidate profile
  2. Attracting a small candidate pool
  3. Slow hiring process
  4. Poor candidate interview experience and employer brand
  5. Mismanaged offer process and due diligence

Cole says a good hire begins with writing a good candidate profile.

“The primary reason for wrong candidate profiles is hiring bias,” she explains. “I’m not talking necessarily about gender and race. I’m talking about when hiring managers open a job, they sit down and write a job description based on what they think is required for someone to succeed in that role instead of focusing on the performance objectives for that position.”

“We worked with the CEO of a general contractor with about $500M in revenue and they had big plans to grow,” Cole recalls an anecdote that illustrates the challenge. “One of their biggest performance objectives for the CFO position they were trying to fill was to get better reporting accountability from the operations team, create better work-in-progress reporting and analysis, and to have better internal controls. But the CEO kept gravitating toward CFOs with deal-making in their backgrounds. Which is fine and it impressed the board, but it really missed the mark on the day-to-day important aspects of that role. So they did hire a deal maker, and they ended up replacing this individual after about six months.”

She says the real key to a good candidate profile is to come up with the five or six performance objectives would spell success for the person in the position.

“The goal is to find people who have solved similar problems or delivered similar value,” Cole says.

 


Top of Page

About the Author

Larry Stewart, editor of ForConstructionPros.com, has worked 30 years discerning the information needs of construction professionals and striving to answer them by creating award-winning magazine stories, rich web pages and ground-breaking events.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!

When (And When Not) To Contest Unemployment Benefit Claims

By Richard D. Alaniz
Article originally posted by The News


The goal of almost every employer is to maximize profits by reducing operating costs whenever and wherever possible. The costs generated by excessive unemployment claims is an issue of particular concern for most employers. Challenging every unemployment claim would therefore seem to be a good business decision. It can have a significant impact on the tax rate the employer must pay to help fund unemployment insurance. The fewer the successful claims the employer has, the lower the tax rate. However, contesting every claim may not necessarily be the best strategy. There may be good reasons for not contesting some claims.   

Employers frequently complain that they have little control over the decision to award unemployment benefits to former employees. While it may at times appear that way, a company has significant power over whether or not a former worker will receive unemployment benefits. The state unemployment office will ultimately decide whether benefits are to be awarded or not. However, the employer decides whether to contest the former employee’s application for benefits. In many states, failure to challenge an application for benefits can result in a presumption that no disqualifying conduct occurred. The granting of benefits becomes almost automatic. As with any other business decision, careful consideration must be given to the decision.  

When Contesting Benefits is Not Advised

There are a variety of situations where an employer may not have adequate grounds to contest an application for benefits and the effort made would very likely be in vain. Employees who are laid off for business reasons, such as a reduction in force (RIF) or downsizing, provide no legitimate basis for challenging an application for benefits. A company may also voluntarily give up its right to contest unemployment benefits as part of a severance agreement entered into with the departing employee. It would be part of the “consideration” given in exchange for the employee giving up the right to contest the termination under any of the various state and federal laws that provide protection against discrimination or improper termination.

Some human resource professionals as well as some employment attorneys advise that employers carefully consider challenging the benefit applications of terminated employees. They argue that fired employees are very likely to be angry ex-employees. No matter the actual reason for their termination, the company will be viewed by them as acting unfairly. That angry former employee will have his/her anger stoked by the attempt to deny them unemployment benefits. They may seek out a lawyer for help. With the ever-growing number of lawyers and the litigious mentality that is so pervasive today, that former employee could easily find a lawyer willing to challenge the termination. Claims of an unlawful discriminatory motive such as race, gender, age, disability, or some other legally protected status are easy to file. All that is required is the filing of a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the equivalent state human rights agency. Many plaintiff lawyers promptly submit a request that the agency immediately issue a “right to sue” letter. Such a letter permits the filing of a lawsuit against the employer within 90 days. Today it is not uncommon for a manager and/or a supervisor to also be named as a defendant. Defending a lawsuit, even when successful, can be an expensive and time-consuming proposition.

It should also be noted that some employment professionals believe that even when an employer chooses not to contest an unemployment benefit claim, the former employee is just as likely to file a discrimination claim. Some in fact suggest that it is even more likely since the employee may conclude that no challenge was filed because the employer knew that it could not defend the stated reason for firing. They also argue that by successfully challenging the application for benefits, the employer demonstrates that they are confident in their case against the employee, which may serve to discourage lawsuits.

