The warm sunshine, tropical breezes, and swaying palm trees of Tampa, FL must have seemed like the land of Oz to many members of AirTime 500[TM] as the group met for its annual March Expo. And “OZ, ” as in the “Opportunity Zone,” is where the attendees were taken. The theme of this Expo was “Enter the Opportunity Zone, the Yellow Brick Road to Profits,” and the 400-plus members in attendance learned various tips and techniques to help them succeed in the residential repair and replacement arena. Among the information presented to attendees at the March Expo was a presentation on fatal marketing flaws in an HVAC business, along with demonstrations of how AirTime 500’s products and services can help contractors avoid them. Advice on how to increase technician lead generation, new offerings from AirTime 500’s exclusive private-label brand of equipment, and details of a new program to allow member contractors to provide financing for high-risk customers were also on the bill. AirTime 500 Co-founder Jim Abrams presented a session on “The Future and Your Company’s Place In It” that included insights into the importance of knowing and mastering your company’s financial numbers, ensuring proper pricing for your services, managing and training employees, and enhancing customer loyalty. He also unveiled a new franchising opportunity for member companies, the details of which will be available in coming months. A highlight of the Expo was a presentation by Carl DiBene, director of the New Millennium Academy, AirTime 500’s technician training branch. DiBene hosted the presentation of this year’s Crown Champion winners. The Crown Champion Program honors comfort advisors who reach various residential replacement goals ($700,000, $800,000, $900,000), as well as the company owners who hired and trained them. A special awards presentation honored the 19 comfort advisors who exceed $1,000,000 in sales in 2002. AirTime 500 is a membership organization that provides a variety of tools, training and services for residential HVAC contractors. The organization will limit itself to 500 member companies nationwide; it currently has 418 members. The next AirTime 500 Expo will be held in St. Louis, MO August 18-23. For more information on AirTime 500 or its sister association, Plumbers Success International, call 800/505-8886.