New Horizons Foundation studies include investigation of home centers.

CHANTILLY, Va. - The impact of stores like the Home Depot and the effects of a possible merger of the Sheet Metal Workers and another union are two topics that the New Horizons Foundation will explore as part of its research agenda for 2005.

In announcing the new projects, foundation board Chairman George L. "Butch" Welsch said, "We have outstanding research partners for each project. The work that we will accomplish together has long-range implications for the future of our industry."

The foundation's Summit Challenge Council selected four projects for this year:

  • Channel Disruption by the Home Centers and its Potential Impact on the Union HVAC Industry.

  • How Listening to the Customer's Voice Can Increase Customer Loyalty.

  • Investigating Interoperability (construction communication) Initiatives.

  • The Impact of an SMWIA Merger or Consolidation.

"Our Industry needs to stay ahead of the game at every turn," said Ron Rodgers, the foundation's chairman emeritus. "We need to understand and apply new technologies, new approaches to labor, and new ways to engage and attend to our customer base. We believe these projects are outstanding examples of how our foundation is serving sheet metal and HVAC contractors across the country."