A Letter from the President

2020 is here!  Happy New Year and welcome back from what I hope was a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday season. 
AACP is geared up and ready to start the year off with a continued effort to protect the interests and welfare of the HVACR industry, our members, and the public, as it has done since 1964.
While the mission for AACP remains unchanged, on January 1st one significant change transpired: the presidential torch was passed from Mike Tucker to me. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mike for his two years of invaluable leadership and dedication.  During his time as president, he progressed our cause and expanded our reach.  He leaves the organization in even better shape than when he took the reins two years ago. I am grateful that he will continue his involvement with AACP in the Past Presidents role, and that he will continue to do what so many of you, our members, do each and every day: provide careers to real people, comfort to the public, energy savings to consumers and our grid as a whole, economic stimulation and so much more.
Heading into the New Year, I have a number of goals for AACP. These include increased diversification and female representation in all parts of our organization, from our board of directors to our Apprenticeship program; increased Virginian and DC engagement; growth of the Apprenticeship program, including efforts to open in Virginia and DC; and membership growth and outreach.
I believe our organization has a positive impact on the industry as a whole. Our legislative team, headed up by Mike Wheat and, in the past Debbie Risher, has dedicated more of their personal time than we could calculate. With the addition of Andrew Oser, the effort will continue, engaging municipalities and local governments on behalf of all of us. Our invaluable Apprentice Program, led by Charlie Ayres, Don Colville and Warren Lupson, continues to produce highly skilled technicians ready for the work force, as our industry so desperately needs. And our social engagements and skills building efforts often include business leadership training, heat exchanger classes and opportunities to engage with our local inspectors from the major counties we all work in for improved clarity and continuity in the ever changing world of codes. I aim to convey this value and the strength of the AACP to more potential members. I hope to do that together. Please reach out to one or two peers and let them know how AACP has helped steer the industry, how it has helped you professionally, and how it can help them.   Guide them to our website where they can see the schedule of events and become a member and participate as well.
I’m looking forward to working with all of you in my new role and to an exciting year in HVACR. I encourage you to reach out to me with ideas, suggestions, or questions, and I hope you will join us for our social engagements to share in the well-deserved comradery, networking, and good times!   

Thank you,

Phil Thompson
AACP President
Account Manager
Carrier Enterprise Atlantic

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Generational Leadership

Originally Published by HVACR Business

Managers will be more effective leaders once they understand the generational differences in their workforce.

While on a business trip, I ran into a very successful person. Completely self-made, he had started several successful companies and amassed quite a fortune. I asked him what he felt was the single most important skill or attribute behind his success.

Without hesitation, he said, “I am good with people.” He went on to explain that he had learned the skill of being able to quickly size up people so that he could effectively communicate with them using ideas and metaphors they could understand and appreciate.

I have written two articles that are closely related to this: “The Importance of Employee Retention” (HVACR Business, September 2018) and “Use Personality Assessments to Manage Your Business” (HVACR Business, July 2018).

In those articles, I mention the importance of understanding personality types when selling to prospects and dealing with coworkers. In this article, I will specifically cover how to tailor your leadership style to different generations of people. By combining an understanding of generational differences and personality types, you will be in a far superior position to deal with a wide variety of people.

The American workforce can be divided into five distinct groups which are identified as generations. Each of these generations has formed their own set of values and attitudes towards work that are often different from the other generation.

With the workforce growing older, this may be the first time that five generations of people find themselves working together. This creates a challenge for managers because each generation differs in how they view work and each requires a slightly different style of leadership.

There are five generations in the workforce today. They are: Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z.

Note: There is some disagreement among experts as to what the actual birthdate ranges are for each generation. For the purposes of this article, I will use “Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers and Nexters in Your Workplace” by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines and Bob Filipczak as my source.

Veteran Generation

The Veteran Generation was born 1922-1943. I realize that this generation is quickly leaving the workforce. However, many people in this age group find themselves needing to work or simply wanting to work.

Some might call them the “Greatest Generation.” They are the most straight forward, no-nonsense generation. They are frank, polite, practical and very dedicated to their work. They believe in conformity, authority and rules. They have a very defined sense of right and wrong. Their personal relationships are based on personal sacrifice.

They are respectful to authority and believe in a hierarchical style of leadership. One of their biggest turnoffs is rudeness and vulgarity.

Leadership Tips: They want structure and strong leadership. Create a firm set of rules and enforce them equally. You must not play favorites. If someone is late to work, you must enforce policies otherwise the Veteran Generation will see you as unfair and weak.

