Tons of studies have been done on how to increase Web site hits and usage. Of all of this research, one clear message stands out. Use of videos on your Web site (and with your social media posts), increase the rate of interaction with your site (and social posts.) You don’t need a high end studio to produce great videos. From instructional to testimonial, videos are easier to create than you might think. A simple Webcam or even a quality cell phone camera can create videos to share with your clients. There are many online (free) tools to help with video editing. YouTube offers a simple tool called Video Editor. One of the benefits of this is you can edit and post all in one spot. Videos should show your personality while engaging your clients. Keep them short, 2 – 5 minutes, and informative. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Humor is one of the best ways to engage your audience. We use a great online tool called Powtoon to create presentations, training videos, informational videos and more. There is free version available and it is easy to learn. So don’t be afraid to spend a little time creating some short clips about your company or team members. Even the most basic videos can go a long way to increase your Web presence.
ACCA, the nation’s largest association of indoor environmental systems professionals, recently published a great article urging manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment and controls to adopt universal communication protocols for “equipment commissioning and on-going diagnosis for the purposes of ensuring that HVAC equipment is properly installed and maintained.” Many manufacturers maintain proprietary protocols for communications, creating many different systems for technicians to learn and limited cross platform between different manufacturers’ systems.
Here is a link to the full article: ACCA Urges Manufacturers to Develop and Adopt Universal Communication Protocols
There are so many systems developed to help you manage your time. Problem is these systems manage “clock time” – or the 24 hours in a day. Unless your job and life are so structured that you can actually plan the day around every minute, clock time management is not very useful. “Real Time” management is the key to making the most of your day. And possibly relieving some of the stress of feeling like you have to manage every minute of clock time.
Real time is a mental process. We create real time. Real time drags or flies by. The good news is we can control real time because it is in our heads. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions.
Here is a link to the full article with 10 tips on how to manage your time. It’s worth your time to read it!
The annual Indy BackPack Attack kicked off on June 23 here in our hometown of Indianapolis. This initiative started in 1999 as a strategic community collaboration with Central Indiana organizations and businesses. The mission of the BackPack Attack is to collect school supplies to provide children the tools they need to succeed in school. According the their Web site, “It’s reported that 88% of the families in the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) system need help with basic school supplies.” Since 1999, BackPack Attack has collected more than 3 million school supplies. In 2013, this organization was able to help more than 45,000 students.
If you are in the Indy area, we encourage you to donate to this very worthy cause. You can learn more at Indy BackPack Attack, including items needed and drop off locations.
- All snowflakes have 6 sides.
- People buy more cakes, cookies and candies than any other food when a blizzard is forecast
- Chionophobia is a fear of snow.
- The average snowflake falls at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour.
- Snow is actually colorless. Light absorption gives snow its white appearance.
- An average snowflake is made of 180 billion molecules of water.
- A blizzard occurs when you cannot see more than a 1/4 of a mile, the winds are 35 miles an hour or more and the storm lasts for at least 3 hours. If all 3 are not met, it is just a snowstorm.
Stay safe and keep warm!
A fresh start – isn’t that what everyone wants at the beginning of a New Year? People crave a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin anew with no reminders or guilt about the past. Having an opportunity to start over again is a wonderful gift don’t squander it. This year, I urge service professionals to kick start their goal-setting and rational thinking potential by making more positive snack food choices. Yes, that’s right snack food. Monitor your sugar intake during the course of your workday. Lots of sugar may give you a quick energy boost, but the effect soon wears off leaving you more tired, irritable, anxious or depressed.
