SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. - The Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association heard some tough talk about their association, opportunities for the group and the acoustic properties of sheet metal during their annual meeting here.
Members came to the historic town of Safety Harbor, Fla., and the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa April 27-28 to learn about what’s new in their segment of the sheet metal industry.
While temperatures outside were comfortably in the mid-80s, some SPIDA members may have been uncomfortable with the straight talk of keynote speaker Richard Weylman. An author, business expert and popular public speaker, his presentation, “Growing Your Business in this Economy,” was not a standard motivational business speech, but one tailored to his spiral duct audience.
He told the audience that the group needs to do a much better job promoting itself and its product.
“We have got to get out to the engineering community,” Weylman said. “We have to articulate the value of spiral. People need to understand the advantages - not just the features.”
In the course of preparing for his presentation, Weylman said he had his assistant research the group, but didn’t come up with much. And that’s a problem.
“What scares me is people are unaware of what you do,” he said. “Being in the marketplace is not enough.”
InfluenceNow is a good time to expand your influence, Weylman said. Regardless of which party controls the White House or Congress after the fall elections, a major infrastructure bill is expected to be passed. SPIDA members need to get their share of that work.
He urged the group to increase its visibility through social media like YouTube and a more informative website.
“I just think like a marketer. That’s all I’ve ever done,” he said. “Spending time is more important than spending money.”
He encouraged members to do things such as sponsoring a lunch for location chapters of industry groups such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
“Personally visit your best customers,” he suggested. “It’s a great way to evaluate their importance.”
Make your association more visible. The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” has been replaced by “Out of sight – out of business,” he said.
While you’re making new contacts, don’t think of them as just potential SPIDA members.
“Focus on ‘friend-raising,’ not just sales,” Weylman said.
Research projectsIn other meeting news, Bob Reid, SPIDA’s technical director and president of Tangible Products, announced that the group has created a tolerance standard for the inside diameter of spiral duct. It is also still working on a flat-oval duct construction standard.
“We’re testing a lot of duct,” Reid said. “We’re going to be very active in this project as it goes through.”
Members also heard from Larry Pearson of Panoramic Building Performance Solutions about what special considerations are needed when cleaning spiral duct. Pearson is a National Air Duct Cleaners Association member.
Other presentations included one from Brian Kaupp, vice president of Southern Independent Testing Agency Inc. and a member of the Associated Air Balance Council. Kaupp discussed duct leakage as it relates to testing and balancing.
Eugene “Smitty” Smithart, P.E., director of Trane’s systems and solutions division, explained how SPIDA and Trane could work together to ensure variable air-volume HVAC systems don’t lose market share to ductless products.
And Lily Wang, Ph.D., P.E., an associate professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s architectural engineering school, explained why school HVAC systems and ductwork are important to pupils’ learning.