Sheet metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


President’s Column: Strategic Leadership: Where are we heading?

Feb 10, 2017

lansdell_152x200Many of us get caught multitasking throughout our day-to-day jobs and have no time to figure out where the market is heading, what new technologies are best, and which road will lead to corporate success. But being a SMACNA member has always had its advantages when it comes to predicting the future.

There’s no guesswork and no crystal balls because every four years or so SMACNA’s New Horizon Foundation conducts a Futures Study of contractors, architects, and specifiers of HVAC systems. The results provide a glimpse of what may lie ahead. The industry data we collect give us an idea of what “trends” we should take seriously.

One thing I found interesting in this year’s report is that the industry has changed more in the last five years than in the prior 30 years and that this pace of change will continue, something I can attest to.

A few more trends the report revealed include:

  • Owners will want HVAC contractors to provide asset flexibility, new approaches to manage regulatory unpredictability, and a capability to meet their tight schedule and budget needs.

  • Significant new national or statewide regulations mandating equipment change-out are unlikely in the next five years. This, in combination with relatively low energy prices, means that change-out of functioning but inefficient equipment will remain a limited driver of HVAC spending moving forward.

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) will expand into facilities management in the next decade. Larger owners are already requiring that their BIM models act as their facilities management operating systems.

  • The lack of a trained and flexible workforce is viewed as a threat by many contractors. However, those who have a well-trained and flexible workforce view it as a primary source of competitive advantage.

  • Contractors who can rapidly develop younger employees will have an advantage in the market in coming years.

This year SMACNA’s “The HVAC and Sheet Metal Futures Industry Study Update 2016” will form the foundation as our Association revisits its strategic plan. As SMACNA plans for our future. I urge you to review the information in the report and apply it to your company.

A focused organization is more meaningful to its Board members and energizes the leadership and members. The same holds true for your company. Pick up a copy of this report and see how it applies to your firm.


Joseph Lansdell
SMACNA President