The Joseph J. Nigro SMART Army Service Award — given each year to one sheet metal and one Transportation Division member — represents one of the highest honors a SMART worker can receive: a recognition of solidarity and dedication to their union, their SMART brothers and sisters and their community. This year’s winners — who received their awards during the SMART Leadership Conference in San Francisco in August— are a testament to the crucial role SMART members play across our country.

“This year’s winners — who received their awards during the SMART Leadership Conference in San Francisco in August — are a testament to the crucial role SMART members play across our country.”

Kevin Turner, a sheet metal retiree at SMART Local 18 (Wisconsin), has devoted himself to service since retiring. For many years, Kevin chose to support his community through Habitat for Humanity, which provides housing for less privileged families. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Kevin has attended monthly Waukesha County Labor Council Community Service Meetings; volunteered at the Walkers Point Center for the Arts (a United Way nonprofit organization); assisted with the Milwaukee River Cleanup; helped put on Local 18’s blood drive; helped feed the homeless and hungry at the Hope Center in Waukesha; volunteered at the union booth during the Waukesha County Fair, educating fairgoers about unions; performed spring and fall roof cleaning at the Association for the Rights of Citizens with Handicaps; and assisted with raising $1,500 for those in need through bell ringing with the Salvation Army outside a union grocery store.

Johnny Walker, a member of TD Local 610 (Baltimore) and SM Local 100 (Washington, D.C. area), has made his name synonymous with labor solidarity and community service. A former U.S. Navy Corpsman, Johnny has been known to drive overnight from Baltimore to Galesburg, Ill., to participate in a rally for rail labor; take part in the entire 40-plus-mile Blair Mountain March in solidarity with the United Mine Workers of America, as well as support UMWA workers striking at Warrior Met Coal; shovel his neighbors’ driveways during blizzards; and much more. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic — in addition to working as an essential railroader — Johnny went out of his way to deliver food and goods to veterans and seniors, putting his life on the line to keep his community safe and healthy. He is a regular presence at SMART Army events, and he will always show up when called upon to support his union brothers and sisters.

SMART congratulates Kevin and Johnny on this well-deserved honor!

In late July, members of the SMART Transportation Division in Virginia showed what union camaraderie is all about, gathering with their families during the annual Virginia TD Summer Bash. The celebration also demonstrated the role SMART members play in their local communities, across both sheet metal and transportation. In honor of Dalton Fox — the young boy who forged a special bond with Virginia TD members, and who tragically passed away in 2021 — Virginia TD presented Jennifer Fox, Dalton’s mother, with a metal golf cart made by SM Local 100 (Washington, D.C. area); a reference to the golf cart Virginia TD originally refurbished to help Dalton move around.

“She loves the tribute and the love SMART has shown for her son,” said Virginia State Legislative Director Ronnie Hobbes. “She really enjoyed the Summer Bash, hanging out and telling stories about her son to all our members. This is what the SMART Army is all about.”

Members of SMART Local 206 demonstrated our union’s commitment to acting on our values during the San Diego Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5K, held on August 20. Carry Forward 5Ks – which take place at cities across the country throughout the year – are fitness and fundraising events that give participants the chance to both pay tribute to and raise money for wounded veterans, helping fulfil the Wounded Warrior Project’s mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors. During the San Diego Carry Forward run, Local 206 showed out in force.

“The SMART Army represented like no other team in both numbers and dollars donated, with 97 registered and over $10,000 raised,” Financial Secretary-Treasurer/Business Manager Dave Gauthier wrote on Facebook.

As part of the fundraising effort, Local 206 challenged other area labor unions to get involved – and they did, most notably IBEW Local 569. It was a display not just of labor solidarity, but of the vital role union members play in serving their communities.

“Although this money is going to help our wounded heroes, the day had a big impact on our members and their families too, including several of our veteran members – two of them came to us directly from Wounded Warriors here in San Diego,” Gauthier added. “You could see the excitement and appreciation in their faces as we gathered together to make a difference in our community and our country.”

In late July, Local 33 (northern Ohio) Business Agents Jim Jackson and Jamie Bostic spent a day volunteering to support the 2022 Local 33-sponsored charity Camp Mountain Heart. The camp is a free, week-long experience for children ages 8–17 with congenital or acquired heart disease, created to give camp-goers the opportunity to connect and forge friendships with others who have had similar life experiences. Camp counselors include physicians and nurses, helping Camp Mountain Heart maintain a safe environment for campers to experience independence and activities that are both fun and help build confidence. Local 33 is proud to support such a great cause!

As a way to help the homeless in the local community, SMART Local 20 (Evansville, Ind.) partnered with Aurora and Echo Housing to build the strike zone stand for the first-ever River City Wiffle Ball Classic, with members also participating in the tournament.

“Our donation and participation were a great way to show the community how Local 20 wants to do their part in helping the homeless in the Tri-State,” said Local 20 Business Rep. Kreg Homoky. “These strike zone stands will now be used for future tournaments throughout the years. I want to thank Jim Dempsey, Evansville Sheet Metal, Neil Hammelman, Grant Hammelman, Keith Irwin and Aaron Friel for their help and participation.”

Business Representative Josh Williams, West Franklin Elementary Principal Dr. Dawn Lauridsen, Local 24 apprentice Katie Fertig, Business Representative Jeff Hunley.

