Start Them Young: Addressing the HVAC Labor Shortage Problem w/ Lenny Diaddario and Dustin Blackstone

“There’s a place for both [digital & traditional tools]. I think it’s the new VR style, it’s gonna hit a certain generation, but it’s not gonna be the same as a true hands-on experience. It gives you the basis for then stepping out there and there’s still gonna be that requirement of that hands-on training.”
—Dustin Blackstone

The old guard is far from dying out, but the problem is clear: there’s not enough young qualified technicians out there to address the burgeoning demand. If only there was something that contractors could do to encourage more young people to go into the trades, right?

In this episode of the Service Business Mastery, your hosts Tersh and Josh talk to Lenny Diaddario and Dustin Blackstone of Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions. Our duo from Merson talks about the current efforts of their company to get more young people to learn more about the exciting world of Heating, Ventilation, Airconditioning Refrigeration, and Electrical services.

For Dustin, it’s all about extending a helping hand to schools and talking to students not just in middle school during career day, but also when these kids get into high school and even college. Meanwhile, Lenny emphasizes the need for contractors to help schools design a curriculum that will help students learn about the trades in a way that will not only encourage, but prepare them to take it on as a career. 

Our duo also touches on the future of training, especially with the use of virtual reality (VR). With VR technology getting better by the day, contractors can leverage its capabilities to create better technicians and provide a higher level of service to customers. 


In this episode we discuss:

  • What’s causing the labor shortage in the trades
  • How contractors can help produce more qualified technicians 
  • Will VR replace face-to-face instruction?


Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

  • Visit and use code SBM for a free 2-week trial, 1:1 training and account setup, and 50% off your first two months!

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Meet the Guests:

Dustin Blackstone


Lenny Diaddario


You can also reach out to Lenny and Dustin through this link:


Tune in to hear the latest and greatest in business services trends on Service Business Mastery on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and our website.  

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Meet the Hosts:

Tersh Blissett

Tersh Blissett is a serial entrepreneur who has created and scaled multiple profitable home service businesses in his small-town market. He’s dedicated to giving back to the industry that has provided so much for him and his family. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Joshua Crouch

Joshua Crouch has been in the home services industry, specifically HVAC, for 8+ years as an Operations Manager, Branch Manager, Territory Sales Manager, and Director of Marketing. He’s also the Founder of Relentless Digital, where the focus is dominating your local market online. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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