by    Jim Hinshaw

Just got back from SWE (Service World Expo, our huge convention), which was held at the convention center in Phoenix, Az this year.  We used to do this event at a hotel, but it has gotten so large that we have to go to convention centers.  It goes on for several days, started this year with a golf tournament to benefit the Joseph Groh foundation.  He was a Lennox employee who went over the handlebars of his mountain bike, snapped his neck, ended up paralyzed from the neck down.  Not one to self-pity, he set out to start a foundation that helps people in the trades who have suffered a life-changing situation.  They just passed the $1,000,000 mark in grants, helping outfit vans and homes for people who are in wheelchairs or similar circumstances.

A high point on the Monday golf tournament was when Joe Strittmatter (Strittmatter Plumbing and Frymire Heating and Cooling ) and his wife made a pledge to match up to $25,000 that was raised by the tournament.  You can help as well, go to:  The Joseph S. Groh Foundation | A Beacon of Hope (

Then on Tuesday we had our Alliance day, a day dedicated to the Alliance level membership in Service Nation.  With separate keynotes and training, it is a day packed with some excellent information.  We moved on to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with new keynotes and training designed to line up with the company revenue, we had sessions designed for companies less than $1 million dollars, then $1-5 million, $5-10 million, and $10 million and up.  There were meetings that were designed for the company, no matter where you are on the journey.  You were not restricted in any way, free to sit in any session, your call.  Ken Goodrich started us off with his story, sharing whet he has learned and accomplished building an empire of approximately $250 million per year, always brings value.

The keynotes were amazing, Jon Dorenbos was a highlight.  He is a magician, and was amazing with cards and sleight of hand.  He is a former NFL long snapper (I finally understood what a long snapper does), and he did it well for the Bills and the Eagles.  He was traded to the Saints in 2017, and during his physical they discovered an Aortic Aneurysm that required immediate surgery and ended his career.  The trade was rescinded, the Eagles won the Super Bowl, and he was awarded an honorary Super Bowl ring.  But that was not his turning point.  He told the story of his father who killed his mom and went to prison, and how he had not spoken to him in over 35 years.  When he did reconcile, he told him three words he had NEVER spoken to anyone, ever.  I FORGIVE YOU.  He had an emotional grip on our group, it was really powerful.

We also had Tommy Mello back as a keynote, he has built an amazing business, doing almost $200 million a year in garage door service and replacement.  Tommy has a great story, humble beginnings, he shared how he hires great talent and allows them to produce outstanding results.  All of these men were generous with their time and allowed us to approach and ask questions after they spoke.

We also had a series of excellent breakouts designed as training on how to do what needs to be done today to improve results.  No secret that the economy is shrinking, we are in turbulent times, harder to get the consumer to pull money out of their wallet, or even to consider replacing systems.  I did a session based on the story of Lesley Patterson, she was a Tri-athlete who won several awards for her movie “all Quiet on the Western Front”.  What is not typically known is the story that it took 16 years to get the movie made, spent over $200,000 out of packet, she showed a true commitment to her concept to get the film made and released.  I then shared what is essential today to make sales in this tough environment.  First you need a superior product, well-engineered to bring comfort to the consumer.  The term well-engineered refers to the system design and installation, got to be top-notch. Then you need someone to promote and sell it, could be a comfort advisor or selling tech.  Add in a financing component, 15 years is the new gold standard.   Then you are ready to get into the crowded ring of people competing for the consumer dollars.

We also had some great parties, each night a different venue.  It was good to re-connect with old friends, see how everyone is doing, and make new friends and business connections.  You missed a great party.  Thanks for listening, we’ll talk later.