Throughout my career I have met some extremely talented refrigerant professionals; the guys who — when you talk the trade — really, really know the business. It’s always a pleasure talking with these guys. I always learn from the experience. I think we all learn by our interaction with each other. We pass along new technologies, rehash old technologies, and sometimes get a new look at the same old refrigeration cycle.

Recently I was at a trade meeting, and we discussed the use of natural refrigerants in our industry. It opened a great discussion on refrigerants and what will become the next generation of refrigerants in our trade. I think we all learned from the experience. I know I did.

I have always been impressed with the true refrigeration professional; the type of guy that not only is able to fix a problem, but also understands the why behind the problem. These guys are not satisfied with just knowing how to replace a failed component or how to install a system. They want to know why it failed and the technology behind the operating system.

All technicians should strive to be that type of person. These guys are definitely not born with this talent, but they all have the same desire to be the best at their craft. They all get there a little differently. Some guys are raised in the trade; their fathers are old-time refrigeration guys, so they learned from them. Others get there by choice or by chance as they decide on a career path. But I think they all share the same desire: to learn, improve their knowledge base, and to be the best they can be in their field.

Becoming this “true” refrigeration professional is not easy; it takes work. These guys are continually going to educational seminars, conferences and trade events. But I think their greatest attribute is their willingness and ability to find the answers to a problem or to the unknown. When they are challenged, they will take extra effort to research information they need and find the answers. They don’t walk away from a problem, challenge, or an unknown. They attack it head on and find the answer. That is what it takes to be a talent in our trade: the desire and motivation to find the answer and learn from the experience. Taking the extra effort is what makes the difference and separates the craftsman from the others.

So the next time you’re faced with a challenge, whether it is not understanding how a component operates or not being able to find the root cause of a system problem, become that true refrigeration professional. Find the answers you need. Don’t just pass it off to another more experienced technician. Instead be the guy that researches the issue, takes the time to solve the problem, and learns what needs to be learned to become a true craftsman in our trade.

Publication date: 10/1/2012