I recently had a chance to attend the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Detroit, one of four such events that took place across the country this year.

As you can read in the story that starts on page 6 of this month’s issue, the union-backed events were a chance for the construction industry to show off the jobs and skills it offers for the sustainable work force of the 21st century.

It had been a while since I covered one of the sheet metal events in Snips’ back yard, so I was happy to have a chance to talk to local officials in the industry.

After navigating the Renaissance Center - a maze of interconnected glass-sided silos along the Detroit River that currently serves as General Motors’ world headquarters - I found the HVAC session in one of the meeting rooms of the center’s Marriott hotel.

While I would have liked to have seen more people in the audience for “The Greening of HVAC Practices: Redefining Industry Strategies and Partnerships,” those who attended the May 11 session seemed really interested in the topic and the industry. I especially liked hearing the perspectives of architect Celeste Novak. Too often, it seems those who design buildings don’t seem to know much or care about what the contractors who work on the ventilation systems do. It was good to see someone from a different segment of the construction industry taking an interest in the sheet metal trade.

Mystery to many

Sheet metal and HVAC work is still a big mystery to much of the public. Events such as the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference are a chance to change that.

And if you want more information about the conference or those in attendance, be sure to visit the Snips podcast page at www.snipsmag.com/links/Podcast or our iTunes page, where we have an interview with several of the speakers at the conference.

Are you doing anything to promote the sheet metal industry in your area? We’re always interested in what readers are doing to bolster HVAC as a career choice - or just get more work. Email me at mcconnellm@bnpmedia.com and let me know.

The stories you see in Snips come from all sorts of places - press releases, news tips from readers, local newspapers and the Internet. In the case of this month’s cover story, it was an email alert for a Google News item that led us to discover Ronin Metal Masters, the San Francisco-based company that makes what surely is one of the world’s few sheet metal bicycles. Associate editor James J. Siegel - a San Francisco area resident himself - met with the three men who started the small company. He saw firsthand what kind of attention a unique bike can attract in a city that loves to ride as much as San Francisco.

I think it’s one of the more unusual stories we’ve had in a while. I hope you enjoy it.

The missing ‘link'

By the way, if you look at the table of contents, you might notice we have a new “widget” displayed. Along with the logos for Twitter and Facebook, we now have one for LinkedIn, the social media network aimed at professionals.

A little bit like Facebook without the focus on entertainment and finding long-lost friends, LinkedIn started in 2003. It allows members to establish “connections” - as opposed to “friends” to expand their professional and social circles. On our LinkedIn page, members can talk to each other and interact with Snips editors. If you have some ideas on what you’d like to see on our LinkedIn page, let us know.