Jerry Lawson

The Inside Story

March 13, 2021

Jerry Lawson headshot

By Jerry M. Lawson, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

I understand that the governor of Texas has declared my home state open and free. You can go shopping, go to school and go to work without wearing a mask. You may wear a mask, but you will not be harrassed if you do not.

I wonder how many other states will follow Texas. A few years ago when we decided to include the Lone Star State in the circulation of this HVAC Insider I traveled the distribution centers and was surprised when some of the “new” Texans demonstrated a superiority to we outsiders.

I politely told a few that my family have been Texans since 1830 when this was still part of Mexico.
My schooling in Tyler was primarily about Texas history not American or Southern.

A few years ago a new brand of gasoline made its appearance as Valero, few of us recognized the Alamo reference, knowing its true name was the Valero de San Antonio.

Time changes everything. My three children were all born in Texas and are 8th generation Texans. None of my grandchildren were born there, their loss.

I was offered a good reenlistment package by the US Army in Germany. I would have a double promotion and the Army would fly my wife and our son who was born in an army hospital to Germany and we would live off post. I told my first sergeant many thanks but no. There was something else I wanted as a career. In 1962 I realized my dream come true and I was hired by the Tyler Courier Times. My seven years in daily news was with the Dallas Morning News.

In 1969 I found myself in Atlanta where I had relocated to a national magazine. I fulfilled my original purpose and brought their regional edition back to profitability. I had been promised that if I did so the company would open an office in Dallas and I could go home. They lied to me.

I resigned from the magazine and began building a local trade paper for the home furnishings, appliance and electronics dealers in Georgia. It soon expanded to Alabama. Over time, Retailing News became a five state edition and a national paper.

We began publishing a trade paper for builders called BuilderFax. HVAC distributors saw the benefits of courting builders in their own state papers.

In 1988 when the building business was in a decline the HVAC advertisers gave me an option. They wanted me to publish an HVAC only trade paper. They all cancelled their ads in BuilderFax and so began the newspaper you are now reading.

My supporters also named the paper. From a half dozen names we could use HVAC Insider won by a landslide.

Until the Obama years we were growing steadily.We went to 15 editions and became profitable with a national edition.

Through the years we have remained true to our promise. We would publish local and national news about people, products, events, and rules important to our readers.

We would not publish faux news, lies or gossip. Everything in your paper is important to you.

I have enjoyed being your Insider all these years. Times have been tough lately but we have kept steady to the truth. The pandemic has made it hard to call on and work with our advertisers. We hope everything will soon open up and all will be well. Thank you for all of your support and we will be working hard to help you in any way we can.

Thinking back, if I had taken the Army up on becoming a career soldier I would have been a top sergeant in Viet Nam.

God Bless America.