Contractors, Events

Synergy’s 2024 Field Supervisors Forum: Cultivating Leadership and Collaboration

April 15, 2024

ROSEMONT, IL – Rosemont, IL – Synergy’s 2024 Field Supervisors Forum, held from March 10-12th in Rosemont, IL, successfully concluded, drawing 82 members from various industries to enhance their leadership and team management skills.

The forum kicked off with attendees dividing into small groups to discuss the significant challenges they face in their roles, interactions with people, and client management. This session highlighted the commonality of issues across different organizations, with Brian Puff (Soefker Services) noting, “It’s refreshing to see that my organization’s issues are not exclusive to just us. We all face the same issues.”

A highlight of the event was the Zoom Challenge, where participants were split into three groups and tasked with sequencing pictures in the correct order without viewing each other’s images. This exercise underscored the essential leadership skills needed to overcome such challenges, emphasizing the importance of seeing the bigger picture, effective communication, and collaborative problem-solving.

Austin Sauble (CSE) reflected on the experience, stating, “It really showed the difficulties of being given a task with a large group of people and gave us an opportunity to come up with ways to solve the puzzle.”

The forum also featured discussions on transitioning from being a doer to a leader, delegating tasks, and inspiring team growth. Participants shared strategies for building trust, training team members effectively, and ensuring customer confidence.

In the afternoon, guest speaker Steve Thomas delivered an insightful presentation on leadership, offering valuable advice on self-improvement and future planning.

Colin Burns (JM Brennan) commented, “Steve provided lots of information on being better for your team and company. There’s a lot to focus on with the future and self-improvement.”

On the second day, Synergy’s managing partner, Jim Bartolotta, initiated a role-playing exercise addressing real-world challenges, such as dealing with a technician’s departure for better pay and managing upset customers.

Timothy Donovan (Cox Engineering) appreciated the exercise, saying, “It was interesting to hear how the other leaders handled the ‘real life’ situations.”

Discussions also covered the financial impact supervisors have on their companies, with emphasis on labor hours, callbacks, and managing overtime. Jim Bartolotta’s demonstration illuminated the cost factors included in the hourly service rate, giving a comprehensive view of business financials.

Jose Lopez (Atomatic) remarked on the financial overview, “It was nice to see the big picture looking from the outside in on how the financials are distributed in an organization.”

The forum further explored the supervisor’s role in recruitment, the onboarding process, and in making new hires feel welcomed.

The event featured a panel discussion where Synergy members shared their training strategies. Max Arriaga (Phoenix) talked about fostering team leadership and continuous learning, Lou Coghe (Cooper Oates) highlighted career progression and training for junior technicians, while Bill Callahan (JM Brennan) outlined a holistic training program encompassing both practical skills and financial literacy.

Post-lunch sessions focused on maintaining team engagement, recognizing disengagement signs, and addressing them. The forum concluded with participants committing to actionable insights for implementation back home.

ABOUT SYNERGY SOLUTION GROUP: Synergy Solution Group is a network of peers who share the same vision, drive, and passion for the commercial HVAC industry. Our mission is to help great HVAC contractors build connections and develop meaningful relationships for everyone within their organization. Synergy has a combined 65+ years of association experience developing some of the HVAC industry’s best training. Learn more at