Rigging was tested as part of the United Association’s (UA’s) 55th annual Instructor Training Program (ITP), which took place at Washtenaw Community College’s Great Lakes Training Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Just before the start of the Summer Olympics in China, the HVACR industry hosted a different kind of competition when the United Association’s (UA’s) 55th annual Instructor Training Program (ITP) was held recently at Washtenaw Community College’s Great Lakes Training Center.

Competitive areas ranged from applied and technical courses and post-graduate courses, to special needs courses, such as backflow prevention assembly tester recertification, UA Star certification/recertification, and adult life support/first aid recertification.

New classes at the event included public speaking, operation of a UA training program, and structures for learning, as well as basic computer for the trade teacher. Technical courses included trade-related trigonometry, arc welding, and copper piping systems (advanced installations, specialized designs, and safe operation). Additional courses included chiller technologies and controls, rigging fundamentals, pneumatic controls, how to teach HVACR service, air and water balancing, and backflow repair and maintenance.


Another new course, and one that was extremely popular, was green awareness certification, “designed to give attention to the proper specification, purchase, and application of energy-efficient products. The purpose of this course,” according to UA, “is to heighten the awareness of green concepts, systems, terminology, and products.”

The program’s green trailer, another new feature of ITP, taught trainers how to teach the basic concepts of specific green technologies, such as how to set up the trailer and operation of the fuel cell generator. Some of the trailer’s onboard demonstrations included the fuel cell trainer, wind power generation, a plumbing systems trainer, solar heating system, geothermal training system, and a high-efficiency gas furnace with variable-speed fan.

The green technology trainer was outfitted by Hampden Engineering Corp., East Longmeadow, Mass., a company that specializes in teaching equipment. The 44-foot Green Gooseneck Trailer is a mobile classroom that provides hands-on skills and training in the emerging field of sustainable technology. The trailer included the following:

• A fuel cell technology trainer that allowed students to create a grid-independent supply that uses only hydrogen as its fuel.

• An aerobic digester bench top trainer designed as a comprehensive study facility of biological water treatment processes.

• A geothermal trainer that provides hands-on training by allowing students to conduct tests and adjustments on a modern geothermal heat pump.

• An infiltration demonstrator that investigates the infiltration rates of different soil types and soil surface treatments.

• A plumbing system trainer that demonstrates the process of using gray water in toilet flushing systems.

• A solar heat system trainer is an actual solar water heating system mounted on a mobile frame. The collector panel is adjustable for easier monitoring in direct sunlight.

• A residential piping trainer that demonstrates the process of a low-flow pressure-assisted toilet system.

• A heat pump trainer designed for use with a variety of fossil fuel furnaces, electric furnaces, air handlers, and evaporator coil combinations.

• A photovoltaic trainer that offers the user a practical alternative to the difficulties of supplying electric power to remote locations.

• A wind power generator designed to provide students with a basic understanding of how wind generators function as an alternate source of energy.

• A basic anaerobic digester that functions as a bench top trainer, designed to demonstrate the fundamentals of the anaerobic treatment processes. Anaerobic treatment processes involve bacteria that function only in the absence of air.

Steve Allen demonstrates equipment in the United Association’s green trailer. This new feature of the Instructor Training Program taught trainers how to teach the basic concepts of specific green technologies.


The goal of the event is to help students and instructors meet the needs of today’s industry.

“These are challenging times for us all,” commented UA general president Bill Hite in his greeting for “Industry Day,” a day set aside for contractors and others to visit and observe the activities. “Our contractors expect us to provide enough skilled craftsmen to man their work. The UA is determined to provide that skilled manpower.

“Our instructor Training Program - established now for more than one-half century - is an essential component of our international training programs,” he said. “Here at Washtenaw, we prepare those individuals who will train the skilled craftspeople of tomorrow.”

The program is evolving to meet the industry’s changing needs. “We are committed to staying ahead of the curve,” said Hite; “we pledge to work in cooperation with both contractors and construction users.”

“Industry Day is a proud tradition of the UA,” said Michael Arndt, UA director of training. “There are many new courses this year,” he said, describing them as “a strong expansion of our already comprehensive curriculum.”

Cathy Merkel, UA registrar, said there were 1,817 trainers being trained this year, taught by 300 additional instructors; 368 first-year attendees could choose from 81 courses in 223 sectors. The green awareness program offered basic concepts and vocabulary for anyone wishing to learn, including contractors’ technicians or even office and administrative staff.

The winners of the competition included Bernhard Janisch (pipefitter), Local 636, Detroit; Martin Stevens (welder), Local 50, Toledo, Ohio; Tyrrel Graham (HVAC), Local 539, Minneapolis; Nick Hahn (plumber), Local 130, Chicago; and Alan Crawford (sprinkler fitter), Local 281, Chicago.

The Allyn Parmenter and George Bliss UA Directors of Training Award was given to Josh Morris (plumber), Local 370, Flint, Mich. The award “recognizes the apprentice contestant who demonstrates exceptional leadership and honors the ideals set forth by the standard for excellence.”

Publication date:10/13/2008