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Zoom and Teams

By Peter Montana, Florida HVAC Insider Editor 

I’m a newcomer to video conferencing and am pleased to say that I’ve enjoyed the sessions I’ve participated in. I’m not speaking about webinars, video instruction, and one-on-one meetings which have their own strengths, but group meetings where there is a back and forth of ideas and interaction between multiple individuals.

I sat in on the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (RACCA), Tampa region, video conference on May 14, 2020 and here are some observations.

RACCA meeting through ZoomI found it a comfortable, though slightly unnerving experience. I “practiced” beforehand yet still had to concentrate on putting my best face forward. I guess that will come with more practice. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t feel like I was under a microscope because attendees didn’t spend the whole meeting staring right at their cameras. I tried but found myself glancing at my notepad, adjusting my position and watching everyone else. I’ll have to ask the presenters if they’d prefer me to look right at the camera or at the image on the screen next time. I imagine it doesn’t matter much.

It’s really important to have a good moderator moving things along and managing close-ups, microphones and who has their virtual hands up during the meeting. RACCA Executive Director Missy Cook did a great job and I think we’ll all do better as we become more comfortable with this platform.

And, about the meeting. Paula DeSantis Tarris of Trane Supply provided a wholesaler’s update, stating that they have plenty of inventory on hand and are following best practices to maintain social distancing at their locations.

DJ Hanlin and Tyler Selesky of Federated Insurance encouraged members to use the tremendous information database available at Federated. DJ stressed the importance of having a risk management plan in place and followed, especially by field employees.

Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) Executive Director Paula Huband discussed her progress with establishing a Treasure Coast Chapter and boosting the Polk Air Conditioning Contractors Association. Both efforts have been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ron Liker of OmniServ provided some options for license renewal including online opportunities at ceacaademy.com.
General Counselor Tray Batcher of Cotney Construction Law stressed the importance of contractors knowing their worksites in reference to workman’s comp and implementing contracts for their service workers, making them aware of their jobsite conditions and monitoring them before sending them out.

FRACCA lobbyist Clayton Osteen of Cotney Construction Lobbying stated that nothing detrimental to the industry passed in the legislature this session.

Missy wrapped up the meeting encouraged by how it went and eager to apply some of the features to monthly board and general meetings.

I agree that there’s a place for online meetings in associations and look forward to developments in applications and technology that will make this a more common platform for sharing ideas and conducting business.

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