Every industry is served by people who greatly impact it — whether it is from the invention of technology or processes, or from sales and/or marketing techniques. These are people who; because of their experience, knowledge, position in that industry, and relationship to others; impact its development. They make a difference in the industry’s direction and ultimately, it’s future. The Performance-Based segment of the HVAC industry is no different.

These influential people are not only members of the Performance-Based Contracting™ community, but they work to help others be more successful. In fact, by their actions, they contribute to the High-Performance HVAC Industry’s growth and acceptance throughout the greater HVAC Industry and among consumers as well.

They believe in education and training and always seek better ways of doing things. They lead by example. They take what they learn and implement it successfully into their businesses, then take the time to share what they learn during that process with others.

How did they make our list? Over the years, members of the NCI team have traveled the country, visiting and working with many contracting firms, manufacturers, distributors, utilities, and trade associations. They worked together on ways to evolve away from just selling equipment, to an approach that sees a system as much more than a set of boxes.

The NCI team met people who believe in the tenets of testing duct systems, equipment, even the overall building itself. They measure airflow, temperature, and more, then calculate their impact on delivered comfort and energy efficiency.

The following are four such “influencers” of this industry. But they are not alone. We plan on featuring new influencers each year. The time or era in which they served is not considered — we look at what they have done or are doing and the impact of those efforts on the industry.

If there is someone you think should be added, let us know who they are and why they are influencers. Send your “nomination” to me at mikew@ncihvac.com.

Here are four influencers who have had a direct impact on the High-Performance HVAC Industry.

Jim Davis, National Comfort Institute, Cleveland, OH

Jim has a long and storied career in the HVAC Industry. That career began back in 1971 when he went to work for an HVAC contractor before moving on to work for an HVAC distributor in 1977. That is where he became involved with selling the first digital combustion analyzers.

He will be the first to tell you that back in the day there was a general lack of knowledge, including his own, on how to interpret combustion readings and overall mechanical operation of industrial, commercial, and residential systems. This is something that still plagues the HVAC industry today.

So, Davis set out to learn and ended up dedicating himself to increasing this knowledge by spending thousands of hours in the field with customers collecting data. Eventually, those customers asked him to write down what he knew to share with them. They also wanted him to TEACH them by conducting training classes.

As a result, Davis developed the first combustion testing protocols and field diagnostics using a digital combustion analyzer. He began teaching in 1983 and joined forces with the National Comfort Institute (NCI) in 2000.

Jim says he is fortunate and grateful that NCI embraces the same values and allows him to continue his “combustion crusade.” All combustion classes taught at NCI are based on hands-on field experience and actual results.

NCI President Rob Falke describes Jim as being driven by curiosity – the kind “most often found in those who believe that truth may be discovered through experiment and observation of the outcome.”

That curiosity led him to study, practice, and to measure everything he encountered. Early on he realized test instruments were woefully inaccurate and that led him to eventually become involved with a manufacturer in designing the first CO analyzers. Read more about Jim in a biography written by Rob Falke at ncilink.com/CaptCO.

Besides teaching thousands of HVAC professionals in the classroom, Jim also is a nationally recognized writer and speaker who is notably one of the foremost authorities on combustion and carbon monoxide.

He has written national protocols for CO testing and operating guidelines for proper combustion and mechanical operation of fuel-burning appliances. To this day he continues to research new information and feedback from the field on the combustion process. This contributes to the continual update of knowledge to be shared with everyone.

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