Do not allow rudeness and vulgarity in the workplace. If you are a manager or owner, it is especially important that you do not curse or treat people in a rude manner. This is a Veteran Generation pet peeve.

Allow this generation to share their wisdom with younger people. Give them the opportunity to mentor and train members of the other generations. Personally, this is my favorite generation. We should all enjoy them while we still have them.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born 1944-1960. They are optimistic, expressive and possess a strong work ethic. They have a strong commitment to quality and doing a good job. Often, they view their career and themselves as the same thing.

They are likely to put in long hours at the office, including evenings and weekends. They enjoy solving problems. They believe in building their career over the long term and having loyalty to their employer. They will either love or hate their managers and will likely be blunt about their feelings. They prefer leadership through consensus. They are family oriented and value health and wellness.

Leadership Tips: You must keep this generation busy and give them an opportunity to make a difference, otherwise they will look elsewhere for career opportunities. Be sure to show a sincere appreciation for their hard work and dedication to your company.

This generation did not grow up with technology. Pair them up with younger generations to teach them about technology. Do not assume they can’t or will not embrace technology. This highly driven generation has a strong work ethic. They will learn what they must to do their jobs effectively.

Generation X

Gen X was born 1961-1980. Largely independent, they have a skeptical often cynical outlook on life. They don’t define themselves through their work. They see themselves as free agents and marketable commodities and can be “job jumpers.”

They are largely unimpressed with the job titles of their authority figures. They believe in leadership through competency. They are often reluctant to commit to single close, personal relationships.

Some of their most admired leaders are Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates and Ronald Reagan. Their biggest turnoffs are clichés and hype.

Leadership Tips: Clear and open communication is important for this group. Allow them to be part of the decision-making process. Ask them for advice whenever possible. Managers need to earn their respect as opposed to demanding it.

Reduce their tendency to “job jump” by explaining why the company is doing what it is doing. Provide a career path, mentoring and ongoing training. Allow them to feel important.

Generation Y

Also known as Millennials, or Nexters, this generation was born between 1981 and 2000. They have a very hopeful and positive outlook on life. They are determined workers but are concerned with balancing their work and personal life.

They want flexibility in work hours, appearance and desire a relaxed work environment. They are respectful to authority and likely believe in leadership through consensus with an emphasis on team effort and “pulling together.” They value teamwork but want everything done immediately.

They are concerned with affecting change and making an impact. In their personal lives, they are likely to have many good friends as opposed to one or two “best” friends. They believe in inclusion and loyalty.

Leadership Tips: They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Be sure your company has a clear mission and purpose. Show them how they can help the company achieve its mission and purpose. They will want to use technology to solve problems. Provide a flexible comfortable work environment. Ask them for feedback. Praise them in public.

Generation Z

Sometimes referred to as Post-Millennials, Gen Z is anyone born after the year 2000. They have never lived without the internet and are very tech savvy. Great multitaskers. They are imaginative and believe that they can change the world. They are very entrepreneurial.

Since they are just entering the workforce, little is known about their leadership styles and preferences.

Leadership Tips: Start with the idea that they are much like Generation Y. Remember, this generation has likely never heard a dial tone or busy signal. They are super tech savvy and will expect your company to be using tablets and other technology. Pay close attention so that you can learn more about them and adjust to their values and attitudes towards work.


When speaking about generational differences, it is easy to generalize and oversimplify. While everyone is unique, each generation is largely shaped by the experiences encountered during their formative years. With five generations in the workplace, it is important for leaders to understand the basics of each generation so that they can quickly adapt to their differences. Keeping each generation happy will be an ongoing challenge.

That challenge is one that contracting companies and their leaders should begin confronting as soon as possible.


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About the Author

James Leichter is president and CEO of software company Aptora Corp., owner of Mr. HVAC LLC and majority partner at RA Tax and Accounting Inc. James is also a faculty member of EGIA Contractor University. Visit egia.org/university for additional information.

HVAC Digital Marketing: How to Get it Right

Originally Published by Mr. HVAC

Traditional marketing may still work, but with the giant strides digital marketing has been taking the last few years, you would do well to adopt digital marketing strategies for your HVAC business instead. Digital marketing has so much going for it, particularly its cost-effectiveness compared to traditional marketing.

So how can your company, which counts air conditioning installation and repair among its services, take full advantage of everything digital marketing has to offer? Let’s look at some tips that will help your HVAC business get digital marketing right.

Take a closer look at the market.
You need to perform a competitive analysis of the market, so you’ll know which marketing strategies to develop and implement, as well as how much the whole thing is going to cost you. If you already have a website, then you should perform an audit to find out which parts of it need some tweaking.

