ACCA 2016 & The IE3 Expo Offered Innovative Solutions To Contracting Professionals

March 17, 2016

ACCA, the Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association, held ACCA 2016 and IE3: The Indoor Environment & Energy Expo at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, March 10 – 13, 2016.

The combined events drew more than 1,500 people from all over the country to North Carolina to learn how to increase their bottom lines, expand into new markets, and motivate their employees. Over the course of three and a half days they had opportunities to attend timely educational Learning Labs, MainStage keynote presentations focused on the big picture, the IE3 Expo, and a variety of networking social events.

The expo featured 27,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 200 exhibiting companies. 

During the 2016 event, ACCA announced a major change for 2017, when the event will become known as The IE3 Show, and will feature a completely new format and schedule based on input from contractors and exhibitors. Stay tuned for more announcements at

“The conference as a whole was great,” said Maggie Rodriguez of Global A/C & Heating in Palmhurst, Texas. “I love the learning lab speakers...They kept me interested and involved in their labs. They also covered areas that I had never really considered before, which was very refreshing.”

“This year’s MainStage events were really good and Carey Lohrenz was great,” said Paul Higman of GS Services LTD in Fort Collins. Colorado. “This year the learning labs were fantastic. And having a top-notch mobile app made the event easy to enjoy.”

“The programming was a nice mix of keynote speakers, learning labs, and forums; which gave a good variety to the day,” said Denise Webb of Welsch Heating & Cooling in St. Louis, Missouri. “I also really enjoyed the social time with the other contractors, because it gave me a chance to get some new ideas on a one-on-one basis and that is really beneficial to my company.”

“The speakers this year did a really great job and I really enjoyed all the learning labs I attended,” said Troy Lanz of Lanz Heating & Cooling Inc. in Champaign, Illinois. 

The conference featured over 30 different Learning Lab workshops assembled by a Conference Faculty of the nation's most successful contracting professionals. 2016 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 keynote session, Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat Pilot, shared her life lessons in "Fearless Leadership." She took her experience flying combat missions and made it relatable for everyday business owners. Following the MainStage, contractors lined up for a chance to meet with Carey at the ACCA Hub.

Tim Kight, a business visionary, sent attendees home with a new way to look at how they respond to every situation whether it be at work or at home. He gave contractors a reality check about what they can control and what they cannot on a daily basis. He shared the equation E+R=O or Event + Response = Outcome, and explained the six things that must be done in order to control the "R" (response) factor.

Some of the most important learning happened as contractors opened up and shared real-world experiences with each other. Again this year, the interactive "What's Your Problem?" MainStage let attendees ask questions of a panel of five contractors of varying type and size. The audience was treated to practical answers and lively discussion between host Vince DiFilippo of DiFilippo’s Service and the panelists: Rick Busby of Busby's Air Conditioning and Heating; Linda Couch of Parrish Services; Sam DeAngelis of Colorado Climate Control; Brian Hooper of MSI Mechanical; and Ray Isaac of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning. They covered topics ranging from the pros and cons of various contracting software packages, managing recurring service agreement payments, handling the slow season, and creating incentive programs for employees.

This year also featured a revamped CEO/Contractor Forum: Building Our Future. The event was moderated by Wade Mayfield of Thermal Services and was a "late night talk show" style event. It included a panel of eight top manufacturing executives: Chris Nelson, Carrier; John Galyen, Danfoss; - North America; Brent Schroeder, Emerson Climate Technologies; Pete Alexander, Goodman Manufacturing Co.; Gary Michel, Ingersoll Rand/Trane; Gary Bedard, Lennox Industries; Steve O’Brien, Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Cooling & Heating; and Mike Branson, Rheem Americas. Live polling took place during the sessions, during which audience members voted via the ACCA & IE3 Events app. Poll questions covered such topics as direct Internet sales, connected buildings, and certifications.

During the forum, Mayfield also polled the audience about its choice among the major Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. The audience's top pick was a tie, with approximately 30% for Ted Cruz and 30% for Donald Trump; 21% selected "None of the Above." 

The association recognized some of the top contracting companies in the industry with its 2016 Contractors of the Year program. Residential winner Welsch Heating & Cooling Company in St. Louis, Missouri, and commercial winner MSI Mechanical, Inc. in Salem, New Hampshire, were recognized at the opening and closing MainStages.

During the opening MainStage, Dan Burke of Goettl Air Conditioning in Tempe, Arizona was presented with the Skip Snyder Humanitarian Award for his work with a variety of philanthropic efforts including: creating the J. Duncan Goodrich Air Conditioning Technology Endowment, launching a Veteran’s Hiring Initiative for former military servicemen and women seeking employment, and donating equipment to Max’s Community Closet and St. Catherine of Siena School.

During the Legislative & Policy Forum, John Sedine of Engineered Heating & Cooling in Cedar Springs, MI, was 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.

During its annual Big Bang party, ACCA honored Warren Lupson of Silver Spring, Maryland, with the association's highest honor, the Spirit of Independence Award. From time to time this award is presented to an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the strength, success, and independence of HVACR contractors in the industry. Lupson was honored for his long time dedication and service to the industry as a contractor, a manufacturer representative, an industry association representative, and an HVACR instructor.

While ACCA & IE3 are open to the entire industry, not just the association's membership, ACCA takes advantage of the conference each year to conduct business with its Board of Directors and to change leadership positions annually.

At the close of the event during the annual "Big Bang" party, outgoing Chairman, Phil London of Thermal Concepts in Davie, Florida, turned over the top spot to incoming Chairman, Steve Lauten of Total Air & Heat Co. in Plano, Texas.

Lauten brings with him a powerful line-up of officers: Don Langston of Aire Rite Airconditioning & Refrigeration as senior vice chairman; Jerry Bosworth of Bosworth Air Conditioning as secretary/treasurer; and Eric Knaak of Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning, Steve Schmidt of Frederick Air, and Dan Weis of Weis Comfort Systems, as vice chairmen. London will remain on the executive committee for one more year as immediate past chairman.

London thanked the membership and the association for all the hard work that made his tenure as chairman so productive and successful. He stressed that contractors need to keep the FIRE burning to move the industry forward. FIRE stands for Faith, Integrity, Responsibility, and Enthusiasm.

When Lauten took the stage he thanked London, the rest of the Board of Directors, and the ACCA staff for helping him on his journey to be ACCA Chairman. He was full of energy as he encouraged attendees to be the voice of the association, because ACCA truly matters to everyone in the industry. He focused on how easy it is to join the association and that there has never been a more important time to be a member, because of the regulatory agencies trying to impose rules on the industry. These issues will be a main focus of his time as Chairman.

Next year's event will be a completely new program and format, known as The IE3 Show. The IE3 Show, presented by ACCA will take place March 20-22, 2017 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee and will feature: a completely new three-day schedule; technique-based workshops led by innovative contractors that will provide an “action list” to improve your business; and an expo that includes hands-on demos, interactive learning theater, skills competitions, new product introductions, and more. 

Make sure to save the dates March 20 - 22, 2017 for The IE3 Show at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit for updates.

Exhibitors should contact Tom Murphy at as soon as possible to reserve space for The IE3 Show 2017, as much of it was reserved during this year's expo.

For pictures of ACCA 2016 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.