The US Food and Drug Administration Dietary Guidelines recommend choosing foods and beverages with little added sugars. Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to foods and beverages in processing or preparation, not the naturally occurring sugars in fruits. Major sources of added sugars in the American diet include regular soft drinks, candy, cake, cookies, pies, and fruit drinks. Sugars such as fructose, sucrose, honey or corn syrup–are metabolized in the same way. Likewise, the sugar found in a banana and that in a can of soda are both digested similarly but the banana contains added benefits. The main difference is that most soda and candy are nutritionally empty, whereas the banana contains fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Bananas are handy, easy to carry (about the same size as a candy bar) and they have tremendous health benefits. But wait – it gets even better. A banana also contains an essential amino acid called Tryptophan which our body converts into serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate a person’s feelings and it enables a person to make rational decisions. Service professionals who make rational decisions are more likely to experience heightened self-esteem and career advancement – all that from a banana. Improved mental health is the required catalyst which can set your goal setting activities into motion.
Do not procrastinate when it comes to your physical and mental health. So the next time you reach for that thick caramel or cream filled candy bar, pause and consider the implications. This year, choose healthier snack foods and reap the rational thinking and health benefits which will help you achieve your goals. Happy New Year!
Information provided by Bobby Ring (President/CEO of Meyer & Depew)
As you know, Hurricane Sandy slammed New Jersey and New York late last month. Last week I traveled to meet with several contractor members in areas of New Jersey and New York that were devastated. Several of the employees of these members LOST EVERYTHING – their homes were destroyed and all of their possessions were lost. Members also reported having storm surge in their shops and offices from 4 feet to more than 8 feet. Computer systems, plasma cutters and inventory were all destroyed. Initial FEMA estimates show that more than 72,000 businesses and homes were battered by the storm in New Jersey alone.
The purpose of my visit to these contractors last week was to distribute financial assistance from the ACCA Disaster Relief Fund. This fund was established following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and it depends upon folks like you to help keep it going.
If you had a great year and were spared the wrath of a natural disaster (we had a hurricane, minor eartth quake and a Nor’easter 12″ snow storm all within 10 days in NJ/NY) then I’ll hope you’ll consider making a non-tax deductible donation to ACCA’s Disaster Relief Fund so ACCA can continue to provide assistance to ACCA members and their employees.
Follow the link below to make your contribution today. THANK YOU.
Donate Now! acca.org
By making a non-tax deductible donation to ACCA’s Disaster Relief Fund, you are helping ACCA provide assistance to ACCA member contractors who have been significantly impacted by natural disasters.
Jackson Systems is proud to be an ACCA Corporate Partner. Thank you to ACCA for their efforts to help. At Jackson Systems, giving back to others is a huge part of who we are. So we ask you to join us and encourage everyone to help make a difference.
The new EMS App was developed in partnership with you, our commercial customers who range from HVAC contractors and distributors, to facility managers and business owners. The EMS App was created to provide you with a simple and easy way to monitor and control all of your EMS and EMS Si thermostats while on the go.
With the ecobee EMS App, you can be more responsive to your tenants, employees and customers, address problems quickly, decrease the number of expensive on-site service calls and increase your overall efficiency.
Some exciting features of the EMS App we think you will enjoy include:
Watch List – you can create a custom watch list of thermostats to quickly keep tabs on priority spaces and locations with repeat issues.
Alerts List – conveniently summarizes all current issues and maintenance actions, allowing you to address problems immediately.
Access On the Go – you will gain remote visibility into each of your ecobee EMS/EMS Si thermostats and have the ability to make simple adjustments.
Click here to download the App!
Meet Matthew Blaylock, the latest grant recipient of the Joseph Groh foundation, an organization Jackson Systems supports each year.
Most of us take for granted the freedom of mobility that our motor vehicles provide us. For many who become disabled however, the one-two punch of loss of income coupled with the cost of specialized transportation is difficult to overcome.
Please take a minute to read Matt’s story and consider how great of a difference a community can make in one person’s life.
We hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
After Matt graduated from high school in Leesville, South Carolina, he decided to pursue a career as an electrician. He became a licensed, bonded and insured residential electrician in the state of South Carolina, and has been working in that capacity for the past 13 years. As an electrician, Matt ran wiring for new homes and performed work in pre-existing homes. He completed electrical projects ranging from vacuum systems to alarm systems and home automation. He also was involved in building home theater systems from the ground up. On a hot summer day in 2011, Matt decided to join some friends for an afternoon on the water, having been on a job that morning. He was looking forward to relaxing and cooling off.
When Matt dove into the water, he hit his head on the bottom, breaking his neck at the C-4/C-5 vertebra.
As a result of the accident, Matt is now a quadriplegic. Like most newly paralyzed individuals, Matt had reoccurring issues that caused him to regularly seek medical attention. The accident however had devastated his finances and he had no independent way to get to these appointments. He had to either rent handicapped accessible vehicles or use an ambulance for more severe issues. Living in a rural community east of Columbia, South Carolina made that a difficult and expensive proposition. He needed a vehicle but finances stood in the way.
Matthew’s aunt lives in Frisco, Texas and as it happens, one of the members of her church is a friend of the foundation who introduced him to the Joseph Groh foundation. Handicapped accessible vehicles generally rank high on the list of needed items for newly disabled individuals, but they can also be very expensive. The demand for affordable and reliable transportation is high, so when a suitable vehicle is found action must be taken quickly.
Due to the generosity of supporters, the foundation was able to act quickly when Matt’s parents found the right van.
Following receipt of the vehicle Matt wrote, “My family and I cannot thank you enough for all your help. This was my most pressing need as I have had major difficulties getting to doctor appointments etc. Thank you so much for this van.”
The Joseph S. Groh Foundation is dedicated to providing financial support to employees, former employees, family members of employees and former employees of the construction trades industry (plumbing, HVAC, electrical, roofing etc.) who have suffered permanent spinal cord injuries or other permanent and life altering disabilities. This charitable organization will not engage in any non exempt activity.
For more information on the Joseph S. Groh Foundation, please visit http://www.
ACCA, the nation’s largest organization of indoor environment and energy services contracting businesses, presented two back-to-back contractor events in Austin earlier this month: the first Building Performance Forum and the 5th Annual Service Managers Forum. Total attendance for the two events was the largest ever for ACCA’s fall meetings, with attendance up more than 45% over 2011.
New Building Performance Forum
The Building Performance Forum was held October 9 & 10. Contractors from across the country came to learn about the future of building performance and how to grow this particular service within their companies.
The event started with Nate Kredich of the US Green Building Council sharing how building performance has gained prominence on a world-wide stage and how it can change the way you do business. It wrapped up with a frank and humorous session with Doug Garrett of Building Performance & Comfort. He explained how the market is changing now and over the next 10 years, with growing customer demand for home performance services. In between, contractors chose from 12 different Learning Labs led by contractors and other experts, covering both introductory and advanced topics.
“The 2012 ACCA Building Performance Forum was very eye-opening,” said Mike Tucker, owner of Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating in Gaithersburg, MD. “There was a lot of great information in a short time frame. I believe this is an important step for my company and will help me achieve my company and personal goals.”
“I really liked the way the event was structured with tracks for beginners and more experienced contractors,” added Keith Paton of Ivey Mechanical in Kosciusko, MS. “The presenters were so willing to share the good and the bad stories about their experience and it gave a lot of reassurance that contractors can succeed. It was great to see how to get down the road to be successful.”
Rob Minnick, of Minnick’s in Laurel, MD, said of the forum, “It brought together so many contractors that were willing to ask questions and pick my brain for ideas. The networking was awesome and I’m really looking forward to doing it again next year.”
The event also included a Sponsor Showcase that allowed attendees to learn about new and innovative solutions to challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. “The sponsor showcase was great for us,” said Chris Boaz of Aeroseal. “I had the opportunity to speak with most of the attendees and left with several enthusiastic prospects. I look forward to future opportunities.”
