On a dismal fall weekend, much like the lost summer of 2009, a group of dedicated oil heating professionals got together at a conference center in Massachusetts for the purposes of relaxation and comradeship before the onslaught of the winter season. Some 70-plus members of the National Association of Oil Heating Service Managers (NAOHSM) converged on the small town of Wakefield, Mass. on Sept. 10 for three days of fun, friendship and a little business at the fourth annual Oil Heat Retreat.
A dinner was held Friday evening followed by a walking tour of the Salem of old. The tour, if not exactly factual, provided an entertaining history of the area, with great emphasis on the Gardner-Pingree house. Legend has it that the house’s former owner, Captain White, purchased it after his retirement. He was known for frequenting the local pubs, where he talked about his seafaring adventures and dropped clues about a treasure hidden in his home. This habit could have led to his death in 1830; he was brutally murdered and discovered by his housekeeper, Mrs. White. Now you may never have heard of this incident, but have you heard that “Mrs. White did it in the kitchen with the knife?” If you ever played the game “Clue,” you are already familiar with this house. It is said that the board game was designed on the history of these events and this home.
The tour continued to the old jail, which has its own stories and is now being converted into, what else, a condo complex. What would a trip to Salem be without a nighttime visit to the oldest cemetery in Salem, the second oldest in the U.S.
Although the weather continued to be gloomy, Saturday was full of educational opportunities. In the morning, the NAOHSM Board of Directors met, then after a lunch break, the entire group met for the general discussion. Moderated by industry leader and speaker, Dan Holohan, the session addressed the future direction of the association as well as the industry. The topic of NAOHSM’s name brought out much discussion. Does the industry still only work on oil equipment? If not, is it time to expand our horizons and include other fuels and services? Some of the chapters are individually taking on this task and now may be the time for NAOHSM to consider who we are and where we want to be in the future.
These lively and spirited, but always passionate debates show how much this group loves and respects this industry. This group represents some of the best and brightest professionals in the heating and cooling industry today. Their meetings are open to all who are interested in learning more about the industry. If you would like information on attending one of their local meetings, you can contact the association executive, Judy Garber, at (888) 552-0900 or look them up on the Web at www.naohsm.org.
The fourth annual retreat concluded with a dinner where both long-time and new friends alike joined together. As a precursor to the 2010 winter season, which may prove difficult for many, this was a weekend well spent.