ACCA 2015 Inspired Fresh Ideas for Contractors

March 26, 2015

ACCA, the Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association, held ACCA 2015 and the IE3: Indoor Environment & Energy Expo at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, March 16 – 19, 2015.

ACCA 2015 and the IE3 Expo drew over 2,000 indoor environment professionals from all over the country to Texas to learn ways to increase their bottom line, expand into new markets, and find ways to motivate their employees. Over the course of three and a half days they had opportunities to attend timely educational learning labs, MainStages focused on the big picture, the IE3 Expo, and a variety of social events.

What Contractors Said About ACCA 2015

“I had no clue what I have been missing out on by not being a member of ACCA and not attending the conference,” said Bilal Farooq, president of Tameer, Inc. in Franklin Square, New York. “I met so many people who were willing to share everything they know with me to help me build my business. I learned so much in Texas that I will never miss another ACCA conference.”

“The keynote speakers at ACCA 2015 were second to none and my mind was completely blown away by both Michael Gerber and Lowell Catlett,” said Sam Wakefield of Winkelman Heating and Air in Dumas, Texas. “Add to that the quality of exhibitors in the expo and my team is ready to go back and run with all the information we gathered at the event.”

“ACCA 2015 was once again a great opportunity for me and my business partner to get away from the office and strategize on what we need to do to improve our company,” said Michael Linton of Accurate Mechanical, Chillicothe, Ohio. “We met so many great contractors that we wouldn’t have if we had stayed home. It’s always a great investment, because we get to recharge and learn how to work on our business to keep it growing.”

Conference Highlights

Over 30 different Learning Lab workshops assembled by a Conference Faculty of the nation’s most successful contracting professionals. 2015 offered a lineup of programs that received rave reviews from attendees in seven different tracks: Leadership, Commercial Contracting, Residential Contracting, Business Operations, Radiant and Hydronics, Quality Assurance, and Building Performance.

During the kickoff MainStage, economist Lowell Catlett had attendees laughing and scribbling down notes on his honest assessment of the country’s current and future economic state. Catlett is optimistic about the economy, and its impacts specifically on the HVAC industry. From changing agricultural needs to the needs of an aging population, he explained exactly how contractors should prepare to meet new opportunities.

Legendary business guru Michael Gerber addressed the ACCA conference during a MainStage on March 18. The author of the worldwide bestseller The E-Myth, held attendees rapt as he described how to work “on” your business, not in it. He’s the man who coined the phrase! After his speech contractors lined up for a chance to meet Gerber and talk with him at the IE3 Expo.

Some of the most important learning happened as contractors opened up and shared real-world experiences with each other. New this year, an interactive MainStage called “What’s Your Problem?” let attendees ask questions of a panel of six contractors of varying type and size. From getting new leads to managing employees, from new service expansion to dealing with legalized marijauna, the audience was treated to practical answers and lively discussion between host Bobby Ring and the panelists: Linda Couch of Parrish Services; Vince DiFilippo of DiFilippo Service; Tim Gray of Frigi-Temp Temperature Solutions; Ray Isaac of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning; Wade Mayfield of Thermal Services; and John Michel of Haller Enterprises.

Also answering questions directly from the audience were senior executives from four major manufacturers: Lennox, Rheem, Johnson Controls, and Danfoss. This year’s CEO/Contractor Forum, sponsored by the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS, addressed topics like universal diagnostic protocols; regional efficiency standard enforcement plans; the DOE’s recent proposal to move the a nationwide 92% AFUE furnace standard; alternative refrigerant options; alternative energy products; and the need for the entire industry to work together as one voice speaking on regulations and laws that will affect the industry.

Expo Highlights

This year the IE3: Indoor Environment & Energy Expo featured 25,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 200 exhibiting companies. The expo also drew over 2,000 contractors to browse the vendors’ booths.

“The IE3 Expo brought us together with contractors who are truly interested in new technology and were looking for ways to differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace,” said Mike Weinberger, executive vice president sales & marketing of SunTrac Solar Manufacturing, LLC. “We had been looking forward to attending the event to roll out our products and it was a tremendous success for us.”