If you have already used digital marketing strategies for your business before, then review all of them and see which ones worked and which didn’t. You can also compile various feedbacks and reviews from customers to assess their satisfaction with your services.
Make your site mobile- and conversion-friendly.

Considering how mobile users have long outnumbered desktop users, it’s only logical for businesses to have a site that displays well on all screens. It also needs to be conversion-friendly, so make sure navigating it is easy, your CTAs should be clear and highly-visible, and all your contact details placed strategically, among other things.

Speed up your website.
Internet users these days want the websites they visit to load fast, or they bounce off. Among the ways you can boost your website loading speed is to optimize images, minify your code, and reduce redirects.

Put up quality content.
When people visit an HVAC website, they will be on the lookout for information that will answer their questions regarding their air conditioners and heaters. So fill your site with relevant HVAC-related content, from how-to articles to videos that will keep your visitors engaged.

Increase social media presence.
Practically all entrepreneurs use social media for marketing their business. With billions of users on various social media platforms, you get the chance to reach, engage, and convert even just a fraction of that figure. With social media, your HVAC business can attain wider brand awareness and eventually foster brand loyalty.

Optimize your site.
Search engine optimization can help your HVAC website rank high in search results, which will then lead to increased traffic and, eventually, conversions. While a reliable digital marketing strategy, SEO takes time and a bit of expertise, so if you want to optimize your site effectively, get the services of a reputable SEO company.

In all likelihood, you are going to need help not only with SEO but with other aspects of digital marketing as well. You can choose the DIY route, or you can partner with a digital marketing firm to help you promote your HVAC business.

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Profit or Wealth?

Article originally posted by HVACR Business

Many contractors focus solely on profits. They look at their profit and loss statement and guide their business based on what that statement says. That’s only a part of the longevity equation.

Looking at a balance sheet is more important than looking at a profit and loss statement. You build longevity (i.e. wealth), by building a strong balance sheet. From a business perspective, you cannot build wealth without profits.

Profits, a profit and loss item, are turned into cash, a balance sheet item. Both are required for business survival.

But, are you building wealth? It’s great to have profits year after year, but if you are not building wealth in your business, are the profits really enough?

An example from outside our industry:

Restaurant Owner No. 1 had a great weekend. The restaurant revenues were amongst the highest they had ever had. The restaurant owner was thrilled with the profitable weekend.
Unfortunately, the restaurant owner didn’t really know who was dining in the restaurant. He did not get the names of the diners, birthday dates or other pertinent information to turn those diners into clients.

He hoped that he would have another busy, profitable weekend.

Restaurant Owner No. 2 also had a great weekend. The restaurant revenues were amongst the highest they had ever had. They added 15 new diners to their frequent diner program. Servers asked for, and received, these diners’ names, birthdays, anniversaries and a physical and an email address to contact them.

These 15 new diners could be sent emails and postcards which gave them a reason to return to the restaurant. These communications were special invitations to come back and included a free desert or a free entrée on their anniversaries or birthdays.

This restaurant owner knew that he would have busy times again. He knew his customers. He sent them marketing messages giving them a reason to return. And, from experience, he knew that a percentage would return bringing potential new restaurant diners.

Which of these two restaurant owners really had a great weekend? The second. He built profit AND wealth.

Now, the stories of two contractors:

The two contractors were located in different cities. They were similar in size, each generating more than $5 million dollars in revenues. Each contractor had 10 profitable years. The first contractor was thrilled with his profits over the 10 years. He saved his money and built his maintenance base. He grew maintenance clients and cash.

The second contractor was thrilled with his profits over the 10 years. He relied on the great economic times and didn’t focus on building his maintenance base. In addition, those 10 profitable years gave him great vacations, great second homes and other “big boy toys.” He turned the profits into cash and spent the cash. He didn’t save any money.

The economy tanked. The first contractor, who had built the wealth (i.e. maintenance base and cash savings), survived the downturn. It was a rough two years. The company had to cut costs and use some of the cash they had saved to survive. Most of the maintenance clients stayed clients. They repaired rather than replaced equipment during the poor economic times.
The second contractor also had a rough two years. The company didn’t have the maintenance base to survive, nor did it have the cash to survive the two years. The company filed for bankruptcy at the end of the first year and went out of business, even though they had been a company with more than $5 million in revenues. The company didn’t have the wealth to survive the downturn.