The Building Performance Forum sponsors were: Aeroseal; CallSource; Comfort Institute; ComfortRX; Emerson; Everblue Training Institute; Federated Insurance; GreenHomes America; Honeywell; Jackson Systems; Mitsubishi; Thermostat Recycling ; Trane; and Ultra-Aire.
Stay tuned for details about the next Building Performance Forum atwww.buildingperformanceforum.com.
5th Annual Service Managers Forum
In its fifth year, the Service Managers Forum reached new levels of success, with the highest attendance in history. The day and half event brought contractors from 35 states together to learn and network on October 11 & 12.
The event kicked off with an upbeat and honest look at the different generations in the workplace with popular keynote speaker Bruce Wilkinson. He shared the traits of the different generations and how managers can get the most out of each employee by making small adjustments. There was also a special lunch session on October 11 where Bobby Ring of Meyer & Depew Co. in Kenilworth, NJ, talked about his experience working with NBC this summer on a “sting” operation that aired on the Today Show and Dateline. He showed the full clip from the Dateline airing and discussed with attendees how their companies can avoid being caught in similar situations, and also how they could use the broadcast in their own training programs.
12 Learning Labs covered a variety of leadership and management topics created especially for service leaders, from hiring the right people to motivating your employees, from creating consistent procedures to improving communications, and from maximizing the value of service agreements to implementing new technologies.
“The best part of the event is all the tried and true ideas people share with each other,” said Ken Marshall, service manager at Mark E. Meacham, Inc. in Charlton, MA. “This has been a great event to get me back into the business frame of mind.”
“I really had a good time and learned a lot from everyone I talked to,” said Robbey Moore, co-owner and vice president of Perkins Climate Control in Leesville, LA. “We are a small company and we like the information we get from this event.”
“This was my first Service Managers Forum and I didn’t know what to expect,” added Chase Rampey, service manager at Centex Mechanical, Inc. in Bastrop, TX. “I was recently promoted to service manager and have been wondering how I am going to adapt to my new roll, because it’s both exciting and terrifying. I had never considered asking for help from peers in the industry, but after attending the conference, I see that we are in this together as an industry. Finding people that are so willing to share information with each other helps dial down the ‘terrifying’ aspect of my new position. Thank you so much for the inspiration. I’ll see you guys at the next one.”
The Service Managers Forum also included a Sponsor Showcase where companies showcased products and services to help service managers increase productivity, improve workflow, and take advantage of new opportunities.
“I was very impressed with the open mindedness and support for technician training by ACCA members,” said Barney McClung of Everblue in Huntersville, NC. “I have always believed that the field technician is the key to great customer service and providing good quality training for the field tech demonstrates the commitment ACCA members have to their technicians and their customers.With the positive response we received at the event, we look forward to sponsoring more ACCA events.”
The Service Managers Forum sponsors were: 3M/Filtrete; AC Leak Freeze; Advanced Refrigerant Technologies; CallSource; Comfort Institute; Contractorselling.com; Data-Basics, Inc.; Davis Business Solutions Inc.; Emerson; Everblue Training Institute; Honeywell; Jackson Systems; Mitsubishi; Mobi; NATE; Nextraq; Service Automation; Thermostat Recycling; and Trane.
Learn more about this year’s event and get details about the 6th Annual Service Managers Forum at www.servicemanagersforum.com.
The ACCA is a non-profit association serving more than 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the HVACR community, who work together to promote professional contracting, energy efficiency, and healthy, comfortable indoor environments for all Americans. For more information, visit www.acca.org.
ACCA member Randy Weber of Pearland, TX, was elected to Congress this week. Weber will represent the 14th Congressional District after beating former Congressman Nick Lampson in the race to succeed retiring Republican Ron Paul.
Congressman-elect Weber tallied nearly 54% of the vote in one of the most watched races nationwide. While the recently redrawn district may lean Republican, Weber had to overcome an opponent who enjoyed a decided name recognition and fundraising advantage.
