Bill Meyers made it back to the ServiceTitan HVAC National Championship, but not without some stress.
A qualifier for last year’s inaugural Pro competition, he was a step away from a return trip to Tampa. A co-worker at Barber Heating and Air in Burlington, N.C., where Meyer also works, had already been notified he’d advanced in the Apprentice competition.
For Meyers, it was crickets.
“Me and all the other Pros I'm friends with now on Facebook, we're all messaging each other like, ‘Did you get in? Did you hear anything? Have you heard anything?’” Meyers said. “And no one had heard anything."
It was a short wait. Meyers will compete Oct. 28 at Tampa Convention Center, one of seven returnees among the 15 Pros looking to follow 2022 winner Mack Shwert as the nation’s top HVAC technician.
And he can’t wait.
“You can't compare it,” Meyers said. “To be able to meet people who do the same work that we do, it's kind of like a comradery of sorts that I would compare to my time in the military.”
And the competition?
“Last year was a whirlwind,” Meyers said. “You don't know what to expect. You just go out there and do it and hope for the best and hope you did it right.”
That’s the HVAC National Championship. And life.
Meyers has handled stress in both.
‘I’m not coming just to be there’
Some people who know about the HVAC National Championship can’t wait to get there. Others, not so much.
“Even people that I work with and know in the area, some of them saw it, some didn't,” Meyers said. “Some of them are like, ‘That would be really cool. I wish I could go.’ And other people, they couldn't care less.”
Meyers cares, and he wants to keep raising awareness and find others as competitive as he is.
It’s a high bar. Meyers passed through the first round quickly with a good score in the online test. But the competitor in him wasn’t happy.
“I still kept taking the test,” he said. “I was trying to achieve a perfect score. And to me, it was frustrating because, like, ‘What am I missing?’ Trying to go back and find the questions and Google and look through textbooks and code books.”
He’s bringing that same attitude to Tampa.
“I'm not coming just to be there,” he said. “I want to come home with prize money and a big old trophy. But I'm going to have fun either way.”
Winning part of the $100,000 in cash and prizes available in 2023 would make Tampa more fun. It would remove some stress, too. That brings us to Arlo.
The world changed …
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, a world dealing with the unknowns of a novel virus and no immunity shut down. Meyers wasn’t working for Barber Heating and Air at the time, but doing commercial refrigeration work for a different company.
His wife was pregnant, which is stressful enough, and then Covid shut down the world.
Meyers was furloughed, and even when the world opened back up, the work wasn’t as steady. Meyers was one of millions nationwide who were behind.
“Some of the debts I had, they worked with me, and other ones didn't. And the ones that didn't, ain't nothing I can do about it,” Meyers said. “Family comes first. We chew away at it as we can and deal with the rest as it comes.”
After Arlo was born, “the rest” included his insomnia, and other signs something was wrong.
“He never slept through the night,” Bill Meyers said. “And it was essentially almost like a self-diagnosis as we started picking up on all the little things he was doing.”
By the time Arlo sat down with a psychologist, after months of different doctors and letters of recommendation and navigating the system, the diagnosis wasn’t a shock.
Arlo, who’ll be 3 on Halloween, is autistic and non-verbal.
“It was more of a relief for us to finally have a medical professional tell us what we kind of already knew,” Meyers said.
The diagnosis, though, unlocked the therapy and the specialists Arlo needs. That includes a Burlington therapy center for autistic children called Compleat Kidz, which Myers describes as “amazing.”
Still, the bills keep coming.
“It seems like everything made for special needs people or special needs kids is astronomically expensive,” Meyers said. “You try to get it covered under insurance. And if they do, great. If they don't, you save up, and once you’ve got it, you get what you need.”
The mission in Tampa
In Tampa, Meyers plans to follow his advice to others, at work and in life: Remain calm.
“At the end of the day, you're doing a task you've done before,” he said. “It may have been 20 years before, but you've done it before. And just try to tune out all the excess.
“If you can find a way not to get caught up in all the cameras and all the lights and all the noise that comes from 15 guys trying to bang duct together at the same time, then you'll be alright.”
And if Meyers wins, he already has a plan.
“If I didn't have the other obligations, I'd go buy myself a Harley,” he said. “But I’ve got to take care of the family first and make sure they're all set.
“I know we have a family cruise planned for early 2025, so that would obviously be paid for. And then take care of some debts and ease that burden a little bit.”
Because Bill Meyers knows stress.
The ServiceTitan HVAC National Championship, also sponsored by Trane, American Standard and Johnstone Supply, is Oct. 28 at the Tampa Convention Center. It will be televised on tape delay on CBS Sports Network. It is part of the Elite Trades Championship Series, which also includes competitions for Plumbing, Electrical and Auto Tech professionals.
ServiceTitan HVAC Software
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.