New Format of IE3 Show Offers Contractors Innovative Solutions

April 3, 2017

ACCA, the Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association, held the IE3 Show at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN, March 20 - 22, 2017. The event featured an all-new format and program, which allowed attendees more opportunities to learn, network, and grow as individuals and as an industry.

The  event drew more than 1,500 people from all over the country to Nashville 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. 


"This was my first time attending the event, and I was extremely pleased with the quality of the speakers and the expo," said Dan Wood, president of Dan Wood Company in Portage, MI. "I met a lot of good contractors and I got some great ideas that I can take back and implement. Plus, there was a top shelf mobile app for my smart phone and a professional team of staff ready to help. I will definitely be coming back."

"I was really impressed with the strong focus that the IE3 Show had on commercial contracting," said Lanny Huffman, president of Hickory Sheet Metal in Hickory, NC. "The high quality of speakers and the variety of topics covered made my investment in attending well worth it. It was also great to have a separate session with the CEOs for commercial contractors. All of the information was pertinent to my company, which made the session a more valuable use of my time. I'm already registered for the 2018 IE3 Show and I look forward to seeing what ACCA does for that event."

"Once again ACCA put on a great show," said Rob Archer, service manager of West Bay Mechanical in Victoria, BC. "I make the investment to come every year, because it is always worth it."

"The location and the people made the IE3 Show great this year," said Brian Stack, president of Stack Heating & Cooling in Avon, OH. "The presenters were fantastic, especially Jerry Rollins and Theo Etzel. And I really liked the new demo sessions, because they provided for easy question and answer time with vendors in a smaller, more personal setting."

"This year I made more connections than ever before during the conference," said Jim King of Power Engineering Corp. in Wilkes-Barre, PA. "The event was full of great sessions, and I particularly enjoyed the closing session. I am looking forward to seeing the accomplishments of ACCA over the next year."

The conference included more than 20 focused Learning Lab workshops featuring the nation's most successful contracting professionals. The IE3 Show offered a lineup of programs that received rave reviews from attendees covering: Commercial Contracting, Residential Contracting, Radiant and Hydronics, and Building Performance.

The event kicked off with a powerful MainStage presentation featuring Spike TV's Jon Taffer. The Bar Rescue host wasted no time telling contractors what they need to do to win more customers and keep the ones they already have. Having worked with hundreds of indoor environment contractors during his career, Taffer was talking from first-hand experience. The top keys to success he shared with attendees were: 

  • Contractors must figure out how to control the customers' response or lose them to competitors;
  • Contractors must control the digital space, because that is where everyone is looking for service providers; and
  • Contractors must differentiate themselves from the competition, because the average consumer sees every company the same, unless there is something unique that catches their eye.

Another of the most talked about events during the IE3 Show was the Contractor Makeover MainStage. Dozens of contractors applied for the Contractor Makeover Session that was led by ACCA’s “Dream Team” of contractors: Bobby Ring of Meyer & Depew Co. in Kenilworth, NJ; Wade Mayfield of Thermal Services in Omaha, NE; Tim Cropp of Cropp Metcalfe Services in Fairfax, VA; and Hugh Joyce of James River Air Conditioning in Richmond, VA.  

The Dream Team selected Clint Jones of Services Unlimited of Raleigh, Inc. (SURI) in Raleigh, NC. SURI is currently a 90 percent new construction and 10 percent replacement company, but Jones wants to transition away from SURI’s reliance on new construction. The Dream Team conducted a thorough review of SURI’s operations, marketing, staffing, and goals, and provided Jones with a sound strategy to help him complete his makeover. To ensure that Jones has the plans, resources, and the confidence to create change in his company, the Dream Team donated $2,500 worth of marketing materials from Nuke Digital, Emerson provided five of its home monitoring service kits, and Davisware donated $20,000 worth of software to SURI.  Emerson is an ACCA Corporate Partner and Davisware is a longtime ACCA supporter.

The Dream Team, and ACCA, will continue to check in with Jones and will share updates on his company throughout the year. At the IE3 Show 2018, the Dream Team and Jones will be doing a one year follow-up, as part of the Contractor Makeover Main Stage.

The IE3 Show, also featured an Expo Theater, which hosted two Contractor/CEO Ask the Experts Sessions - one residential and one commercial.

The Residential Ask the Expert Session was moderated by Dan Weis of Weis Comfort Systems in Fenton, MO, and featured eight top level executives from the country's leading manufacturers: Matthew Pine, VP of Marketing of Carrier Corporation; Matt Peterson, President and CEO of Fujitsu General America, Inc.; Larry Blackburn, Executive VP and President, Goodman Business Unit of Goodman Global Group, Inc.; AJ Smith, VP & GM Homes America of Honeywell; Liz Haggerty, VP and GM Unitary Products of Johnson Controls; Gary Bedard, VP and GM Residential of Lennox Industries; Steve O’Brien, VP Residential Business of Mitsubishi Electric; and Mike Branson, Executive VP & GM, ACD Operations of Rheem Americas. Topics discussed included the future of refrigerants; universal diagnostics, the fate of energy efficiency standards under the Trump Administration, and quality installation practices.

