Gary Hodges, left, service manager at Carthage (Miss.) Heating & Cooling, who took first-place during the ninth annual Certified Technician Competition conducted by North American Technician Excellence (NATE), is pictured with NATE President Rex Boynton. (Click on the image for an enlarged view.)

Gary Hodges, service manager at Carthage (Miss.) Heating and Cooling, took first-place honors during the ninth annual Certified Technician Competition recently conducted by North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Held at Comfortech 2008, NATE’s Certified Technician Competition showcases those competing for Top Tech among a group of heating and cooling technicians. NATE selects finalists based on their scores on their previous NATE-qualifying exam - a test that evaluates practical knowledge of heating and cooling system installation and maintenance.

Hodges was already one of the nation’s best technicians among the thousands throughout the United States who took a NATE exam in 2007, according to NATE. After winning the competition, he said, “It’s a real honor to win this award because it reassures me that I can apply my knowledge to everyday heating and cooling problems. I definitely credit the NATE series of tests for helping to prepare me for this competition.”

Part of the HVACR industry for more than 15 years, Hodges won the competition by achieving the best combined score from a series of timed, hands-on events that simulated various real-world heating and cooling challenges. Started in 2000, the Certified Technician Competition serves as a means of recognizing the knowledge and skill necessary to service today’s highly sophisticated heating and cooling systems. NATE President Rex Boynton said, “NATE certification benefits not only professional technicians and contractors, but also consumers. Certification provides assurance that a technician excels in the knowledge and skills necessary to be among the best in the heating and cooling industry.”

Hodges, who has earned a number of NATE certifications, says that certification also adds credibility to the industry. “The exam proves that a technician fully understands HVACR. NATE certification improves confidence among contractors and customers and benefits the HVACR industry. It’s a great asset for the entire industry.”

Corporate sponsors of this year’s Certified Technician Competition were Carrier, Emerson Climate Technologies, Rheem, Service Experts, Lennox Industries, and HVAC Learning Solutions.

For more information about Carthage Heating and Cooling, call 601-267-4611.

Publication date:11/17/2008