“This is a significant milestone for ACCA and small business HVACR contractors,” said Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA president & CEO. “It doesn’t matter where you live – even if you’re far away from Randy’s district – electing an ACCA member to Congress means one of our own has a voice in every debate in the U.S. House of Representatives. Special recognition goes to all those ACCA members who helped get Randy Weber elected. ACCA-PAC, the only political action committee funded with the voluntary contributions of HVACR contractors, supported him and other pro-small businesses candidates.”
When he comes to Washington in January, Randy Weber will join an expanding “HVAC & Plumbing Contractor Caucus” in Congress. In Oklahoma, Republican plumbing contractor Markwayne Mullin was elected to Congress from the 2nd Congressional District, earning just over 57% of the vote. And in Florida, incumbent Republican Daniel Webster of Orlando, whose family HVAC business featured prominently in his campaign, was reelected by a 52-48 margin over Democratic challenger Val Demings.
Jackson Systems would like to share with you the story of William Penn Elementary IPS School #49, the least privileged of all IPS schools. At School #49 every teacher is invested in their students. They have to be, because they are the voice for those children. Many of School #49’s students are homeless, and many others live in foster care or group homes. Each year, the school has to report numerous cases of neglect, a chore that is truly heartbreaking.
William Penn administrators know that they have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students. They care for their students greatly and strive to help them overcome their many barriers. Below are just a few services School #49 does to help these less fortunate children.
100% free breakfast and lunch
English as a second language (48% of students are from non-English speaking families)
Homework assistance (many students have parents who are illiterate)
Social workers find Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance for many of the students
The Mary Riggs food pantry and Second Helpings provide dinner to many of the students’ families
Teachers sell nuts to buy school uniforms
Utility bill assistance
Midtown Mental Health has an office at School #49 to help students cope with everyday stress and living
Each year in December, Jackson Systems provides two classrooms with winter gloves, books, school supplies, fruit, stickers, candy and a classroom party. The kids love the fruit as they never have it at home and many have never even owned a pair of gloves. The children choose their own book, and for many, it becomes the first book they have ever owned. We then play games and provide juice boxes and a Christmas snack for the class. The grand finale is a snowball fight! Before the party, our staff makes snowballs out of white hosiery and quilt batting. The kids love it and it warms our hearts to be a part of their joy. Additionally, the two teachers are given a piece of technology (computer projector aka “Elmo”) to aid in the teaching process.
We have decided to take this program to the next level. Instead of only doing two classrooms, we are going to host a holiday party for the entire school this year. Our projected cost for the party is approximately $6,000. In addition, we would like to provide an “Elmo” brand visual aid projector to each grade level (K-6) at William Penn. Each Elmo projector costs approximately $900. The grand total of the entire project is $15,000.
Along with the financial commitment, a lot of work goes into preparing and giving the party. So we would be grateful for any volunteer time you could offer as well. We would welcome approximately 3 hours of time either helping in advance of the party or the actual day of the party.
Although there are assistance programs in place at William Penn, the school and its students are far from having the things they truly need to be successful. Jackson Systems is asking for your help in making this year’s Christmas tradition even more bountiful, rewarding, and memorable.
William Penn Elementary #49 is not just a school. It is home for many of its students. William Penn’s teachers do more than teach. They love their students and hope you will too. This is a big undertaking. It is our hope you will be able to assist us. Any donation of time or money is greatly appreciated.
Jackson Systems is joining The Heating and Air Conditioning Alliance of Indiana and its members by volunteering resources to provide heating assistance in Marion County. The program is designed to ensure that homeowners on fixed incomes have adequate and safe heating in their homes this winter. This year volunteers will be completing over 60 furnace clean-and-checks in just a few short hours on Saturday, October 6, 2012. This is the eighth year for this program and Jackson Systems is proud to have been a part of this important initiative since the very beginning.
Who will benefit from Bring the Heat on Saturday, October 6, 2012?