The Commercial Ask the Experts Session was moderated by Don Langston of Aire Rite Airconditioning & Refrigeration in Huntington Beach, CA, and featured seven top level executives from the country's leading manufacturers: Greg Alcorn, VP & GM Commercial Systems of Carrier; Kirk Thorne, Executive VP – Sales, Marketing & Aftermarket of Daikin Applied; Matt Peterson, President and CEO of Fujitsu General America, Inc.; Thurman Melson, VP/GM, Energy & Environmental Solutions of Honeywell International; Steve Maddox, VP Engineering, Unitary Products of Johnson Controls; Elliot Zimmer, VP and GM, North America Commercial of Lennox Industries; and Mike Branson, Executive VP & GM, ACD Operations of Rheem Americas. Topics discussed included the increased popularity of flammable refrigerants and the likelihood of them becoming a more viable option in the U.S., the status of universal diagnostics and the expansion of controls, energy efficiency standards and tax credits, and workforce development.

This year, ACCA recognized its award winners during the Industry Champions breakfast on March 21.

Some of the top contracting companies in the industry were honored with the 2017 Contractors of the Year awards. Residential winner Lee Company in Franklin, TN, and commercial winner James River Air Conditioning in Richmond, VA, were recognized during the breakfast.

Richard Dykstra of Dykstra Home Services in Crestwood, IL, was presented with the Skip Snyder Humanitarian Award for his work with a variety of philanthropic efforts including: preparing meals and feeding the homeless in Chicago; replacing rooftop HVAC units at the William Leonard Public Library in Robbins, IL, and the Journey Crisis Counseling Center in Mokena, IL, with donated equipment; and donating money and equipment to local schools and their sports programs.

Jack Bartell of Virginia Air Distributors in Richmond, VA, was presented with ACCA's Distinguished Service Award for his hard work and dedication to developing and promoting ACCA's standards, quality installation practices, and contractor accreditation.

New this year, ACCA and Federated Insurance teamed up to present the Super S.T.A.R. Safety Award. The new award honors an ACCA contractor member and Federated Insurance client who make managing their employee and customer risks a top priority in their company's success. Recipients have both leading programs and practices in place that focus on the four components that make up the S.T.A.R. acronym: Safety, Teamwork, Action, and Responsibility. This year's recipient Bruce Beckwith of Beckwith Heating & Cooling in Akron, OH, received the award due to his company's consistent and thorough commitment to proactively managing all on-the-job employee safety risks. Some of those programs include: pre-employment driving record screening; a drug-free workplace program that includes drug testing; GPS and back-up cameras installed on all vehicles; and weekly safety training programs. 

During the Big Bang party, ACCA honored Laura DiFilippo of DiFilippo's Service in Paoli, PA, 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. DiFilippo was honored for her continuous service to ACCA and the industry. As the first and only female Chairman of the ACCA Board of Directors, she led the association through changing times, and even after her term helped ACCA navigate changing to an open membership model.

While the IE3 Show is 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  Big Bang party, outgoing Chairman, Steve Lauten of Total Air & Heat Co. in Plano, TX, turned over the top spot to incoming Chairman, Don Langston of Aire Rite Airconditioning & Refrigeration in Huntington Beach, CA.

Lauten took the stage and looked back on a great year. He shared how proud he was to be at the helm of such a great association during a time of membership growth. He also spoke of the many successes ACCA has had over the past year of growing support for quality installation practices across the country.

He wrapped up his speech thanking his family, the ACCA Board of Directors, and the ACCA staff for all the support over the past several years.

When Langston took the stage he thanked Lauten, 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 shared his vision for the future of the HVACR industry. He spoke about the need for all members of the industry to step into their local middle and high schools and share the opportunities that the industry offers. He also said that the efforts cannot stop there, that contractors need to be talking to parents, guidance counselors, and anyone who is influencing young people to help them understand that our industry is a great place to find a career that will not burden young people with long-term debt. Langston vowed that workforce development and recruitment would be top agenda items during his year as chairman and encouraged everyone in the industry to join him on his quest.

Next year's event will be similar to the 2017 program and format, with some adjustments based on attendee feedback. The IE3 Show, presented by ACCA will take place February 12 - 14, 2018, at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. The programming will again feature Learning Labs for residential and commercial contractors, plumbing and hydronics contractors, and building performance professionals. It will also feature the Marketplace Festival with a theater and exhibitor demo sessions.

Visit for updates and to register for the event at the lowest possible rate. Make sure to save the dates February 12 - 14, 2018, for The IE3 Show at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C.  

Exhibitors should contact Tom Murphy at as soon as possible to reserve space for The IE3 Show 2018, as much of it was reserved during this year's expo. There are also sponsorship opportunities and demo session slots available, which will sell out quickly.

For pictures of the IE3 Show 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.