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Participants offered high praise for this year’s HRAI conference, held last month in Niagara Falls. In addition to awe-inspiring views of the falls from the Sheraton Hotel, participants enjoyed great food and drink, a few laughs with industry colleagues, fun social events, and a topical and educational lineup of presentations from excellent speakers. Below are just a few example descriptions.


Dane Jensen, an inspiring performance coach recounted the story of Canada’s ‘Own the Podium’ Olympic program. At both Montreal and Calgary, Canada hosted the Olympics and never won a gold medal, something no other country had ever done. Before Vancouver our Olympic committee determined that it would not let this happen again, and in the end we won more gold medals than all countries.


Jensen described the key controllable influences for successfully responding when under pressure as “focus, imagination, perspective, and energy”. He gave concrete examples of how these areas were managed in the Olympic example and also in other instances such as the city of New Orleans after Katrina, newborn infants, and people in rehab after debilitating injuries.

He concluded that there were specific techniques commonly utilized by numerous high performing individuals, such as: reframing challenges, positive self-talk, affirmation, breathing techniques, retracing and imagery. He quoted Einstein as saying that imagination is more important than knowledge, because of the way imagery and music have a powerful effect on the mind, emotions and body; and imagination controls the timing sequence of body. HRAI members left the conference better equipped for high-level performance in their pursuits!


The conference also offered a valuable presentation from Wayne Vanwyck called “Business transition and legacy: Plan your succession now and beat the biggest business selloff in history. “Many members are reaching retirement age and were able to benefit from Vanwyck’s experience with selling HVAC and other companies. Not surprisingly his key message was to start preparing early for a good result.

He offered the example of someone looking at the average selling price of businesses in their industry as say $2 million, and assuming they could sell for that amount. He then suggested that if you are a little lackadaisical in your last few years, the valuation could decline by as much as 25% or $500,000. On the other hand, with about three years of sustained effort to increase the value of the business, you might be able to fairly easily increase its value by $500,000. Thus your attitude and effort could literally be worth one million dollars. Van Wyck said that if we sat down and did the math we might discover that if we spend five hours each month working on getting our business ready to sell, each hour might prove to be worth something like $28,000.

He also walked participants through some of the key ways to increase the value of a business, to find willing buyers, and to identify people as successors (and/or buyers of the business). He explained that although it might in some cases seem counter intuitive and tricky to communicate your succession plan, it’s important to do so, to help retain good people, a critical part of the process. People who want help were encouraged to contact Wayne Vanwyck wav@tacresults.com 519-654-2368.


HRAI was fortunate to have on hand a well-qualified expert in the person of Helen Walter-Terrinoni from AHRI, Co-Chair of the Montreal Protocol and science advisor for the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy.

She passed along highly useful recommendations and explanations on the safe handling of the new, more flammable refrigerants, such as do not mix different refrigerant types, avoid ‘topping up,’ and don’t use something a for which a system is not designed. She also conveyed the importance for anyone unfamiliar with the new world of refrigerants, of learning more; for your own sake, and the safety of those with whom you work.


Max Rohr from Rehau delivered a good technical presentation on radiant heating and cooling, indoor environment quality and dedicated outdoor air systems. He covered a great deal of material but two interesting points he made were about the efficiency of some technologies over others.

He gave one example in which it was possible to compare the performance of a hydronic or fluid based system to a forced air system. Under the specifications mentioned the hydronic system was about 12 times more efficient at moving BTUs than air. He also showed delegates a photo of a building studied by ASHRAE that had two separate wings. One was cooled using air and one using a hydronic system. Measurements indicated a 33% efficiency advantage for the hydronic side.


Mark Jewell is a good salesman. He proved it during a session in which he talked about how HRAI conference participants could reframe the value they offer to customers, using words that lead to more successful outcomes from pitches, proposals, quotes and other business expansion efforts.

He suggested that we might be overusing the ‘lowest first cost’ or ‘split incentives’ concepts and may need some new, more effective sound bytes to attract attention and persuade prospects to approve the projects.

Some examples:

• Office projects: “individual control over thermal comfort improves worker productivity and reduces payroll costs.”

• Healthcare: “Less noisy mechanical systems and greater control over temperature and humidity improves patient outcomes”

• Commercial: “Less noisy mechanical systems enable an increase in leasable square footage.”

• Education: “Better thermal comfort and indoor air quality lead to better student and teacher attendance, and enhanced student performance.”

He suggested that talking too much isn’t really the best way to sell things, compared with asking questions and listening well to the answers.

For example when selling residential customers we might ask: “How comfortable is this house and how do the anomalies impact your family?” or “What has changed in this house since you moved in?” The answers to these questions, says Jewell, will help us to better shape our sales pitches.

He also recommended:

• Research segments and prospects

• Reframe benefits to match prospect values

• Focus on each prospect’s ‘why’

• Make compelling quantitative comparisons

• Stick to segment-specific benefits

For more from Mark Jewell, check out his free daily blog ‘Selling Energy.”

HRAI’s 2020 conference will be held at the Delta Hotel by Marriott, August 23-25, 2020 in Victoria, BC. We are already actively looking for session speakers! Please contact Loretta Zita (lzita@hrai.ca) to participate in developing the content for the HRAI 2020 Annual Conference in beautiful British Columbia.

HRAI gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following 2019 Annual Conference Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

-        Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling

-        Prime Communications

-        Rheem

-        Service Titan

Silver Sponsors:

-        Bitzer

-        Emerson

-        Fujitsu

-        Honeywell

-        Ipex

HRAI would also like to thank the following exhibitors:

-        Anchem

-        AnswerPlus

-        Arkema

-        Arzel Zoning Technology, Inc.

-        CHICC

-        Dettson

-        Fieldboss

-        GSI

-        Idea

-        Jonas Construction Software

-        KeepRite Refrigeration

-        Prime Communications

-        Rheem

-        Roth

-        ServiceTitan

-        Tecumseh

-        Uponor

-        WiringPRO