ACCA Wraps Up High Energy & Impactful Conference and Expo

March 21, 2019

Employee recruitment and retention, Quality Installation training, managing opioid addictions and legalized marijuana, reducing distracted driving, digital marketing techniques, and leadership training were just some of the popular topics discussed by hundreds contracting professionals at the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) 2019 Conference and Expo.

The 2019 ACCA Conference and Expo took place from March 4-6 at Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. Nearly 1,000 individuals from across the United States and in Canada attended the Conference and Expo.

ACCA hosted federal and state policy makers responsible for HVAC efficiency programs. Daniel Simmons, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, offered a keynote address and toured the Expo to meet with manufacturers and contractors. Simmons discussed efficiency programs and the Trump Administration’s efforts to address concerns with lab-tested efficiency programs. ACCA also welcomed Dub Taylor, Texas State Energy Director, who is working with contractors on state-wide installation training programs funded by the Department of Energy.

During the opening plenary session, outgoing Chairman of the Board, Steve Schmidt, welcomed ACCA President and CEO, Barton (Bart) James, as ACCA’s new president and chief executive officer. Schmidt then spoke about ACCA’s ongoing strategic plan that includes a strong focus on member growth, business training, and continued thought leadership from ACCA.

Attendees then heard from talent management and leadership expert, Seth Mattison, for an interactive discussion on personal growth, reexamining leadership attributes, and defining who ACCA’s future leaders will be. Mattison also provided attendees complimentary copies of his latest book.

ACCA presented attendees with nearly 60 breakout sessions, including the ACCA Legislative Town Hall Meeting, the new ACCA Contractor University featuring 30-minute intense business lessons and 90-minute technical training sessions focused on ACCA’s new Low Load Homes Manual, Quality Installation Practices, and ACCA’s residential zoning manual, Manual Zr.

Some of the most widely-attended breakout sessions included “20 Great Ideas to Rob and Duplicate”, “Commercial HVAC Maintenance Sales and Estimating”, “Warranty and Service Contractors for Innovation and Growth”, “The Next Generation: It’s About Collaboration”, and the new Distributor Leadership Forum featuring executives from some of the largest distributors. The Distributor Leadership Forum presented contractors an open forum with distributors, like the ACCA Manufacturer CEO Forum of previous conferences.

ACCA also presented contractors with solutions to reduce risk and address the opioid crisis and marijuana in the workplace. Federated Insurance helped contractors through important steps to reduce distracted driving. Lytx® partnered with Federated on this important safety topic. Maria Taylor, business management editor, ACHR News, led an insightful discussion with contractors who have helped employees struggling with opioid addictions. The discussion also touched on managing the introduction of state-wide legalized marijuana.

Social events for contractors included the annual Contractor Party sponsored by Emerson, and the ACCA MIX® Group MIXer. Emerson’s Contractor Party was a Mardi Gras inspired festival staring Karl Zellmer as Master of Ceremonies.

The annual MIXer event attracted nearly 100 contracting professionals and was sponsored by XOi Technologies and Live Oak Bank. The MIXer enabled contractors to interview fellow contractors interested in joining an ACCA MIX Group. ACCA staff and Past-Chairman Larry Taylor, facilitated introductions and MIX Group development.

ACCA’s second plenary session featured Super Bowl Champion Darren Woodson. Woodson’s Creating a Winning Culture speech walked attendees through the four “Cs” in the workplace: complacent, compliant, committed, and compelled employees. His guidance on coaching complacent and compliant employees to become committed and compelled teammates proved to be a winning message for the contracting industry.

ACCA’s closing ceremony featured the induction of ACCA’s 2019 Board of Directors, led by Eric Knaak, ACCA Chairman of the Board. Knaak’s acceptance speech focused on ACCA’s work to lead a more collaborative industry, reinvigorate ACCA’s membership and volunteer leaders, and build stronger relationships with state and regional contracting associations, especially former ACCA chapters.

ACCA’s 2019 Board of Directors is: 
Senior Vice Chairman - Lanny Huffman, Hickory Sheet Metal, Hickory, NC, Secretary/Treasurer - Wade Mayfield, Thermal Services, Omaha, NE, Vice Chairman - David Boelcke, Boelcke Heating & Air Conditioning, Stevensville, MI, Vice Chairman - Keith Paton, Ivey Mechanical, LLC, Kosciusko, MS, Vice Chairman - Brian Stack, Stack Heating & Cooling, Avon, OH, Immediate Past Chairman - Steve Schmidt, Frederick Air, Inc., Frederick, MD, Linda Couch, Parrish Services, Inc., Manassas, VA, Tim Cropp, CroppMetcalfe Services, Fairfax, VA, Dan Foley, Foley Mechanical, Lorton, VA, Louis Fuentes, Air Conditioning Guys, Inc., El Centro, CA, Vince Gillette, Gillette Air Conditioning Company, Inc., San Antonio, TX, Martin Hoover, Empire Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., Decatur, GA, Eddie McFarlane, Haller Enterprises, Inc., Lititz, PA, Rob Minnick, Minnick's, Inc., Laurel, MD, Stephen Pape, Pape Service Co., Desoto, TX, and Michael Stanfield, Comfort Systems USA Southwest, Chandler, AZ.

Throughout the conference, ACCA honored the 2018 award winners for the National Contractor of the Year award, for residential and commercial contractors, the Federated Insurance-ACCA Super S.T.A.R. Award, the ACCA Distinguished Service Award, and ACCA’s highest individual honor, the Spirit of Independence.

For more information please contact Todd Washam, ACCA director of industry and external relations, at or 703-824-8864.


* * *  

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.