While the HVAC/R Industry Struggles to Hire, VHV Continues Growing

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by Dick Wilcox | January 23, 2019

For more than a decade, the lack of qualified HVAC/R technicians has been a growing problem in the United States. Statistics show that 25% of the workforce will be of retirement age by 2020. Even as the demand to fill vacancies in the HVACR workforce increases, the pool of qualified candidates is shrinking.The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), estimates the current HVACR technician shortage at 70,000. There will be a need for 115,000 new HVACR professionals to meet the demand within the next four years.

Even while these challenges persist in our industry, we at VHV are continuing to grow our workforce and strategically planning to meet the demand of the future. Here are three ways VHV has committed to continued growth.

Investing in Education

We believe in providing ongoing opportunities for our employees to learn, grow, and enhance their skills. Our education initiatives offer learning opportunities for employees at every level, from apprentices to mid and senior level.

VHV participates in training and certification programs through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). We also offer a plumbing apprenticeship through the Vermont Department of Labor’s statewide apprenticeship program.

Investing in the training, certification, and ongoing education of our employees not only helps us stay competitive, but helps us attract and retain talented individuals who know their employer is committed to their personal success.  

Staying Dedicated to Safety

The health and safety of our employees is our top priority both on the jobsite and at our offices. VHV’s commitment to safety is our way of demonstrating that we deeply care about the well-being of our staff.

To us, a focus on safety means more than being compliant or following regulations. It is our promise to all employees that they are important and valued members of our team.   

Offering Employee Ownership

We believe that people are the core of our business, and that we need to reward our employees for their passion, loyalty, and competence. Our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is our way of giving our employees a financial interest in the success of the business. According to David Brown, former president of VHV, “After 20 years of ownership, I decided  it was time to sell all my stock to the people who I trust and value the most: the employees.”

By offering employee ownership in the business, we are able to attract people who are dedicated, passionate, and invested in the company’s success. While that may be rare in the construction industry, we believe building a team based on those ideals is the best way to move forward.

In an industry-wide trend, HVACR companies are finding it difficult to hire enough skilled technicians. VHV is defying that trend by investing in employee education, safety, and success to attract and retain talented team members. While it’s impossible to say what the landscape of workers will look like in the future, we’re ensuring our continued success today by investing in our most valuable assets—our people.

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Dick Wilcox

About Dick Wilcox

Dick Wilcox is the current President of VHV. Dick is an industry leader within New England for mechanical construction contracting as well as multiple green building initiatives, and works closely with statewide efficiency partners.

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