SMART-SMACNA National Marketing

Labors of Hercules

Denver’s Hercules Industries leverages the experience of military veterans to thrive in a down economy.


Chantilly, VA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/27/2015 --When the economy took a downturn, Denver's Hercules Industries didn't. How did the wholesale distributor and manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) products and equipment manage it? "When you step back and look, our single biggest asset is our employees," says Dan Grady, Hercules' commercial branch manager.

Many of those employees are veterans. "Individuals who have served in the military have a certain power," Grady says. He believes veterans have a unique interconnection between purpose, work ethic, leadership, and drive and the ability to make decisions quickly and accurately. "A majority of our competitors cannot bring this blend of talent to the table," Grady adds.

Hercules relies on the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) to provide this quality labor. According to SMART Local 9 Business Manager Eric DeBay, many individuals have gone straight from the U.S. Navy's metal department to SMART's apprenticeship program. "These apprentices bring discipline and leadership with them…They excel in training and the trade."

Identifying qualified veterans is not difficult as a result of the Helmets to Hardhats program, which helps military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry. Helmets to Hardhats maintains a database of more than 100,000 former military career seekers.

Helmets to Hardhats gives veterans an opportunity to transition into federally approved apprenticeship training programs—such as the one affiliated with SMART Local 9. These programs not only come at no cost to veterans and provide an income during training, but also they lead into well-paying careers in specialized, skilled crafts.

Hercules Industries:
SMART Local 9:
Helmets to Hardhats:
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The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) have a labor-management partnership that is more than 75 years old. The goal is to maintain an effective cooperative effort that demonstrates Expertise in the industrial and architectural sheet metal and heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) markets. SMART and SMACNA publish Partners in Progress magazine. For additional information, visit