Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

President’s Column: Developing Our Strengths by Learning from Each Other

Dills-0418rtcolorHow do we improve the way we work in our shops? How do we know what works and what doesn’t, what new shop technologies to test and what not to waste our time on, and what’s a good investment and what should we avoid at all costs? Most of the answers to these questions come from reading industry publications, attending educational programs or, perhaps most often, by talking to other contractors.

Whether through the establishment of a peer group, or your local chapter, engaging your fellow contractors for information is a wise strategy of which many in our industry should take more advantage. I, for one, highly value the interaction I have with local contractors as well as those I have met while traveling this year. Over a lifetime, I have learned that the more contractors I talk to, the smarter I am in running my business.

In SMACNews this month, we share with you several contractors you will want to keep an eye on to see what they’re doing right.  In a debut feature fittingly called “Contractors to Watch,” SMACNA National has taken feedback and recommendations from chapter executives and shares with readers the contractors that have stood out for one reason or another. Some are laser-focused on what needs to be accomplished, while others are highly active in their communities. Still more build strong relationships while some simply stand out because of how hard they work.

Regardless of their collective success, all the contractors featured have developed a skill or strength that helps them make a difference each and every day.

As I read through the article, it occurred to me we should all develop our own strengths to the point where we stand out. Being complacent is not what our industry needs or wants right now. Words like “content,” “routine” and “comfortable” should not be our descriptors. Rather, “innovative” and “growth-oriented” should be the words we use every day as we leverage competitive advantages and grow industry market share.

Collectively, if we all stand out, we strengthen our industry’s reputation and solidify our reputation for delivering superior service, outstanding craftsmanship and an unequaled record of training and safety on the jobsite.

The good news is that during my travel as SMACNA President I have met a lot of impressive contractors – many more than mentioned in the article above. I see hard-working owners balancing all the demands that life throws at them and through it all, I see them thriving. I also see the SMACNA community helping at every turn, whether it is through formal learning opportunities or by facilitating conversations with peers willing to share their experiences.


Nathan L. Dills
SMACNA President