Training in the Boardroom
November 2, 2009
In the middle of a balmy September, 14 engineers and contractors sat in the boardroom comfort of the Greenheck Learning Center - in the parking lot outside the offices of Air Control Products Inc., a manufacturer rep firm in Broadview Heights, Ohio.
“This is definitely a top-notch training facility,” said Darrell Manno, project manager at T.H. Martin, one of the largest mechanical and sheet metal contractors in the Cleveland area. Manno attends about three weeks worth of training annually, some sales oriented, some technical. Of the three-hour Greenheck session Manno attended inside the traveling AirTour Learning Center, he said, “I will always remember some of the products I saw here today. I didn’t know about the optic sensor control for the kitchen exhaust hoods. The training is very quick, the instructors are to the point, and the learning environment could not be any better.”
The Greenheck AirTour Learning Center is a new multimedia mobile learning center that has traveled more than 12,000 miles to 22 cities since June 2009. By the time the 19-week tour is complete, more than 20,000 miles will have been traveled and nearly 2,000 people will have sat in the comfy chairs in the 1,000-square-foot Learning Center that doubles as a tractor-trailer rig when not parked in front of a Greenheck rep office.
The custom-built Featherlite trailer looks like most rigs going down the highway. However, once the truck pulls into a parking lot, with the push of a few buttons, the sides of the trailer expand, a floor drops in place, tables and chairs appear, and visitors learn about laboratory exhaust systems, energy recovery systems, and make-up air systems. A typical session can accommodate up to 16 people and lasts a little less than three hours. However, some rep offices request training for more people, and the boardroom classroom setting can be adjusted for up to 32 people.
Greenheck factory representatives use the latest education tools to keep participants interested, conduct hands-on product demonstrations, and coordinate live satellite Webinars with other Greenheck engineers.
Several manufacturers and associations also use mobile training classrooms; it would seem that the future of industry education may well be a mix of standard classrooms, rolling classrooms, and virtual classrooms.
During the training hosted by Air Control Products (ACP), two three-hour learning sessions for engineers and contractors were followed by custom training for ACP employees. Dawn Genrich, Greenheck’s product manager for laboratory exhaust, began the day with discussion of a variety of exhaust products, including the Vektor-H, Vektor-MD, and Vektor-CD series used for laboratory exhaust applications. A second Greenheck instructor, Jackson Smith, a senior application engineer, followed with energy recovery systems and make-up air systems. In addition to an overview of these products, information on codes, applications, performance, controls, and maintenance was presented.
All attendees are offered professional development hours (PDH), which are similar to continuing education units (CEU). In the professional engineering community, it is common to seek PDH to maintain LEED accreditation status.
One engineer commented while leaving the parking lot that he was pleasantly surprised at what he saw. “For 30 years I thought fans were all that Greenheck had. I saw a lot of new things today: air handlers, energy recovery ventilators, make-up air, fan coils, fan powered terminals, and even coils. I should have known all this a long time ago.”
It is no surprise that the Wisconsin company is well known for its fan products. Smith commented that Greenheck began as a small sheet metal company in 1947 and has continued to grow and expand its product offering. It is sometimes difficult for people to know about everything the company now offers.
In addition to the AirTour Learning Center experience, Greenheck routinely invites people to its Schofield, Wis., corporate headquarters where a 28,000-square-foot learning experience awaits contractors and engineers. The corporate training facility is one of the largest in the country that is dedicated to air movement products.
If Schofield isn’t in your travel plans, keep an eye out for the AirTour Learning Center. It is sure to be covering a lot of ground in the next few years, and probably coming to a town near you. For more information, contact your local Greenheck representative or visit www.greenheck.com.
Publication date: 11/02/2009