“ACCA put on a first class trade show this year and it was the best we have ever exhibited at,” said Lisa Schardt, business development manager of NEXSTAR Network. “There were so many smart and engaged contractors that were ready to learn more about what our company has to offer them. We can’t wait for 2016!”

Honors and Awards

The association recognized some of the top contracting companies in the industry with its 2015 Contractors of the Year program. Residential winner GAC Service in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and commercial winner Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors in Watertown, New York, were recognized at the opening and closing MainStages.

During the CEO/Contractor Forum, Brian Hooper of MSI Mechanical Systems in Salem, New Hampshire was presented with the Skip Snyder Humanitarian Award for his work with Building Dreams for Marines.

During the Legislative & Policy Forum, Steve Saunders of Tempo Mechanical in Irving, Texas, as presented with ACCA’s Distinguished Service Award for his hard work and dedication to moving the industry forward through his volunteer efforts on the local, state, and national levels.

New Leaders

While the ACCA conference and IE3 expo are open to the entire industry, the association takes advantage of the conference each year to conduct business with its Board of Directors and to change leadership positions annually.

At its meeting on March 15, prior to the start of the conference, the Board approved a new membership structure for the association, initiating “Open Membership” nationwide. Currently, in about 40% of the country, contractors are required to join ACCA in order to join an affiliated state and/or local contracting association, and vice versa. Under Open Membership, contractors will be encouraged to belong to national, state and local organizations where they exist but the dues will no longer be combined into one billing. In their announcement to members, 2014-2015 Chairman Dave Kyle and 2015-2016 Chairman Phil London wrote that the change will allow organizations to innovate and serve contractors better at all levels.

At the close of the event during the annual “Big Bang” party, outgoing Chairman, Dave Kyle of Trademasters Services Corp. in Lorton, Virginia, turned over the top spot to incoming Chairman, Phil London of Thermal Concepts in Davie, Florida.

London brings with him a powerful line-up of officers: Steve Lauten of Total Air and Heat Co. as senior vice chairman; Don Langston of Aire Rite Airconditioning & Refrigeration as secretary/treasurer; and; Jerry Bosworth of Bosworth Air Conditioning; Steve Schmidt of Frederick Air; and, Matt Todd of Entek Corporation as vice chairmen. Kyle, of course, will stay on the executive committee as immediate past chairman.

Kyle thanked the membership and the association for all the hard work that made his tenure as chairman so productive and successful. He stressed the importance of hiring veterans and announced that ACCA is working on new tools and resources to help contractors recruit military veterans as employees.

London then took the stage and gave a rousing presentation about inspiring the FIRE inside every ACCA member. FIRE stands for Faith, Integrity, Responsibility, and Enthusiasm, all of which London believes the association leadership and members need to have to continue moving the industry forward. He promised that as Chairman of the ACCA Board of Directors that he would be the driving force behind F.I.R.E in ACCA.

Heading Into 2016

Building on the success of ACCA 2015 and the IE3: Indoor Environment & Energy Expo, ACCA has already started planning for 2016 when contractors will meet at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. A record number of contractors registered on-site for next year’s event, and three lucky contractors who registered for ACCA 2016 while in Texas will be selected to win some great Charlotte prizes including gift cards to restaurants and tours of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Exhibitors should contact as soon as possible to reserve space for 2016, as much of it was reserved during this year’s expo.

Make sure to save the dates March 10 – 12, 2016 for ACCA 2016 and the IE3: Indoor Environment & Energy Expo at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ACCA host hotel will be The Westin Charlotte. Visit for updates.

For pictures of ACCA 2015 and the IE3: Indoor Environment & Energy Expo visit ACCA’s Flickr page at Videos and interviews from the event are available on ACCA’s YouTube page at


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ACCA is a non-profit association serving more than 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the indoor environment and energy services community. Our member firms are the nation's most professional contracting businesses, serving residential and commercial customers in every state. With roots stretching back a century, ACCA was incorporated in its present form nearly 50 years ago. Today, ACCA sets the standards for quality comfort systems, provides leading-edge education for contractors and their employees, and fights for the interests of professional contractors throughout the nation. Learn more about ACCA here.