Perhaps a great year should be defined not only in profits, but in how many new maintenance customers you added and retained. Maintenance customers are your future wealth and future profits. The more maintenance customers you have and retain, the wealthier your company is.
There are always economic ups and downs. Building profits and wealth is critical for survival. They are also critical to achieve your end game — whether it is to sell the business, turn it over to employees, or keep running it forever. Over the past 10 months I have written about the laws of profit. Over the next 10 months I will give you the laws of wealth. Implement both in your business to survive.

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About the Author

Ruth King has over 25 years of experience in the hvacr industry and has worked with contractors, distributors, and manufacturers to help grow their companies and become more profitable. She is president of HVAC Channel TV and holds a Class II (unrestricted) contractors license in Georgia. Ruth has written two books: The Ugly Truth About Small Business and The Ugly Truth About Managing People. Contact Ruth at ruthking@hvacchannel.tv or 770.729.0258.


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Service Lessons from an Alligator Farm

Originally posted by HVAC Business

In Palmdale, Fla., on Highway 27, there is a tourist attraction called Gatorama. After visiting with my family, I realized they provide a number of great lessons to help contractors enhance the service experience. It may seem like a stretch that a gator farm could change your business for the better, but to save you the trip to Florida and the farm, I’ll explain.

When you arrive at Gatorama, you enter through a retail store and get your first views of the lagoons filled with alligators of all shapes and sizes. It’s only $20 for adult admission ($10 for children), but they offer you other opportunities to enhance the Gatorama experience.

For example, children can wade in a small pool to learn how to catch a baby gator for an additional $10, or they can participate in a python encounter or meet an albino gator for another $10.
Throughout the day, a variety of staff members host informational gator shows and tell you stories and history about the goliath.

At the conclusion of the show, you can further enhance your experience by paying an additional $40 to participate in the face-to-face challenge, where a team member teaches an adult how to interact with a gator, with only a stick between you and the reptile.

You can feed the large gator whole chickens and really get up close and personal. This is an experience only for the real daredevils, and Will Purdue, the chicken baron from Arkansas, would be proud!
Maybe you prefer seeing the gators from above? As you walk over a wooden dock hovering over the gator-filled waters, a Gatorama team member will ask, “Would you like to feed the gators?”

Of course, the next logical question is, “How much is it?”

To which they respond, “For only $20, the gators will leap up to take the gator bait from your hands. They’ll fight each other for it.”

And if you say no, there are still signs around the park reminding you of the opportunity to purchase the food.

Well, who doesn’t like a gator fight? “I’ll take two bags of gator bait!” After the incredible display as I fed the gators, other visitors who initially declined the purchase were suddenly pulling out their wallets. It was a memorable and enjoyable experience and I left the park telling family and friends, “I just fed a ton of gators!”

Throughout the day, snacks and soft drinks, souvenirs and memorabilia were available to my family. It’s hot in sunny Florida, so of course virtually everyone in the park needed refreshments. By the time you’ve fed the gators, fed yourself and left the park, there was an upsell on the average ticket of nearly 150 percent of the entrance fee, but never once did I feel I was being sold things. That’s impressive.

Gator Bait

Now here’s the question: does your company offer such products or services that clients buy happily to enhance their experience and comfort, while also increasing your company’s profitability?
If not, perhaps it’s time to create your own version of gator bait. There are three easy take-aways for any savvy contractor who visits the gator farm.

Do you have the staff trained properly to ask the right questions? Staff should get to know your customers enough to know what matters most to their comfort. They can easily find opportunities to sell additional products, without making the customer feel they’re being upsold by a sleezy salesperson.

Gatorama strategically places a staff member to ask if you’d like to feed the gators as you walk over the gator-infested pools, that’s a value-add to the customer experience.

Those signs posted all over the park advertising the gator bait and other experiences available are a reminder that documentation of your offerings can help with the sale. Could you have a flyer or brochure serve as your gator bait sign?

Good marketing materials make your customers feel that you’ve done this before and you’re a professional at providing the service and the add-ons.

It’s important to note that the service experience was actually enhanced by the gator bait. Make sure that your offerings are actually important to your clients. Never make them feel like they’re just being sold unnecessary “stuff.”

Make sure your team is trained to provide the best experience when on a service call. Ultimately, that will keep your customers coming back and they’ll tell their family and friends, just like I told mine about the gator farm.

What Gatorama does for customers like me, you can do for your business and your customers. Learning more about your service clients and ultimately adding value to the call for your customers, while increasing your average ticket, that’s how you turn your company into a money-making machine.

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About the Author

Terry Nicholson is chief success officer and leading HVACR expert at PRAXIS S-10, the fastest growing success college for contractors. Visit praxiss10.com for additional information.

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