Lennox dealers from eastern Canada, Toronto, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Michigan met at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, FL for the Lennox LIVE “Relentless” conference on March 11 – 13, 2019.
Lennox LIVE (an acronym for Leadership, Innovation, Vision and Education) is the largest annual gathering of vendors, trainers, and industry experts at a manufacturer sponsored event in the HVAC industry.
This year’s event featured 18 breakout sessions providing instruction in four areas: technical, sales and marketing, leadership and operations. Also featured were over 40 vendors showcasing products and services, four inspiring main stage speakers, and networking opportunities to help the dealers keep up with the fast-changing HVAC industry.
The opening general session began with a video presentation describing the events during and after the devastating tornadoes that struck Marshalltown, IA last year. Lennox was founded in Marshalltown 124 years ago and operated a 996,000-square-foot facility employing 1,400 workers there.
On Thursday, July 19, around 3:30 p.m., the city activated their tornado signal — shortly before several powerful tornadoes touched down. At the Lennox plant, the second shift was underway and around 3:40 p.m. the building alarms sounded alerting employees to seek cover within their assigned shelters. At 4:40 p.m. the tornado touched down. With winds raging up to 144 miles per hour, inside the shelters sounds of breaking glass, sheet metal being ripped from its screws, concrete busting apart, and brick walls crumbling could be heard. Employees emerged from their shelters staring in disbelief at the destruction and debris strewn everywhere. Not one employee was injured but the building suffered devastating damage with huge parts of the roof and walls torn away. Amazingly, seven days after the tornado employees were producing their first parts and after eleven weeks the Lennox plant had 76 percent of their hourly workforce back on the job.
Quan Nguyen, VP/GM of Lennox Residential, commented at the end of the video that “the tornado forever changed this company. Today we have rebuilt, and we are going to be a better, even stronger company going forward.”
Mike Hart, VP Sales of Lennox Residential, thanked the dealers for their support during the recovery and spoke of the importance of leadership in having successful businesses.
“We all realize that the Marshalltown event caused some disruption in your business and we appreciate all the things you’ve done to work with us through our recovery. The things you did for our team in Marshalltown and their families was really special. From all the Lennox employees and all of our families, we want to thank you very, very much.”
“The ‘L’ in LIVE stands for leadership,” Mike continued. “Leadership is about influence, not about authority. It’s about modeling the way forward and clarifying your core values, setting guiding principles that enable your employees to make consistent decisions for your business. Leadership is about fostering collaboration through trust by consistently investing in developing and educating all the people around you. It’s about encouraging the heart and consistently recognizing and celebrating the contributions of the people who make things happen in your business. Consistently investing in the elements of LIVE provides your leaders with clarity and confidence to make great decisions for your business.”
A highlight of the conference was presentation of the newly-created Lennox Community Award to Steve and Christine Chapman and All American Air of St. Augustine, FL. Steve and Christine had a vision years ago that a table tennis tournament would be an event that people would come to year after year. The All American Air Charitable Foundation over the last 10 years has raised over $800,000 through their All American Air Table Tennis Classic and benefitted over 100 not-for-profit charitable organizations in their community.
“All American Air is one company giving back to the community,” Mike stated upon presenting the award. “One thing you all have in common is your generosity, your willingness to give back to your communities and the people that you serve. We created the Lennox Community Award to recognize the great work you are doing in your communities and to encourage more of you to get involved.”
The closing keynote address was presented by Olympic speed-skater and motivational speaker Vince Poscente, who presented tools to be more resilient and discussed how to overcome obstacles. “When you bounce back stronger than ever confidence and fun go up. And when employees and entrepreneurs handle set-backs, supersede obstacles and are more focused, record-setting results happen faster than expected.”