Recent Business Insider Story Highlights SMACNA’s Commitment to Promoting the Interests of Members

SMACNA collaborated with the major global publication to tell the story of Nathan Allred, an apprentice with R.F. Knox Company to illustrate the benefits of a career in the sheet metal industry. 

Landing a mainstream article or interview with national media can be a long process. Just ask Nathan Allred, an apprentice at R.F. Knox Company in Georgia. Nathan worked with SMACNA’s media team to land a profile story in Business Insider – a global media force with more than 28 million unique visitors per month on its website alone.  

The process started last summer when Jeff Henriksen, SMACNA’s Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, visited R.F. Knox to film a contractor spotlight. During production, Henriksen got the chance to interview Nathan and learn more about his rise through the trade. The time in Georgia was well spent. Nathan played a crucial role in creating a compelling video that illustrated his experience. and was more than willing to support SMACNA’s workforce efforts even after the production team left. 

Nathan exemplifies what it means to love your job. He had already concluded that the traditional college classroom environment wasn’t the best fit for his career aspirations. Nathan wanted to build something tangible that he could look back on with a sense of pride. Working with his hands, fabricating sheet metal, and helping to build amazing projects allowed him to fulfill his passion.  Becoming a part of this dynamic industry provided him with an opportunity to support his family, learn valuable skills, and work alongside his dad. These elements, paired with his charismatic personality, make Nathan a great advocate (and media spokesperson) for the skilled trades. 

SMACNA’s PR team jumped at the chance to work with Nathan. The organization pitched his career story to national media outlets, eventually securing national interest. The Business Insider piece ran after months of coordination. The article is both a human-interest profile and a workforce development story that shines a positive light on the critical work of our industry.  

How did we land the article?
Media relations is a key communications channel SMACNA uses to raise awareness of and drive career interest for the HVAC and sheet metal trade.  

In the midst of labor shortages and the Great Resignation, the skilled trades were popping up as topics of interest in the media. We knew an outlet like Business Insider was a good fit for talking about job opportunities. SMACNA identified a specific reporter who often covered jobs within the skilled trades. We secured interest to collaborate on a story and met with Nathan on interview prep and media training. The team then spent several months working with the reporter to coordinate an interview with Nathan, share photos, confirm facts and figures, and go through the editorial process.  

What now? 
SMACNA continues to amplify the article’s reach and share it across multiple media channels to help reach an even larger audience. SMACNA members are encouraged to share the article within their own networks and across social media as well.  

Securing an article of this caliber was a true team effort, and we are excited to build momentum for our industry.