Disqualification from Unemployment Benefits

Contrary to what some employers believe, even fired employees can successfully claim unemployment benefits in many circumstances. Where the termination was the result of the employee simply being unable to satisfactorily perform the job duties or had poor work habits, the likelihood is that benefits would be awarded. Also, termination for minor rule infractions such as attendance requirements would similarly not be grounds for the denial of benefits in most cases. Poor attendance is one of the most common issues that causes employee termination. Generally, unless there are other serious acts of misconduct or there are egregious circumstances, termination for poor attendance rarely disqualifies someone from receiving benefits. In most states, it is only when an employee is fired for misconduct that he/she is disqualified to receive unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, what constitutes “misconduct” sufficient for disqualification has been substantially limited in most states. It requires willful conduct that harms the company. Such things as theft, fighting, engaging in workplace violence, and sexual harassment would almost always be grounds for denial of benefits. Obviously, employees who voluntarily quit their employment are generally ineligible for benefits. If there is an issue with regard to a voluntary quit, it usually revolves around whether the employee had just cause to quit. Deciding to leave a workplace with abusive supervisors would probably not be considered a “voluntary quit”. It is much more likely to be seen as a constructive discharge.  

Contesting a Claim

As noted above, there may be circumstances where the company will decide not to contest a claim even though it may have adequate grounds to do so. Ultimately, an employer should contest a claim for benefits only if they have sufficient grounds that will likely result in disqualification. Termination for poor work performance, inability to learn new procedures or operate new equipment, and similar common reasons for employee termination provide no basis for contesting the award of benefits. Only those cases were serious misconduct has occurred are good candidates for a successful challenge. As in any other legal matters, they require substantial time and attention to detail. The rationale for the denial of benefits must be clear and convincing. In addition to a clear narrative that describes in detail the basis for termination, all applicable rules violated, documented oral warnings, and all written warnings should be attached to the contest. The natural tendency of most state unemployment offices is to err on the side of granting benefits. Often their view is that the state-managed fund is there precisely to care for unemployed individuals. It is seen as part of the social safety net intended to protect people in need. They tend to ignore the fact that the former employee only became unemployed as the result of their own serious misconduct.

Appealing an Award of Benefits

It is quite possible that benefits will be awarded even in circumstances where the “misconduct” appears evident. Overturning an award of benefits is difficult. If the decision is made to appeal the granting of benefits in a particular case, most states have a limited period for the filing of an appeal. It will be stated on the notice to the employer of the award of benefits and is usually 10 days. Proving that there was sufficient “misconduct” to overturn a prior award requires substantial evidence. The employer must show that the employee’s conduct was intentional or in willful disregard of the employer’s interests. The employer may also be required to show that the employee intentionally disregarded his/her duties or obligations. Documentation is critical and should include all the documentation submitted at the content stage including any last chance agreements or performance improvement plans provided to the employee. In addition, witnesses that can testify as to the critical events and why the termination decision was made are critical.

In cases when the appeal involves the granting of benefits to an employee who voluntarily quit, the burden is generally on the employee to prove they were eligible to receive benefits. Here the employee’s written resignation or some written confirmation of the voluntary quit would support the appeal. Even a saved voice message from the employee resigning or quitting should be sufficient. Having available a witness who spoke directly with the employee about quitting would be important evidence.           

Despite the appearance of a system that is stacked against the employer, with careful consideration and proper presentation of what is needed to prove your case against the granting of benefits or to overturn a prior award, an employer can exert at least some control over whether unemployment benefits should be awarded or not.


Top of Page


About the Author

Richard D. Alaniz, of Alaniz Law and Associates, has been at the forefront of labor and employment law for over 30 years, including stints with the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. Alaniz is a prolific writer on labor and employment law and conducts frequent seminars to client companies and trade associations across the country. Questions about this article, or requests to subscribe to receive his monthly articles, can be addressed to Rick at (281) 381-2219 or ralaniz@alaniz-law.com.

Which Trends are Shaping the Future of Field Service Management?

Article originally posted by MrHVAC.com


Today’s competitive scenario effects reflect the need for adopting new technological innovations to stay on top and lead the market. Moreover, it becomes equally important to equip your sales force with a contemporary solution, which can even make its management seamless and boost its productivity.

