Editor's Page: Snips gets in gear as contractors' busy summer season ends
September 1, 2006
I can't believe summer is almost over - unofficially, at least.
While the calendar still says it's summer for another three weeks or so, many people consider Labor Day the season's end, since school will be back in session and many districts start even earlier - in mid- to late August.
Warm days are not unusual in September, but the evening chill lets you know that summer really is in the past. This means many HVAC contractors should get at least a short break from the busy days of summer. This year's record heat in many parts of the country kept many contractors working, I'm sure.
But while contractors may be getting a break, for Snips, our busiest time of year is just beginning. Fall means Snips will be resuming its trade show travel schedule. Starting with next month's issue, you'll be reading about upcoming shows such as Metalcon, Fabtech and the AHR Expo. And a few months after the event, we'll have our post-show reports, full of new products and recaps of seminars.
I wouldn't want to boast that our post-show articles are the next-best thing to attending the show themselves, but we know many readers rely on our articles to find out what happened at shows they couldn't attend.
With our new monthly e-newsletter, I'm hoping to give readers who subscribe to it even more trade show news. If you're not receiving the Snips e-newsletter, go to www.snipsmag.com and click on the "e-News" icon on the right side of the screen.
LettersEducators unaware of opportunities industry offers
Articles in the June issue of Snips, including your editorial, emphasized the critical need for attracting young people into the HVAC industry. This has long been a concern of mine as well.
Part of the problem is that most teachers and counselors have never experienced working full time for long periods on challenging jobs that required hard physical labor, careful planning, critical decision making and immediate responsibility.
Many academic teachers and counselors have only a vague idea what a sheet metal worker does, and they have no idea of the varied, high-paying and exciting jobs in the HVAC industry. Nor do they understand the high technical knowledge and responsibility that these careers require.
We need to dispel the myth that a college education guarantees a well-paid job. Many college grads are earning less than skilled workers in the construction trades. In addition, a college student pays big money for four years of training and then starts at an average salary of $30,000 a year.
On the other hand, a sheet metal apprentice is paid for four years of training, starting at about $30,000 per year, and receives a raise every six months. At the end of four years of well-paid training, the sheet metal worker becomes a journeyman at a top salary. In some areas of the country, sheet metal and HVAC technicians are earning over $50 an hour in salary and fringe benefits - that's around $100,000 a year.
We should also spread the word that experience in HVAC can open the door to many other careers. Lama Books has published Careers in the HVAC Industry. It is ideal for communicating HVAC career opportunities.
Leo A. Mayer