Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


President’s Column – A partnership with labor can make a difference

Apr 2, 2018

Jack Knox 225x293pxWithout a doubt the HVAC industry is making a difference in the lives of people. By delivering an energy efficient product, our companies improve the lives of the American people time and time again.

Energy savings in hospitals improve treatment quality and lower medical costs for patients. In schools, every dollar not spent on energy is a dollar that can go toward a child's education.  In factories, money saved on energy can increase productivity and competitiveness, and the list of examples like these goes on and on.

We must not lose sight of the vital role SMACNA members play in improving people’s quality of life. As leaders in energy innovation each time one of us steps on a jobsite we have the ability to make a difference.

Oftentimes at home, at the dinner table I challenge my children by asking what are they doing to be difference-makers in their school, their community, and the world? Sometimes I get blank stares and sometimes we engage in an enlightened conversation.

I ask my employees the same question: What are they doing to make a difference in our company, their lives, and in our community?

Recently, SMACNA and its labor partner SMART met in Orlando, Florida, at the Partners in Progress Conference and focused on strengthening our labor-management relationships. There I had the opportunity to make this challenge again: What are we doing to make a difference?

During this two-day conference, we tackled some tough industry-wide problems, among them: multigenerational communication, manpower shortages, market opportunities, substance abuse, and even suicide prevention. All were opportunities for each of us to make a difference and show we care.

We put our labor and management talents to work in regional brainstorming sessions discussing plans and ideas to elevate our partnerships and make them more productive. Each labor-management team received a homework assignment: Take one idea from the conference, hold a meeting, and report back to the Best Practices Task Force by May 1. This is another way we can make a difference.

I am proud that SMART and SMACNA are committed to breaking new ground and strengthening our labor-management partnerships. 

As leaders in energy innovation, a strong partnership with labor means our companies will perform and deliver a more efficient product at every level. Our partnership with labor has a more direct impact on the lives of the American people than we ever imagined. I like to call it, being “difference-makers.”


Jack Knox
SMACNA President