Companies nowadays have even started strengthening their field force with competent field force tracking applications to monitor their sales team activities and performance. Automating your sales processes not only enables you to track their activities and movement, but also give elevated customer service.

Field Force Automation has numerous business benefits and even helps organizations to win a competitive edge. With the latest evolving technology, the dynamics of field force automation constantly keep on changing.

Till date, we were just introduced to the limited functionalities of best field service management software such as defining their routes, reports generation, tracking executive’s live location, defining their routes, etc. But the latest changing trends will take field service automation to an advanced level. So, let’s throw some light on the latest trends, which experts’ belief will carve its future:

Seamless Connectivity

With the field service management, there is seamless connectivity between the staff, business owners, and customers. The leaders are instantly updated in case there is a problem with the carriage. In case there is a request by a customer, and if there is a delay in delivering products to the staff at the office, this portal can alert the customer of a delay, or even customer themselves can check on the app and calculate how long it will take before the product reaches with the help of GPS.

Similarly, the drivers are alerted of the nearest route to reach their intended destination, which even helps to saves fuel consumption, thus saving the company of extra expenses.

Increased Productivity

Leading agents who work remotely can be so much difficult to predict how effective they are with the work assigned. With the field service management software, you can even determine how efficient and productive your team delivers. This is because, with the help of an app, the agents can easily check what items need to be delivered so as to prevent dispatching wrong items to the wrong individual.

Also, the leaders can give an appointment to the customers and honor them as per their schedule without even feeling worked out; this is one of the pain points in field service.

Cloud-based Data Storage

With the recent leap in the technological advancement, field service management could not have possible to allow a seamless flow of work in a cloud-based portal. In the former year, it was a drudgery of work, but recently the work is becoming much simpler. Phones are designed to operate highly technical software that would even otherwise not have been possible, and huge data can be accessed in the cloud portal.

Thus everyone in the organization gets hold of information and can even provide help when necessary to the fraught customers.

Reduction in Customer Complaints

The complaints of customer are inevitable in the field of service delivery, especially if the tracking is done manually. In order for your business to leverage its success, Field Service Management enables you to automate tasks to your agents in order to reduce customer complaints.

With the help of the app, you can assign field scheduling for construction to assign new tasks to workers who are free to take on new tasks even when you are not on your dashboard. This even reduces the delays in time.

Reduces Costs and Increases Profit

The integration of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud, and IoT based portal reduces the purchase of hardware and much labor. This saves money for the business.

The power of an app to predict the shortest distance to reach a customer destination, and the right products to be dispatched plus the right person who has the right talent to perform some of the certain tasks with expertise and experience, reduces the cost of production while delivering quality services to the customer. This increases profit to the organization.

Field Service Management is essential if you want to use your business success. Its ability to increase the retention of customer due to stellar service provided, increase profit due to low production cost and its ability to use the AI, IoT and cloud-based technology portal for effective productivity is what you need to take your business to the next level.

Conclusion

More than 90% of the field service executives feel that the need for adapting the service models to customer’s needs. When the field service software solutions have embraced all the trends which are mentioned above and have become tech-savvy, to say the least, field services will be transformed forever.


Top of Page

Upcoming Certification Classes and Events

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MEMBERSHIP


  • Local, State and National Legislative & Advocacy efforts
  • Participation in the nationally recognized Apprenticeship Program
  • Education opportunities for your technicians and staff - (NATE, CFC, Business management, Legal and Legislative)
  • Industry Resources - (IRS documents, Risk Management documents, white papers, Code Compliance, six e-Newsletters)
  • Member pricing for events and training sessions
  • A discounted rate on insurance for member companies

5 HVACR Industry Topics to Put on Your Radar

Originally posted by HVAC Web Connection

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the built environment accounts for nearly 40% of electricity consumption in the U.S. A large portion of this energy is consumed by HVACR systems efforts to heat or cool the indoor environment.

The HVACR industry has always been versatile with ever-evolving practices, upgrades, disruptive products and technologies. Though shifts may often seem slow progressing to the general population, the industry is currently primed to utilize and contribute to big tech trends and, more importantly, is gearing up to be on the center stage of global change.

