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Tim Hubbard, a service tech and part-time instructor, nominated Taylor for the contest. He told The News that Taylor was able to build the night classes, which were held only once a semester (and sometimes not at all), to four classes each semester.
"This semester, over 100 students were involved in the evening program alone," said Hubbard.
Taylor said that he currently has 38 full-time students and 56 part-time students. So how is he able to keep expanding his program and keeping students interested? Taylor believes it is all about keeping them challenged.
"I have them for six hours a day and I have seven to eight hours of work planned," he said. "You have to keep the student busy with worthwhile projects."
To do this, Taylor has been able to secure a number of donations that have helped to build his lab, turning it into a place that could keep a number of students occupied for a very long time. The students get a great deal of hands-on activity in the lab, with geothermal heat pumps, fuel oil furnaces, 80-percent and 90-percent gas furnaces, and various packaged air conditioning systems.
"By keeping close contacts with suppliers, distributors, and HVAC contractors, my program receives numerous donations," said Taylor. "This allows the classroom budget to be spent on more expendable items."
Taylor believes that this outpouring of support comes from the fact that his program has supplied local businesses with many qualified employees.
"My only fear is that I'll saturate the market," he said.
Taylor has made a lot of contacts in his 23 years in the industry, and he continues to make more by holding continuing education courses.
The state of Kentucky requires that licensed journeymen and masters must acquire eight CEUs each year. Taylor was responsible for starting a program that would provide these classes.
But Taylor believes that the success of his program involves more than just a lot of fancy equipment.
"We take the time to be personally involved with all the students," he said.
Taylor remembers one student who was in desperate need of some extra attention.
"We had one young man who barely got through high school," said Taylor. "He was our shining star. He left my program with a 4.0, graduated, and got a job that paid just shy of $16 an hour. Now he makes more than I do."
Publication date: 10/27/2003