Business Buzz: October 12th, 2017

New Kiwanis President Has Laser Focus On Local Youth

BY GARY REDFERN Business Buzz Reporter

As the 2017-18 president of the noontime Kiwanis Club of El Centro, Tim Blankenship said he will seek input from club members to set specific priorities, but his overarching objective remains rooted in tradition.

“Kiwanis cares about kids. That’s what attracted me to join. It helps our local youth. If someone contributes, it is going to stay right here in El Centro,” he said.

The local service club is a division of Kiwanis International and meets Fridays at noon at the El Centro Police Activities League center at 1100 N. 4th St.

A retired El Centro Police Department lieutenant, Blankenship has a long history of helping local youth and some valued mentors. He said he plans to draw on those experiences as he leads the nearly century-old local Kiwanis Club over the coming year. His term began Oct. 1.

“My first assignment as a detective was juveniles and then I went to training and became the child abuse expert in the department,” he recalls of his 34-year law enforcement career that ended with his retirement in 2003.

He also noticed those who had a positive influence on him over the years, and not coincidentally many of them were Kiwanis members, including former local educators Bill Criman, Eugene Tubach, Joe Vogel and Butch Taylor. One man stands out for him, however.

“Conrad Harrison. He was special,” Blankenship recalls of the late El Centro Parks and Recreation director and longtime Kiwanian.

Blankenship said he looks forward to following in Harrison’s footsteps. He notes he will have plenty of help from all the club’s members and in particular treasurer and 2018-19 president-elect Doug Newland, and Robertta Burns and Randy Taylor, who he described as members always ready to do whatever is needed. He also lauded outgoing president Betty Tucker for her efforts.

Major contributions from Kiwanis include a recent donation to the Imperial Valley Center for Exceptional Children to help kids with autism. In prior years, it has aided the House of Hope home for abused women and their children and many other organizations, as well as performing community cleanups.

The local club joins in Kiwanis International funding efforts, most recently supporting Burning Bush International Ministries in its effort to develop water wells in Uganda.

But Blankenship said the club’s view is no need is too small.

“We give student scholarships. We give to youth for sports travel. It’s not so much the big things-we get letters from someone who needs a little help,” he said.

As far as priorities for his term, Blankenship said he will take his cue from club members.

“At my first meeting as president, I want to get their input. This is their club,” he said.

Promoting the club to get more members is also a main goal, Blankenship added, saying, “We want members to wear their Kiwanis lapel pins and see who has what it takes to be a member. It’s important for people in the community to know their banker or attorney is a Kiwanian and is active in the community, making an investment of their time and money.”

Besides member contributions, Kiwanis has two major annual fundraisers, a dinnerdraw in September and a fireworks booth in June-July outside Lucky’s market in El Centro.

Local Contractor Goes To Washington


The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is one of the largest energy consumers in America. It takes a significant amount of energy to operate the comfort and refrigeration systems that keep us alive. That’s right, they keep us alive.

During heat waves, for instance, state and local governments undertake efforts, like opening “cooling centers,” to protect vulnerable populations, especially the elderly. Recent news of the 12 deaths in a Florida nursing home caused by excessive heat is a reminder of how important air conditioning is to elderly populations. In addition to making indoor spaces more “livable” (in the truest sense of that word), air conditioning and refrigeration systems also make modern medicine possible, keep food fresh and information technology systems operational.

While it may seem that events in Washington, D.C. are irrelevant to the work I do as an HVAC contractor, the decisions made by our Members of Congress have a direct impact on my business and your HVAC system. Federal tax incentives for more efficient HVAC equipment, the ENERGY STAR Program, tax reform, safety regulations and refrigerant laws have a significant impact on all of us who rely on heating and air conditioning in our homes and businesses.

In coming weeks, Congress will begin to review legislation that impacts the HVAC industry. They will consider efforts to modify the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and legislation related to the ENERGY STAR program. Therefore, on October 12, as a Board Member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, I will be on Capitol Hill with fellow contractors to educate Congress about issues that are very important to contractors and consumers.

When I meet with Congressman Juan Vargas and Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris, I will be discussing one of the most significant problems that have resulted from the federal government’s relentless efforts to increase HVAC equipment efficiency. More than half of the homes in the U.S. have not had their HVAC systems installed correctly, which has had a great impact on the efficiency, safety, and indoor air quality in these homes. The Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology estimate that installation problems decrease HVAC system efficiencies by up to 40 percent (or more), and increase the chances of refrigerant leaks and mold growth.

The federal government’s focus on equipment efficiency has resulted in widespread installation problems because it leads consumers to believe that the HVAC equipment is the answer to their energy efficiency needs. However, HVAC equipment must be incorporated as part of a comprehensive system and installed according to highly technical instructions: including proper equipment sizing, precise air flow, and adequate refrigerant charges. Treating HVAC equipment like “plug and play” appliances, similar to refrigerators or washing machines, leads consumers to think that they can be installed by any handyman or neighbor who has a nice tool set.

I see this problem every day, right in our community.

Therefore, I will be asking my elected officials to support efforts to promote quality HVAC installation practices in any legislation that impacts the HVAC industry. More specifically, I will request that they require the EPA and Department of Energy to work with state energy officials and utility commissions to develop incentives and education programs that encourage homeowners to demand properly installed HVAC systems from their contractors. I will also request that they support the ENERGY STAR program and incorporate reforms that include efforts to better promote the necessary design and installation components for HVAC systems.

Another important topic I will be addressing is workforce development. The HVAC industry has to fill more than 100,000 jobs in the next few years. I will request that my elected officials support legislation to make apprenticeship programs easier to start and to ensure adequate funding for our nation’s technical and vocational schools. The continued focus on four year degrees must be supplemented with other career opportunities. Simply put, Congress has to do more to promote the value of jobs in the skilled trades: none of which will be exported!

I hope you will join me in supporting efforts to encourage our elected officials to support the skilled trades and address some of the consumer awareness issues that need to be considered as Congress debates our national energy policy.

It is important that we take part in these activities because this is how a democracy works. It is one of the principles enshrined in the bill of rights – the right to petition the government. If we don’t speak up in support of our principles, then who will?

Air Conditioning Guys, Inc.- A Becerril Family Co B Air – North America Ductless Mini Splits Board Member, Air Conditioning Contractors of America Former Chairman Imperial County Board of Supervisors 1413 W. Main St, El Centro, CA 92243