1) Homeowners in the city of Indianapolis who are on fixed incomes and who could not otherwise afford to have their heating systems cleaned and checked.
2) Homeowners in Marion County who are pre-screened through certain adult service agencies who are on fixed incomes and who do not have other financial resources. The work will consist of clean and checks on furnaces and if necessary repairing broken furnaces.
3) Not-For-Profit agencies in Marion County who service elderly and less fortunate people within Marion County.
Four Jackson Systems employees are donating their time and skills to help beat the heat. Work will include preventative maintenance and repairs on heating systems that are scheduled in advance of Saturday, October 6, 2012.
We are proud to announce that, once again, Jackson Systems received awards in three categories for The NEWS’ 2012 Dealer Design Award (DDA), including a Gold Medal in the Residential Controls category for the T-21 P™ thermostat, a Silver Medal in Ventilation Products category for the VCS Ventilation Control System, and an Honorable Mention in Contractor Services and Software category for The Filter Fetch™.
These winning entries were featured in the July 9 issue of The News and on the Dealer Design website. Included in the award was the coveted DDA trophies that will serve as reminders to our employees that they are a part of an organization dedicated to innovation and known for creating winning products. Being honored with a DDA is a testament that we are living up to our mission to provide the best quality and most contractor-friendly control products in the industry.
Established in 1926, The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS is the HVACR contractor’s weekly newsmagazine and is the industry’s most trusted and utilized direct communications link to the HVACR buyer. The Dealer Design Awards was created to recognize products designed to ease contractors’ daily workload. The judges evaluated installation, service and maintenance features. Approximately 30 contractor judges examined the 81 product entries and the 39 gold, silver, and bronze winners have been added to the pantheon of Dealer Design champions.
“The annual response we receive from vendors and contractors for the Dealer Design Awards program is amazing. This really is the only contest of its kind in the industry where only contractors make the decision about the award winners. The contractor judges enjoy participating because they can review some relatively new products in the market, thereby occasionally giving their own companies an advantage with some information that their competitors might not yet have,” said Kyle Gargaro, editor-in-chief of The NEWS. “I want to thank the manufacturers that entered their products and services.”
Jackson Systems is a little different than most family owned businesses. Tom didn’t inherit his father’s business. He helped start it.
In 1997, Tom and his father decided to combine strengths and go into business together. They started Jackson Systems and ran the company out of Ron’s third car garage. From the beginning, they knew their roles. Ron focused on designing new products and Tom was responsible for running the business. Bette, Ron’s wife and Tom’s mother, handled the company’s financials.
These roles haven’t changed much in the 15 years since they started the company. Ron continues to focus on design, and Tom is still responsible for running the business. Bette still works three days a week on the company’s financials. They even have more family in the mix now, including Tom’s older brother, Joe, his sister-in-law, his uncle, and his nephew. But just because they are family doesn’t mean they are getting any preferential treatment. They are held to the same standards as every employee at Jackson Systems.
After 15 successful years running a family business, Tom has a few recommendations for running a family business:
1. Make sure you set the company up right from the start. This means bringing in good legal advisors to help you make the right decisions.
2. Make sure ownership is clear. The earlier you address and agree on this, the better.
3. Make sure everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for and what role they play in the operations of the company.
4. Be open and up front. Communication is critical. This doesn’t mean you have to agree on every issue, but you do need to listen. This gives you the ability to make better, more informed decisions.
5. Know everyone’s exit plans. Start these discussions early so that you can guide the company accordingly.
6. Communicate with family member who are not involved in the business. It is important that they understand how the business is structured (ownership, etc.) and what will happen as family members in the business enter, leave, pass away, etc.
There is no doubt that running a family business presents a unique set of challenges, but the Jackson family seems to have it figured out. By playing to each other strengths, being open and honest and having a mutual understanding of expectations, they have made their family business a success.
Hear the full interview here.