North American Technician Excellence (NATE), the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for HVACR technicians, is kicking off a campaign to educate homeowners throughout the country about the importance of selecting contractors who hire NATE-certified technicians. By obtaining NATE certification, a technician verifies that they possess the skills and knowledge to perform at the highest industry standards; demonstrating their value to both the customer and their hiring contractor.

In 2011, NATE aims to increase consumer awareness of this quality assurance offered by certification, while simultaneously elevating those contractors who demonstrate their commitment to excellence by demanding NATE certification. In addition, NATE is making it easier than ever for contractors to promote their NATE-certified technicians and rewarding these efforts with the new “Showcase Your NATE” Sweepstakes.

Consumers, Meet NATE

Through network radio advertisements, mentions on national television and articles in newspapers and magazines, today’s homeowners will be informed of the protection and peace-of-mind that result from hiring NATE-certified HVACR professionals. For example, radio ads will air on programs such as CBS World News, Dennis Miller and Bill O’Reilly, as well as NCAA and NFL football, driving homeowners to the NATE consumer website (www.hvacradvice.com) to find local HVACR contractors who employ NATE-certified technicians.

As an increasing number of homeowners learn about NATE and visit the site to find a qualified contactor in their area, it’s more important than ever for contractors to include their company information on the Consumer Contractor Connection – NATE’s online locator tool. If 50 percent of a contractor’s technicians are NATE-certified, they are eligible to post a free listing in the Consumer Contractor Connection, helping to attract new customers.

“The overall goal of this program is to educate homeowners about NATE certification; not only is this effort important in terms of consumer protection and quality assurance, but it also ultimately improves the business of those contractors who demonstrate their dedication to superior installation and service,” states Peter Schwartz, NATE President and CEO. “As an industry advocate, NATE aims to promote the HVACR industry’s knowledge and commitment to excellence, which is exemplified by maintaining certification.”

Showcase Your NATE for Success

To further assist contractors in capitalizing on these upcoming efforts and connecting to consumers seeking NATE-certified technicians, a new dime-sized logo is available for use in contractors’ advertisements. The new NATE logo clearly communicates that the contractor employs certified technicians, while leaving ample space for their company information and other important messages. Qualified contractors can visit NATE’s website (www.natex.org) to request the logo for use in their consumer communication.

Since many top contractors actively promote their NATE-certified technicians to highlight their expertise and increase their business, NATE is also launching the new “Showcase Your NATE” Sweepstakes to reward these efforts. To participate, contractors are invited to submit descriptions and pictures of the various ways that they use NATE to build consumer confidence and attract new customers. With each submission, the contractor is entered into a regular drawing for a chance to win $1,000 in free local advertising and/or NATE promotional materials. Many entries will also be featured online, offering the contractor additional exposure and recognition for their commitment to quality work.

The “Showcase Your NATE” entries can be submitted via email to sweepstakes@natex.org or by mailing them to “Showcase Your NATE” Sweepstakes, 2111 Wilson Blvd #510, Arlington, VA 22201. Many entries will be featured on NATE’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/natecertification) and in other communication materials.

For more information about the sweepstakes, visit www.natex.org.