OESP – the National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals – held its 59th Annual Convention and Trade Show from May 20-24, 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island. The event celebrated technology with the theme “Energy – It’s a New Frontier...Get Connected!”
OESP and Honeywell co-sponsored a Rebuilding Together event on Sunday. Volunteers helped with painting and gardening projects at the Groden Greenhouse, which is run by the Cove Center. Its mission is to support adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Later that day, old and new friends gathered in the President’s Hospitality Room for welcome snacks and drinks.
There were several educational and charitable activities on Monday. There was a Train-the-Trainer course on energy controls, as well as a PowerPoint class. The Dave Nelsen Scholarship Golf Tournament was held to fund scholarships for students wishing to continue their education within the industry. Thus far, the program has awarded over $191,000.
Attendees also participated in the Care to Ride event, a major fundraiser for Oil Heat Cares. Participants rode motorcycles and bicycles, walked, and ran. This year’s Care to Ride event raised over $72,000. The top fundraisers were Ralph Adams (motorcycle division), Roger Marran (bicycle division), Judy Garber (walking division), and Scott Vadino (running division). Team CT took home the plaque for highest team fundraiser (over $10,000) and Judy Garber for highest fundraiser ($5,500). The Long Island Oilheating and Cooling Pros walked away with the Oil Heat Cares Cup. The busy day culminated with a Taco-sponsored opening reception, featuring Providence’s famous Waterfire.
When attendees weren’t taking advantage of educational opportunities on Tuesday and Wednesday, they were enjoying the trade show. This year’s show featured both indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as a student and technician competition. OESP delivered on its mission of education with a range of technical and business-related courses. Attendees also had the chance to earn NATE and NORA certification with review courses followed by exams.
Attendees were encouraged to explore Providence during their stay. On Tuesday, OESP arranged for a special culinary tour of local restaurants. Participants enjoyed seasonal treats and a private tour of one of the restaurant’s rooftop gardens. Wednesday’s closing event began with a Grundfos-sponsored cocktail party and then took attendees out on the town. They were invited to choose from three different restaurants. All attendees met back at the Convention Center after dinner for dessert sponsored by Honeywell.
NPN columnist Charles Bursey offers the following appraisal of the event:
This year’s convention started on Sunday, May 20 when I had the distinct pleasure of joining in with many of the members of OESP to take part in a volunteer project called Rebuilding Together. This year’s project was to improve the appearance of the Groden Greenhouse located in the historical North Burial Ground in Providence, RI and sponsored by the Honeywell Corporation, who also had several company representatives volunteering to work through out the day. This facility is for autistic adults to help them improve their vocational skills through things like arts and crafts. However, the main focus is in greenhouse operations, such as planting seeds, watering, crop transportation and customer relations. The training is individualized to the skill level of each person and their needs.
Having never participated in a Rebuilding Together project, I was amazed to see and work alongside so many dedicated and talented individuals, whose sole purpose on an 80 degree day was to make life better for those less fortunate. The projects ranged from building and installing an iron hand-rail leading into the greenhouse to building several picnic benches. When we arrived, there was only one bench. My job, along with my better half and two others, was spent building an 8 foot combo flower box bench that would be placed at the infant burial plot.
The opening reception of the convention was held at the Water-place Restaurant and co-sponsored by Taco and OESP. The convention displays and educational programs were readied for the grand opening of the 2012 OESP convention. Convention day officially opened with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, May 22.
Many at the show inquired about the name change from NAOHSM (National Association of Oil Heat Service Manager) to OESP (Oil and Energy Service Professionals). Over the past several years, many were under the impression that the only people who could participate in their local chapter meetings and trade shows were service managers. Although not true, the time had come to clear this thought and after much discussion and several meetings, the members decided that something had to be done to clarify who could attend the meetings and also open the door to other trades.
After all, what company today has not diversified into other areas of business, such as A/C, refrigeration, plumbing, natural and LP gas as well as other energy resources? So with everything taken into consideration, the name Oil & Energy Service Professionals was approved and adopted at one of the national board of directors annual meetings.
On Tuesday, there seemed to be a good attendance with everyone from students to tradesmen talking with the manufacturers, company reps, and seeing what’s new while also attending trade-related classes. The classes offered included the Silver Certification, Oil Furnace and Hydronics, Understanding and Designing a Profitable Service Department, How to Make Money by Saving Your Customer Energy, ECM Diagnostics and Moving from a Residential to Commercial Tech, to name a few.
The Student/Technician Burner Competition was fun to watch as participants were able to test their troubleshooting skills in front of the burner manufacturing judges. I know they were all surprised to see how each participant took their time to diagnosis the problems. Congratulations to all the winners!
On Wednesday, I was surprised to see how few technicians and owners attended. It certainly was not for the lack of effort put forth by the OESP Convention Committee or those companies that purchased the 134 booths and provided the man-power. They came from all over the U.S. to make this event a success not only for OESP, but to display their latest products that could possibly bring added profit dollars to a company’s bottom line. I myself over the years have attended many of the conventions in both New England and Hershey, Pa, and they were always well-attended, but this year I wondered why the Providence event had fewer in attendance. Could it have been that many techs have become a casualty from the winter that never came? I know that Rhode Island also has the second highest unemployment rating in the U.S. and many companies within the state are struggling to survive. Just a thought!
The Awards Banquet as always was a success and watching the emotions and facial expression of all the recipients was great to witness. There were six students who received the Dave Nelsen Scholarship Awards presented by co- sponsors: Alrick Crowe - Honeywell, Zachary Baylor - Weil McLain, Thomas Dias- Delavan, Roger Bruso - R.E.Michel Co. Robert Papale- James McComas Award and Joe Arrenegado - Taco.
The OESP Awards Committee members selected for 2012, the following special award to: Service Manager of the Year/ Matt Spink, Lou Ehrich Award/ Phil Schwartz/Manufacturer of the Year/ Tekmar, Hugh McKee Award went to Jay Moser and the Lifetime Achievement Award went to John Levey. Congratulations to all the recipients—you certainly deserved it!
A special thanks to John Hazen White Jr., president of the Taco Manufacturing Co., for his never ending support along with OESP committee for providing the Providence Water Fire display, which was a great success. Several attendees also participated in several fundraising events for OIL HEAT CARES.
Once again this year, George Fantacone, national vice president and a member of the RI Chapter, spearheaded the annual Dave Nelsen Scholarship Golf event that was attended by many manufacturers and company representatives. Some of the sponsors for this event were the John F. White Co., Cargas Systems, Demers, Wohler and Thermo Pride and let’s not forget the many “hole” sponsors.
This 2012 was also an election year for the OESP national officers. Congratulation to the newly elected president Al Breda, vice presidents: Ralph Adams, Angel Gonzalez, Scott Vadino, George Fantacone; treasurer Mike Hodge, and secretary Steve Schwanger.
Thanks to all who worked so hard to bring this 59th Annual Convention to RI. See you next year!
Save the date for next year’s OESP Convention and Trade Show in Hershey, PA from May 19-23, 2013. Visit www.thinkoesp.org or call 888-552-0900 to learn more.