Swisher Rides Shotgun

November 5, 2007
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Honorable Mention winner Ed Swisher addresses students at the Apprentice Training Center of United Association Local 447 in Sacramento, Calif.

When Ed Swisher returned the phone call notifying him that he had earned Honorable Mention honors in the Best Instructor competition sponsored by The NEWS and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, he was riding shotgun in a service van being driven by one of his students. Student and instructor were on their way to the startup of a dehumidifier for an indoor swimming pool in the Sacramento, Calif., area.

Swisher doesn’t necessarily team up with the 15 to 20 students he teaches each year. It just so happens that both he and this student work for the same company, Airco Mechanical Inc. Airco is one of some 30 companies in the Sacramento area that cooperate with the Apprentice Training Center of United Association Local 447.

Persons who pass the local’s apprenticeship test are given a list of those 30 companies and are sent out to try to get a job with one of them either as a pre-apprentice or apprentice. Then they work eight hours a day for the company that hired them. And then two nights a week for three hours each night, they are in the classroom. It’s a five-year program leading to a journeyman license. They spend the fifth year under Swisher’s tutorage.

“In the classroom, they get the fundamentals to better understand what they’ve been working on during the day,” Swisher said. With students bringing daily experiences to the classroom, it does make for some real-world training, he said.

“We are dealing with questions like, ‘Why does a liquid line have to be a certain diameter?’ or ‘What happens when there is an increase in humidity?’”

Swisher has been in the industry since 1970 and an instructor since 2000.

For Airco, he is HVAC foreman, which involves startups of new equipment in a wide range of commercial applications.

QUICK STATS

BEST INSTRUCTOR: HONORABLE MENTION

INSTRUCTOR: Edwin Swisher

COLLEGE OR SCHOOL: UA Local 447 Apprenticeship Training Center

LOCATION: Sacramento, Calif.

YEARS TEACHING: 7

Publication date: 11/05/2007

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