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We’re All Getting Smarter

Originally published: 12.01.17 by Pete Grasso

For years, the industry has lamented over a supposed shortage of qualified technicians. But, as I’ve said many times, the companies who are successful, have great employees and never worry about filling an open technician position, aren’t worried about a shortage at all. That’s because they’re focused on hiring great people and training them to be great technicians.

There are plenty of great people out there willing to work, most of whom have never been an HVACR technician before ... but they’re willing to learn. Sometimes, it’s as simple as looking for people where you least expect to find them (How to Recruit Women Technicians).

Many successful contractors have said to me, “I can teach you how to be a great technician, but I can’t teach you how to be a good person.”

You could hire the most experienced technician in the world, but if they’re not a great fit for your company, then they simply won’t work out, and that’s why many companies are struggling to make good hires.

Contractors face many pressures today, from lowering energy consumption and reducing operating costs, to minimizing environmental impact and ensuring occupant comfort. It’s not enough to simply look at a building as a place to do business — organizations need the right insights and tools to reduce energy costs and emissions, but also ensure buildings are positively contributing to their strategic goals and outcomes.

One way to attract younger people to this industry is through technology. A year ago, on this very page, I wrote about the rise of smart homes as the biggest business opportunity for HVACR contractors (Educate Your Customer Base).

Over the last several years, there has been an explosion in smart-technology programs for the residential sector. Examples of this technology include learning thermostats and demand response. But their integration into existing residential energy efficiency programs has just started to be considered (read more about The Evolution of Smart Home Performance).

But, guess what — it isn’t just homes that are getting smarter. Commercial buildings, which for years have been at the forefront of connected controls and have influenced smart applications for residential equipment, are continuing to evolve.

A whole new class of engineers and technology-savvy students are looking for a career where they can learn and apply their skillset to a growing industry. And this is an opportunity for you.

As buildings and equipment get more intelligent, so too must the industry as a whole. I was reminded of this recently when I attended the bi-annual group sales meeting in San Antonio for Daikin Applied.

“At Daikin Applied, we believe your air can be doing more — for your business, and your people. Every day we aim to create better outcomes for our customers, so they can breathe easier. That’s what we deliver through Air Intelligence,” said Mike Schwartz, CEO of Daikin Applied Americas. “We’re changing the way we think about HVAC to create smarter, more configurable solutions that empower owners and managers to optimize building environments for their people.”

Throughout the course of that weekend, I had a front row seat as Daikin Applied promoted building management and operational best practices to help organizations optimize equipment and facilities.

I was also lucky enough to get a preview of the new, advanced commercial HVACR equipment that demonstrates its commitment to producing better air for end-users through the application of smart solutions.

It’s precisely this type of equipment and manufacturer support that is going to elevate and sustain this industry as we move further into the 21st century. Many industry manufacturers (and distributors and associations) continue to offer training and support for the contractor community.

As the industry continues to age — both in terms of equipment and personnel — it’s imperative to welcome in a new generation. One way to do that is to provide high-tech training.

There are plenty of smart, capable people out there looking for jobs. Get out there, find them and show them this is a cutting-edge industry in which they can have a long, lucrative career.



About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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