Guest Blog

Explaining a Blackout

December 1, 2010
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You know, a lot of what I talk about these days is the need for training that exists in the HVAC world.  So, without going into another rant on the subject, let me ask you this.  Keeping in mind that we all have our “moments of fuzziness”, is the problem always a lack of training?  Or, could it be that we sometimes just hire anyone that walks in the door who delivers the likelihood of showing up more than two days in a row?

Before you feel compelled to agree, let me tell you why I ask.  The other day, a training class for a new computerized zoning control was being presented by the manufacturer’s rep. He had a nice working display in front of the class that was plugged into an outlet, and was ready for a full demonstration.  As the knowledgeable rep explained the attributes and capabilities of the new equipment, the audience listened intently (sort of) and asked the questions that you would expect at such an event.  Then one tech asked “What happens to the programming stuff if the power goes out?” “Well, we just entered all of our information and schedules into the unit; let’s find out what would happen if it lost power”.  With that he abruptly pulled the power cord out of the wall, and waved it in the air so that the class would see it.

After a minute or two, he plugged it back into the wall, and the lights on the unit flashed.  The rep showed the restless techs that the system had retained all of the programming he had entered earlier, and he went on to spew more technical data.  “No, that’s not what I meant” interrupted the questioning tech.  “I mean what if the power goes out, like a blackout?”  Making sure that he didn’t miss something, the rep took a minute to review what he had just done in his head, then tried to explain that “no power, is no power” regardless of where it starts.  The tech didn’t get it.

Hiring is more of a challenge these days than it has been in the past, but that’s no excuse for putting the wrong guy in the wrong spot.  Find the right ones; it’s worth the wait.
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