For its 2015 convention, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America has a new slogan. The residential HVAC market group is calling its event this month “the business solutions conference for indoor environment contractors.”DallasSuburb_IN

The convention will take place March 16-19 at the Gaylord Texan resort in Grapevine, Texas, near Dallas.

Officials say the meeting, which includes the Indoor Environment and Energy Expo, is the largest such educational event for HVAC construction contractors.

“ACCA’s conference brings so many contractors together in one place to learn, share and grow together, which ultimately makes the entire industry more professional,” said Paul T. Stalknecht, the association’s president and CEO.

For 2015, the association has categorized many of its “learning lab” educational sessions into seven tracks: residential contracting, commercial contracting, business operations, building performance, leadership, radiant and hydronics, and quality assurance.

 Besides the specialized sessions, organizers have scheduled “MainStage” events March 16-18 where a session aimed at all ACCA members will offer business insights or just a chance to discuss problems. DallasSuburb2_IN

Sessions preview

Here is a closer look at some of the sessions and topics scheduled for the event.

The conference opens at 10 a.m. March 16 with a presentation by “futurist” Lowell Catlett, a New Mexico State University professor who has spoken to ACCA members several times. This year marks his first appearance in five years.

Catlett’s presentation will explore how the world has changed in the past five years, where it’s going in the coming decades and just what that means for HVAC construction companies. Expect a high-energy speech with a lot of humor, ACCA says.

At 2:30 p.m., Vince DiFilippo of DiFilippo’s Service Co. will explain “Residential Installation Productivity” as one of the meeting’s association “learning labs.” DiFilippo will explain how he is able to perform HVAC retrofit work with just a two-person crew.

Longtime HVAC training expert James Graening will tell attendees why they should “Differentiate Your Commercial Service Business by Selling New Technologies” at 3:45 p.m. March 16. Building automation, so-called smart products and solar thermal technologies offer opportunities for many HVAC market contractors, Graening says.

Former ACCA Chairman Bobby Ring of New Jersey’s Meyer & Depew Co. will explain “How I Grew My Business by Taking More Vacations.” If that sounds like the way you’d like to manage your business, you might want to attend Ring’s session at 3:45 p.m. March 16. Ring will explain the importance of delegating responsibilities to staff.


At 10 a.m. March 17, the annual CEO/Contractor Forum will allow members to discuss issue with executives for some of the major HVAC market manufacturers.

“The New Normal: Mechanical Systems for HVAC Control” will be held at 2:30 p.m. March 17. Part of the building performance track, Kimberly Llewellyn of Positive Energy will explore why moisture control systems are needed for today’s tightly sealed, well-insulated buildings.

At the same time, Ray Isaac of Isaac Heating & Cooling Inc. will reveal “10 Things You Need to Know to Run a Successful HVACR Business.” Isaac runs a third-generation family business in Rochester, N.Y. Budgeting, management styles and marketing are among the topics he will talk about.

At 8:30 a.m. March 18, attendees will have an opportunity to learn about “Thriving in Any Economy” from Greg McAfee of McAfee Air. He says he started his company with only $274 and a used service truck. McAfee will explain what HVAC construction contractors need to survive in any economic conditions.

You might think Joe Medosch’s 2:30 p.m. March 18 session would be about ductwork fabrication with a title like “The Most Forgotten and Largest Duct System in the House,” but there’s an ellipsis: “… the Envelope.”

This session will explore the sizing calculations and other issues covered in the ACCA’s Manual J.

Also at 2:30 p.m. is a session with Bill Spohn of TruTech Tools Ltd. He will explain how to determine if a unit should be replaced or just repaired, and how to explain that to customers.

For this year’s closing festivities, the annual chairman’s banquet has been replaced with “The Big Bang,” a less formal event that will feature bars, food stations and a chance to relax with industry peers.

More information and registration details for this year’s conference are available at