As the summer winds down and the heat wave that has hovered over the U.S. begins to abate, we can slow down a bit and reflect on the past few months. This summer has been one of the wildest rides in the history of economics. The swings in the stock markets around the world have been unbelievable and every business pundit talks about the tidal movements in stock prices in either hyperbolic terms that ring of disaster on one hand, and a sickeningly slow recovery on the other.

It's enough to make your head spin. As the markets shift, those who stay on top of those shifts will find opportunities that can benefit their businesses and customers.

As I write this, HVACR Week in Indianapolis is still a few weeks away and we're putting the finishing touches on what will be quite an extraordinary event. It comes at a time when everyone needs to reflect on the past nine months and re-examine their strategies in this uncertain climate.

To echo the words of Mark Rogers, president of the Mechanical Contractors of America Association (MCAA), who wrote in the June 2011 edition of the MCAA Reporter (mcaa.org/reporter), "I believe the critical value of a winning strategic plan for your business is more important now than ever before. New skills may be needed to grow your company back at the right pace, and in the right direction. Opportunities do exist in a recovery like this one, but identifying and taking advantage of them is, in many ways, a new ball game."

I couldn't agree more. That's why investing in those skills through training, education, and networking is so important. That's why our HVACR Week program is focused on new ideas, on new technologies, as well as "back to basics" programming for attendees.

From business management to service, sales, marketing, and technical classes, HVACR Week is a cornerstone to helping you stay ahead of the curve. The networking alone is worth the price of admission. You will learn from many of the most successful contractors in business today, as well as some of the industry's top consultants and instructors.

Instruction isn't only for business owners, but also for managers, sales people, engineers, and field technicians. Whether you’re a residential or commercial contractor, a consulting or facilities engineer, Indianapolis (from September 21 to 23) is the place you want to be.

Attendees from around the country will be there with you to help you think about your strategy, to re-work what needs to be re-worked, and to come away with a plan that can help build your company's success and make the most of whatever this economic recovery brings.

From what the 33 speakers who will be presenting during HVACR Week (which includes HVAC Comfortech, the Commercial HVACR Symposium, and the Optimum Buildings Conference) have told me, they're so excited about the changes they see coming down the road that they can't wait to share what they know with you.

If you aren't joining us, have no fear, sessions are being audio taped (which will be available for purchase) and we will provide print coverage beginning with next month's issue of the magazine.

Furthermore, just to help you set some goals as part of your strategy — I'm going to help you make arrangements to join us in the Chicago area for HVACR Week 2012. I will provide FREE registrations to three Contracting Business.com readers. These will be FULL REGISTRATIONS that will include all the seminars, the trade show, and the entertainment events.

Here's how: just go to the Contracting Business.com Facebook page (bit.ly/CB_Facebook) and click on the "LIKE" button. For those who do that from September 15 through October 3, your name will be put into a drawing and three winners will pulled. I will announce the winners on Facebook and in the Hot Mail E-Newsletter.

Your industry collegues and the team here at Contracting Business.com look forward to helping you make the most of this recovery. Hope you have a great meeting in Indianapolis.