Training & Education

Expanding the Reach of Sustainability and HC Training

January 14, 2013

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. – Sustainability and hydrocarbon refrigerants have moved high on the agenda of initiatives being offered to those in HVACR by the RSES.

Updates on these services — as well as those related to training trainers — were given at the most recent RSES International Conference in November at the Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, S.C.

Roger Hensley, chair of the society’s Educational and Examining Board, said three titles are being developed as part of the RSES Sustainability Series. An electronically commutated motors manual should be completed and made available the first quarter of 2013, a geothermal systems manual was released at the conference, and a radiant heating manual is currently being reviewed. The radiant heating document is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2013. A future title on variable frequency drives is also in the planning stages.

Meanwhile, the trade association is continuing to develop information related to HC refrigerants certification training. Hensley said an HC study guide and examination have been completed to help technicians better understand how to work with the refrigerant.

Two conference sessions were devoted to HCs and presented by Pat Murphy, director of training and testing, RSES.

In addition to sustainability and HC-related projects, RSES addressed technician training.

One of RSES’s newest educational developments, the RSES Certified Trainer (RCT) program, was debuted at the conference.

“The goal of the program is to make quality HVACR instruction widely available to those working or conducting business in the industry,” said Hensley.

It was noted that the RCT program “provides training focusing on safety and the improvement of operational and maintenance competency in the HVACR environment. The RCT may use RSES-published materials, RSES-certified instructor-developed materials, industry standard materials, and other resources such as machinery-specific operating and maintenance manuals necessary to provide quality instruction.”


Mike Eckstein, a facilities manager from the Kansas City, Mo. area and regional director of the Greater Kansas City area RSES chapter, was elected as RSES international president, the society’s top elected position.

Eckstein entered the industry in 1988, after completing two years at what is now Vatterott Education Centers. He said that coming from a rural part of Missouri means he “did it all,” including refrigeration, residential heating and cooling, and lots of electrical.

His industry work helped land him his current position as an electrician for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

His exposure to RSES began when his school teachers took him to chapter meetings. He joined the association in 1990, serving in various elected offices at the local, regional, and international levels before being elected to the board of directors in 2005.

“Being in RSES has taught me a lot,” he said. “Early on I thought I knew everything, but I soon realized I didn’t. Being in RSES has allowed me to learn from those more experienced than me.”

Eckstein has also worked very closely with SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers, and industry members working together to develop a skilled workforce.

He has been a persistent participant in the annual conference and championships in Kansas City, Mo., for which he has been involved for more than 15 years. The organization’s local, state, and regional vocational events, and national championship showcase skilled students as they prepare to embark on a variety of vocational careers.

He is again scheduled to serve as a judge at this year’s SkillsUSA competition, and will head RSES’ 2013 sponsorship of the recovery sector in the HVACR national championships.

Eckstein said, as president, he hopes to offer more of the society’s expansive educational offerings electronically, and will push for additional site-specific seminars.


Even as HVACR focuses on technology and methods to distribute that information, it is also an industry of people who should be “students of the industry and not be afraid to jump in and get involved,” said keynote speaker Ruth Ann Davis, vice president of sales, Williams Comfort Products, Colton, Calif. “Making a difference involves people. Get to know yourself, your strengths, and don’t worry about your weaknesses. Make a list of what you’d like to see accomplished.

“We are an industry of 1 million strong and we are a growing industry. In the next five years, we will need 86,000 new people. We need to take more pride in the industry we are involved in so we can collectively make a difference.”

Publication date: 1/14/2013

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