Ferris Grads Stay Close to Home

July 6, 2001
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(From left) Brian Janke, Rodney Cook, and David Hearth.
COMSTOCK PARK, MI — If they want to call their alma mater “home,” then there are three Ferris State University (FSU) grads who have not wandered too far from the nest. Brian Janke, David Hearth, and Rodney Cook all landed on their feet at Process Engineering & Equipment Co. (PECO) in this town, approximately 50 miles south of Big Rapids, home to FSU.

Janke is the eldest of the trio, having graduated from FSU in 1990. Janke was a member of the hvacr program before it bore the moniker of “hvacr.”

“We were in the Energy Management program, which was formed as a reaction to the energy crunch of the 70s,” he said. “The program was evolving, yet the market for energy management was waning.”

While a student, Janke interned at Comp-Aire Systems, which did design/build for clean rooms in the semi-conductor industry. When Comp-Aire folded, he joined PECO, which had been an equipment supplier to Comp-Aire.

Janke, a project engineer, is very happy with the route he traveled to PECO and the education he received at FSU. “My FSU background gave me a big advantage over other training,” he said. “It’s incomparable to other programs which teach a lot of theory. FSU stressed hands-on training.”

Hearth grew up in western Michigan and joined the U.S. Navy after high school. He eventually enrolled at FSU and graduated in 1998.

Hearth did his internship at PECO, which he credits with guiding him toward his current job as hvacr engineer. He chose FSU because he wanted a good, basic knowledge of hvacr.

“Today I talk with a lot of engineers and spec jobs with York equipment, which I try to sell a lot of.”

The youngest of the group is Cook, also an hvacr engineer, who grew up in eastern Michigan. He graduated this past May. Cook interned at Holwerda-Huiszinga during his time at FSU. The job exposure allowed him to choose from a number of different options.

With PECO, Cook said, “I do a lot of bid and spec work. Part of my job also involves inside sales, too.”

When PECO recently became a distributor for York International, its markets shifted from heavy industrial work to design/build engineering for schools, hospitals, and other businesses. The new markets are giving Janke, Hearth, and Cook a lot to “cut their teeth” on.

Publication date: 07/09/2001

Sidebar: FSU Student Is an Accomplished Hvacr Vet

Joe Ludy is a little older than the three former FSU grads he works with. Ludy is interning for York International while on assignment at PECO and attending FSU. But Ludy comes from a different generation of workers.

Ludy is attending FSU in hopes of becoming an instructor at the university, or working in a similar position at a nearby school. He is in his mid-40s, having already spent over 20 years in the hvacr trade.

The former owner of a commercial/industrial hvacr contracting business, Ludy decided that a few major surgeries were enough to convince him that he should get out of the day-to-day contracting business.

The native of Portland, IN, is planning to graduate in May 2002 and would like to be a part of the expanding faculty as the FSU hvacr school moves into a new facility and plans to offer more classes.

Publication date: 07/09/2001

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