NEMIC recognizes California SMACNA, Western States Council with industry awards

This summer, NEMIC announced its annual Industry Awards, which included the California chapter of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (Cal-SMACNA) and the Western States Council, made up of locals and training centers from Nevada, California, Arizona and Hawaii. Each was recognized for exceptional leadership in the support and promotion of International Certification Board/Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (ICB/TABB) certifications as well as collaboration with all stakeholders.

Each organization’s California location isn’t the only place the two overlap. While Western States Council collaborates with Cal-SMACNA on California issues, it also works on initiatives of the other member states and was instrumental in the passing of statewide HVAC Fire Life Safety legislation in Nevada. According to the bill, AB 297, the inspection, testing and maintenance of fire life safety systems must be completed by a technician certified by the ICB, through a program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). 

Nevada was the second state to pass statewide legislation. Last spring, Washington followed suit as the third.

“This is the way labor-management is supposed to work,” said Dion Abril, executive administrator of Western States Council. “We were made this way. We are supposed to work this way. It’s not a perfect world. We have our differences, but we don’t let that define our relationship.”

Internally, advisory committees help get initiatives completed, working with business managers, representatives, training directors and technicians for the betterment of SMACNA contractors and members of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers.

“Also, I think it’s been because of our relationships with all of the entities. The business managers have appointed very good people to these committees, and they follow through with what they’re doing,” Abril added. “When we have an action, people follow up. Having the contractors involved in what we’re doing is instrumental.”

Cal-SMACNA brings those contractors together to work with the locals in the Western States Council, and Chris Walker, Cal-SMACNA executive director, is in constant contact with Abril to keep members’ interests moving forward.

“Ever since I came on my goal has been to work collaboratively to increase opportunities for our contractors,” Walker said. “There is no reason for us not to work together. It’s been an incredibly collaborative environment.”

Walker considers Cal-SMACNA and Western States Council as the “white hats” in their industry, working together for good, toward public recognition of poor indoor air quality in schools and testing and certifications in relation to California’s Title 24, among others.

“I never let them say ‘labor’ or ‘management.’ It’s ‘we.’ We are in this together,” said Duane Davies, Cal-SMACNA president. “I think everyone is passionate and everyone wants to create more opportunities for our members. It’s a collaborative group that is pushing for the same things.”

In addition to Title 24 and indoor air quality, the two organizations are helping to introduce and pass city fire life safety ordinances in Fresno, Santa Ana and Sacramento.

Davies added, “These awards validate the recognition of this collaboration and the efforts we are putting together as a team.”

The National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) is a not-for-profit organization jointly funded by the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association). NEMIC identifies opportunities, seeking to create or expand employment for SMART members and programs that assist SMACNA contractors.

For more information on emerging market opportunities in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, contact the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) at or call 800-458-6525.