Commercial, Contractors, Technical Training

Service Management Forum Offered HVAC Pros Valuable Industry Insights

February 21, 2024

BROADVIEW, Illinois (February 2023) — HVAC professionals from all around the country braved a winter storm and record low temperatures to attend the Unified Group’s Service Management Forum in January. The conference took place at the Hilton Austin for three productive days of learning and networking.

Service Management Group

“Sitting next to the best of the best, sharing our successes and failures, is powerful,” said Chris DeMers, Director of Operations of CMC Corporate Solutions in Baton Rouge, La.

The forum kicked off with a presentation on what it means to be a leader by Craig Woodall, a senior consultant at Grinnell Leadership. Woodall spoke on the importance of open communication, maintaining a positive culture and more.

“He did a really good job with providing actionable steps instead of just highlighting general issues,” said Andy Gura, HVAC Service Supervisor at Blauch Brothers, Inc. of Harrisonburg, Va.

Day two was full of panel discussions. The recruiting and retention panel, led by Derren Saucier, Senior Vice President of Memphis, Tenn.’s Temperature, Inc., was rated the highest. It covered characteristics to look for in new hires, successful member retention programs, team bonding experiences and more. Other panelists included CMC Corporate Solutions’ Service Manager Daniel Gauthier, Cox-Powell Corp.’s VP of Operations Mike Kerner (Williamsburg, Va.), Dean E. Norris, Inc. Director of Service Operations Erick Wheeler (Wichita, Kan.), B&I Contractors Southwest Service Manager Jason Walker (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Blauch Brothers’ Gura. Members ended the night with a competitive ping-pong tournament.

On the final day, members had the opportunity to ask each other for advice on challenges they’ve been struggling with. From predetermined struggles, two best ideas were shared to provide the group with solutions. Chris Reiter, Service Division Manager of Fort Worth, Texas’ A&G Services spoke of his successes with the Bluon app for purchasing, and Steve Adams, General Services Manager of Johnson & Jordan, Inc. in Scarborough, Maine, gave a brief demo of the Company Cam contracting app.

“If I hadn’t attended the meeting, I would have missed valuable experiences and strategies,” Adams said. “These interactions are crucial for gaining new insights and perspectives, which can be instrumental in shaping and improving my own management practices and decision-making processes.”

Maybe the freezing temperatures impacted the 2024 Service Management Forum, but not in a negative way. If anything, attendees had more opportunity to be together, share camaraderie and learn from one another.

Upcoming meetings include Technicians, Sales, Leadership, Financial and Construction Forums. If you’re interested in learning more about attending a meeting or membership with The Unified Group, contact Janet Kelleher at

About The Unified Group

Formed in 1998, The Unified Group is an organization of the leading independent HVAC commercial contractors in the industry. The association helps strengthen its member businesses through a variety of training and resources and is dedicated to raising the standards of excellence in the HVACR industry. For more information, visit