MACC News: MACC Members Stand Together and Stay Strong in Times of Crisis

MACC Members Stand Together and Stay Strong in Times of Crisis

“Please recognize that much like our nation’s healthcare providers, the work HVACR contractors do is more important in this moment than it has ever been.” Barton James, President and CEO of Air Conditioning Contractors of America


On March 18, 10 trade associations and membership representing the HVACR industry in North America posted an open letter to President Trump, Vice President Pence and members of Congress requesting that HVACR technicians and engineers be granted “essential business” status during the COVID-19 crisis, due to the crucial role the industry plays in the health and safety of modern society. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America is playing a leading part in this endeavor and has helped craft recommendations for the federal government’s response to this pandemic.


“The MACC Board of Directors is working together with politicians and with the ACCA, demanding that HVACR contractors be exempt from any mandates that require businesses to temporarily close,” reports Jimmy Moyen, owner of First Choice Mechanical and President of MACC. “HVAC contractors should be considered emergency service providers because they perform necessary, life-saving services on the nation’s most critical infrastructures.”


“We are trying to get politicians to name us as first line responders,” said Jimmy. “It is essential for us to have service technicians on call for the most critical service requests. We have put non-emergency projects on hold including the start-up nursing school we are working on in Harlem. There are only four of us in the office, so we are not compromised. The rest of our employees are in the field responding to the most crucial service requests. Vital services must be provided for supermarkets, hospital s and institutions of that nature. I am hopeful that, like the flu, we will see the end of this crisis in April or May.”


Adhering Strictly to CDC Recommendations

MACC contractors know exactly what they need to do to make sure their staffs and their customers are safe. For many of them, it’s routine already: wash your hands, use sanitizers and disinfectants, things like that. They don’t want to lose employees or customers. They don’t want their staff to be hurt or their customers to become sick. They’re going above and beyond probably where they need to be already.


At National Compressor Exchange, postings are everywhere with pictorials depicting proper procedures to follow. “We have designated people to go around the facility at regular intervals disinfecting doors, offices and the factory,” reports Jason Staiano.. “And, we have placed disinfecting stations all around the facilities.” (Continued on page 11) 7 “We’ve had a few call-outs here and there, but most employees are coming in,” says Jason.


“I think the panic needs to stop,” Jason emphasized. “We are in a bad situation, but panic does not help. Take the proper precautions and we will all be better for it.”


Neal Gomberg of ABCO reports that all 17 branches remain open, while extreme safety measures are being taken to protect employees and customers. “At this point, I can tell you that only the most essential employees are reporting to work on site,” says Neal. “My marketing team is on a rotating schedule, which results in just one team member working on site for three days, while the others work remotely for six. As you know, the situation is very fluid, and this could change at any time”.


Mitigating Risk Through Professional Guidance

“I think it’s really important to be aware of legalities in terms of speaking to employees about remaining home -- as well as a variety of other issues,” says Steve Palone of Palone Brothers. “I’ve been in contact with Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, and I would recommend all business owners know what you can and cannot do. Let’s say I told my employees to stay home. They can then file for temporary leave of absence, or temporary unemployment, if they are out of work for even one day.” “Then there’s the question of medical coverage,” emphasizes Steve. “Employees must be mindful of the terms of their insurance coverage and check whether or not their coverage is valid during the time they are off from work. This is vital.” “Right now, Palone Brothers is still open, and we are staggering days as to who comes in and who is off. We are trying to spread out limited work across all employees. Our work involves a lot of preventative maintenance and our customers are wary of having us in their homes during this crisis.”


Transparency and Open Lines of Communication Help Maintain Calm

Everyone is facing this crisis together. The US Chamber of Commerce recommends being transparent about what your business is going through. Customers and employees empathize with companies facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly. Describe the steps you’re taking to mitigate risk and give them insight into the steps you’re taking to help the community. “From the beginning of this crisis, we had meetings with our team and addressed the issues of protecting our employees and customers,” said James Padavan of Air Design. “We discussed what was important and what was not important. We were prepared with all the essentials-- hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, and much more. We instructed everyone on proper protocol… how to deal with customers and employees including social distancing at home and at work.