In fact, HVACR has the potential to play a large role in the future of every person on the planet — a notion that is gaining greater realization by industry professionals. Despite this outlook, the challenge ahead remains —crafting an environment for humans to thrive and maximize their potential while keeping negative environmental impacts to a minimum.

To achieve these goals, cross-role communication among industry personnel is essential. In an effort to support the open flow of communication and stimulate ideation, the AHR Expo has gathered a council of industry experts aimed at discussing some of the biggest trends, issues and opportunities that lie ahead for HVACR.

Recently the Council convened to discuss and develop consensus views on five areas that are poised to be hot topics for the industry and at the upcoming 2020 AHR Expo in Orlando. Our goal is to spark conversation and knowledge sharing among industry peers through articles, papers, online networks and on social channels. We encourage you to participate in the conversation, seek out others in the industry and discuss the role of HVACR in these issues and more, as well as how professionals across all job functions might work together to achieve greater success.

Global Climate Change
Global climate change is not a new discussion topic, however, the inclusion of HVACR systems and their potential to support the lowest emission output possible is becoming more mainstream. Moving beyond the political landscape, long-term sustainability goals and embodied carbon are heavily considered in the design, integration, and installation of whole building systems.

Engineers are challenged with designing systems that meet or exceed performance expectations while staying on course with changing regulation. Contractors are faced with new regulations and must adapt to methods for installation and maintenance. On the global scale, net-zero initiatives are driving design and furthering the consideration of the entire HVACR system and its importance to the building function, as well as the necessary energy to support it.

New recommendations for climate change limits suggest a global temperature lower than 1.5C according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a finding that has been referenced in climate change policies and initiatives across the globe.

“Minimizing climate change to the 1.5C limit by 2050 will require swift and unprecedented changes in the HVACR industry. There are great challenges and opportunities to be taken seriously if we want to arrive at net zero emissions in operating, embodied, and transportation carbon, yet maintain the superb wellbeing of building occupants,” says Luke Leung, director of sustainable energy at Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP.

This idea of implementing new protocols to lessen emissions is not a task to be viewed lightly, particularly in societies where buildings and HVACR systems are already established. Cities around the world are taking serious measures to meet net zero goals. As reported by Forbes earlier this year as part of the Climate Mobilization Act, buildings totaling 25,000 square feet or more will face requirements to upgrade boilers. Additionally, starting in the year 2024, New York City building owners who do not comply with energy efficiency requirements will face fines made up of the difference in emissions limits for the year and a building’s actual emissions, multiplied by $268.

Some areas of consideration for HVACR professionals include:

Embodied Carbon Considerations

Government regulations are a driving force for designers and builders to consider the full cycle of embodied carbon and a building’s carbon footprint. California’s government adopted the Buy Clean Act in October of 2017 and amended it in June of 2018. According to USGBC’s Los Angeles chapter, the legislation promotes the spending of taxpayer money in ways that help to reduce pollution contributors to climate change. Additionally, manufacturers and plants are held to tougher pollution standards and the emissions performance of suppliers and contractors is considered prior to project sign-on.

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are becoming commonplace in many countries around the world, with the expectation of further growth in the coming years. Currently, EPDs use the common methodology outlined in ISO 14024 to define and compare products. There are several supporting organizations in North America, including NSF International, the Sustainability Consortium, Carbon Leadership Forum, SGS Global Services, among others. LEED Version 4 also began to address EPD of products.

Low GWP Refrigerants

While low GWP refrigerants are already in use across the industry, some options introduce safety hazards through fire and combustion risks and may require significant modifications to vapor compression equipment. According to a 2016 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study, an estimated 700 million air conditioning systems will be in use by 2030. Not surprisingly, the quest to develop the next generation of refrigerants is already underway and is a buzzing topic of conversation among industry professionals. There is also debate as to which refrigerants will provide the most viable solution to the global climate challenge. The use of low GWP refrigerants remains heavily considered within the industry as a way to lower overall emissions.

Electrification
The push to connect everything to the electrical grid in the future is a political hot button that is discussed across nearly every market. HVACR systems have been given a front seat in this debate for their potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., buildings still primarily rely on natural gas, coal, or fuel oil as an energy source. The electrification discussion stakes claim that HVACR systems can be quickly decarbonized by removing old systems and upgrading to clean energy systems with electric heat or heat pumps. While the interaction between the electrical grid and buildings is changing, the idea of total transition has obstacles given the millions of homes and businesses currently relying on fuels for operation.