The SM Local 24 (southern Ohio) SMART Army helped area kids and families stay healthy as summer began with a food drive benefiting elementary-aged students at West Franklin Elementary School in the Southwestern City School District; the fourth-largest school district in the state. Organized by Local 24 apprentice Katie Fertig, the food drive saw the SMART Army partner with West Franklin Elementary Communities in Schools Coordinator Brooklyn Brown to put together more than 50 food kits to send home to families in need over the summer months — a time when many children in the community lose access to school breakfast and lunch programs.

Local 24 members are currently at work helping build and remodel several new school buildings, as well as other projects, for the Southwestern City School District. The local hopes to further grow its relationship with the district and expand its food drive effort in future years to continue supporting the community and keep kids and families healthy.

Business Representative Jeff Hunley, Business Representative Josh Williams, Local 24 apprentice Katie Fertig

In June 2022, the SM Local 473 (London, Ontario) SMART Army conducted a food drive, donating 225 pounds of food, a $1,000 check and $150 cash to the London Food Bank Curb Hunger Food Drive.

Pictured L–R: London Food Bank staff member, Local 473 Business Manager Mark Hall, Vice President Albert Morgado, Organizer Patrick Gordon.

SMART published the first episode of SMART News – a new video/web show focused on issues of importance to SMART members and working families across North America – on September 27, 2022, responding to feedback from SMART workers on the information from their union that they find relevant.

“SMART News will focus on issues that matter to you, your job and your family,” said Paul Pimentel of SMART Communications during the first episode. “This is your news, your union, delivering information that matters to you.”

SMART News is intended to fill an information void for SMART members and other workers in North America by specifically addressing events and developments that impact their lives and their communities – in other words, news that often goes uncovered. The first episode features an update from SMART Transportation Division President Jeremy Ferguson on freight rail contract negotiations; information on new megaprojects and indoor air quality work for sheet metal workers; a discussion on progress made for SMART members with General President Joseph Sellers; an overview on the FRA’s proposed two-person crew regulation from TD Alt. National Legislative Director Jared Cassity; and much more.

Watch the full episode above, or find specific links to segments of the show below. To watch an extended interview with TD President Ferguson, text RRContract to 667336.

Jump to a segment in this episode:

Do you have dreams of starting your own service business? Or do you have an existing sheet metal business that you’d like to add a service department to? If so, the International Training Institute (ITI) Service Academy is for you.

The ITI launched its new Service Academy in April, aimed at supporting union sheet metal workers who want to become service contractors signatory to SMART, as well as existing signatory contractors looking to add a service arm to their business. The academy features a series of courses designed to teach SMART members the fundamentals of business ownership and help them decide whether or not to start a business.

Beginning with the ITI Business Development course, participants are introduced to the tools they need to plan for successful business ownership, including choosing a business name, hiring and retaining the right people, bidding accurately, keeping track of cash flow and more. The Business Development course also gives participants a jump-start on writing a comprehensive business plan and examines strategies for marketing and financing a new business in today’s construction and service markets.

Once they have completed Business Development, participants can choose from various courses in the Service Academy’s pathway, addressing the needs of members at all stages in their careers.

For example, the Basic Service Technician Training course is designed for those who have gained knowledge and insight into the Business Development and Service Manager courses but need more hands-on experience working with the tools of the trade. Another course, the Service Specialty Manager Training, is for those who want to open a dedicated service department at an existing signatory contractor. Participants learn the ins and outs of dispatch, cost of overhead, maintenance contracts, marketing and more.

The Service Academy provides the most robust and well-rounded approach to the service side of the industry and includes more than just HVACR. With multiple course selections available, the academy is centered on participants’ needs and will address a broader perspective of service-based scopes of work, including – but not limited to – HVAC Fire Life Safety, TAB, BIM and Ventilation Verification for Indoor Air Quality. Most of the courses are offered either entirely online or in a hybrid learning environment, and independent study expectations are kept manageable for participants who are still working full time in the field.

Visit the Service Academy website to learn more!

The newly certified ICB/TABB contractors listed below recently entered the ranks of elite professionals who have proven they are at the top of their craft, meet the rigorous requirements for ICB/TABB certification and employ certified, highly skilled technicians and supervisors who continue to improve their skills with continuing education units and who invest their knowledge in the future. These TABB, fire and smoke damper, and commissioning contractors perform quality work for customers of the HVAC sheet metal industry while providing a solid company bottom line.

Healthy, forward-thinking companies like these are the lifeblood of our profession – and NEMIC and its certifying bodies, ICB/TABB, are here to help contractors help customers by identifying emerging technology, certifications, legislation, HVAC Fire Life Safety, indoor air quality, marketing and branding, field staff support and much more.

Please join us in congratulating the following companies for demonstrating the highest level of excellence, commitment and dedication to our industry:

CertificationCertification DateCompanyCompany CityLocal Union
TABB Contractor3/30/2022Pan-Pacific MechanicalFremont, CA104
TABB Contractor3/8/2022Bledsoe Environmental, LLCIndianapolis, IN20
TABB Contractor, Commissioning3/8/2022Built Environmental Systems TestingCashion, OK124
TABB Contractor3/3/2022Total MechanicalPewaukee, WI18
TABB Contractor2/7/2022T&B ServiceEau Claire, WI18
TABB Contractor2/7/2022Big City BalancingAstoria, NY28
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor3/8/2022AMS Mechanical Systems, Inc.Woodridge, IL265
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor3/8/2022Sunset Air, Inc.Lacey, WA66
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor2/14/2022Cahill Sketching and InspectingSomerdale, NJ19

Click here for more information on becoming an ICB/TABB Certified Contractor.