“Heat pumps, specifically ccA2WHP cold climate air to water heat pumps, are gaining attention from customers looking to cut ties with both gas and oil. Support of this method stems from the ability to integrate with PV generated at the building location to lessen grid loss, as well as the ability to generate heating, cooling and domestic hot water (DHW) from a single unit,” said Bob Rohr, a training manager with Caleffi North America. “Looking into systems like this and others that reduce negative climate impact is an added benefit for HVACR professionals because it introduces an increased role of hydronics and other technology avenues to the HVAC industry.”

While many technologies are being considered, the overall goal to move beyond reliance on products and applications that have a negative impact on the environment is shared. In the coming years, we can expect to see much progress in this area driven by government regulation, consumer demand and industry innovation.

Indoor Climate Controlled Growth Facilities
Indoor growth facilities are seeing an increase in interest for a few reasons. The first is the practicality behind their use in supporting rapid population growth. With progress made in HVACR and systems capable of cooling and heating extreme external environments, we are now living in areas of the world previously thought uninhabitable. This has pushed the boundaries of human living areas and expanded the built environment with fewer limitations.

Additionally, as the human population rises, so does the need for sustainable food options. Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to food production in relation to population growth is the loss of land space to nurture crops large in number and size. The process of indoor farming is already in practice in some areas around the world. For example, in 2014, Japan's Mirai Co. partnered with GE Japan to convert a former Sony factory into an indoor growth facility to house garden beds in what they’ve deemed a “plant factory.” The concept gained attention as it solves many of the controversial issues associated with traditional farming—the use of pesticides to control pests and bacteria and to ensure the health of the crop, and devastating crop loss caused by harsh weather, pollution, and other factors.

New markets are also taking on the challenge of investing in indoor growth facilities. The hemp and cannabis industry is a huge flagship for indoor growth and is becoming more commonplace across the U.S. Producers are looking for input and expertise to build an entire industry from the ground up.

“With more and more U.S. states allowing for the decriminalized use of marijuana and the widespread use of CBD products, there is a sudden increased demand for production. As a result, indoor grow facilities for cannabis is one of the fastest-growing verticals we’ve ever seen,” says Pam Duffy, Spark One Solutions, LLC and P.E. licensed engineer serving the HVACR industry for more than 10 years. “Many building owners are taking big capital risks to build these facilities, and producing high-quality products requires a precise approach to climate and lighting control. Currently, there’s a limited number of organizations in our industry that specialize or even have experience in this area. The prediction is that those who are willing to dive head-first into this market will be rewarded for many years to come.”

Indoor climates require precise control of a built environment, something the HVACR industry masters more than any. The opportunity to lead the design and production of an indoor growth environment, as well as the new jobs technicians, builders, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and all those touching the industry will take on, makes this a viable opportunity for the industry as a whole.

Building Automation & Control
The area of Building Automation & Control (BAC) is quick paced and always changing. It maintains a prominent presence at the AHR Expo, and each year showcases new technologies and products that push boundaries. Where technology will take us is yet to be seen, and therefore makes this a buzzworthy topic for the foreseeable future. What’s more, the BAC discussion is expanding to include the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence (AI) and security.

The HVACR industry isn’t unique in tapping the IoT for deepened communication and information sharing. However, it provides unique and exciting opportunities because it allows for the open flow of communication between humans and the built environment. The IoT not only gives a closer connection between the occupant and the systems control but also enhances the service response time due to faster diagnostics and technician reporting. Already the IoT is streamlining the customer relationship—but where else can it lead HVACR?

Artificial intelligence in the HVACR industry has piqued interest in the idea of self-diagnosing buildings, where a broken system pinpoints a specific area of issue and auto-orders replacement equipment. This idea is provoking as it raises the question of the reliance on building system diagnostic accuracy, as well as the role of HVACR professionals in the future.

There are, however, concerns associated with increased connection and network sharing. Cybersecurity is an area of potential threat introduced with BAC and multiple building systems. This is new territory for most in the HVACR industry. As seen in areas using cloud-based and multiple networked systems technologies sharing communication, the opportunity for hackers is real and needs to be considered by all. This means building design and construction teams need to communicate potential risks and best practices associated with network use, and building owners need to be diligent in protecting their networks and secure information.

“The key is to make the building aware of what it needs to be aware of while maintaining local control. The security risks involved in taking data out of buildings completely, sending it all over the world, is far too great. What we see more of is a higher focus on security issues with the underlying idea of having control at the edge, closer to the data source.” says Nicolas Waern, The Building Whisperer.

Changing Consumer Demand
Consumer demand speaks to all the above-mentioned topics as the driving force behind innovation and change. The recognition that the largest population of building occupants is the incoming millennial generation, and that this cohort will also be the next generation of building owners brings to light a number of considerations that may not have mattered in the same way to previous generations.

Millennials perhaps more than any generation prior are active in the quest for sustainable options. They’ve been dubbed “generation green,” with 66% even stating they are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies with commitments to positive environmental impacts, according to a Nielsen global survey.

Now more than ever, consumers are demanding control of environments in which they occupy. Dwellers are aware of and seeking control of their health in relation to outdoor and indoor environmental exposure. This includes the demand for clean air, the ability to closely control and monitor the indoor environment, and the opportunity to live within smart buildings that conserve energy based on many variables including occupancy and usage patterns.

Smart home control systems have skyrocketed in recent years, adding an attractive real estate feature to homes with updated HVACR and lighting systems. Consumers are also conscientious to the fact that we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors, as indicated in an EPA sponsored survey of national human activity, and the indoor environment and its potential exposures can influence personal health.

This shift of attention toward interior environments quality means the HVACR design and system selection has the potential to be influenced by different priorities than those currently in use today. Occupant desire for greater control coupled with their purchasing of buildings and leasing of spaces reflect this priority and indicate it will change the manner HVACR is done.

Business owners will likely also demand better indoor environments as it has been shown to impact employee productivity and wellbeing. It can also be anticipated that there will be increased legal exposure to building owners to provide safe and clean air as occupants become more knowledgeable, technologies capable of measuring and monitoring space quality become less expensive, and data becomes more readily available. Restaurants, merchants, theaters, etc. may also take advantage of this new focus through marketing clean air to distinguish themselves from the competition— much like the food grade systems we see in place in cities across the world.

Overall, a more health-conscious group of individuals is aging into building ownership with funding to spend on improving the interior space they occupy. HVACR professionals can benefit from the opportunities to cater to this new audience and their set of priorities. Manufacturers are also keen to this shift and are responding with products and technologies that excel in innovation to meet the charge.

Job Force Recruitment
The trend that perhaps stands to be the greatest obstacle for the HVACR industry in the immediate future is the need to replenish an aging job force. Due to a reduced interest in skilled trades as a career path and the economic recession in the early 2000s that contributed to stagnation in hiring, the industry faces a lag of incoming professionals to meet the replacement demands of those aging out of the industry. What’s more, even if rising students are interested in pursuing engineering or a skilled trade, they may not choose the HVACR industry over others requiring similar applied skills. The industry needs to take notice of these challenges and work together to recruit a new generation of HVACR professionals. This is an industry where long-term careers can be built as the role of HVACR is and always will be vital to all areas of the world, in every building and in every home.

The workforce will also need to consider a broader demographic than represented today to fill the void in the workforce. Women, as well as ethnic minorities, should be considered as part of this solution. While there has been an indication of growth here, it is still possible in the year 2019 to be the first minority graduating from a trade school, as evidenced by Ryli Jetton, who recently became the first female graduate with an Associate’s degree in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning from State Technical College of Missouri. The HVACR industry needs to do a better job of championing the many opportunities that exist in the HVACR business to attract individuals from all backgrounds. This will not only help fill the shortage of professionals but will also introduce a broader set of ideas and talents to the conversation, ultimately making the industry stronger.

“The way we promote the greatness of the HVACR industry to younger generations is through in-person interactions and open communication. We need to invite them into engineering firms, let them shadow mechanical contractors, visit job sites, attend events like the AHR Expo, ASHRAE events, and other industry association events. The opportunity to have real-life experiences in the field will make all the difference,” says Karine Leblanc, an engineer at US Air Conditioning Distributors. “Having been exposed to the industry at a younger age myself, I remember the experience of visiting an engineering office and having a project manager explain to me why the thermostat should not be at its location. I was only 15 at the time, but this one interaction shaped what has become my engineering career.”


Top of Page

©  2016 - 2021 Association of Air Conditioning Professionals (AACP)

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software