FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation announced its third annual HVAC Apprentice Contest will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2015 during PHCC’s CONNECT 2015 conference in Hollywood, Florida.

The HVAC Apprentice Contest features 15 top HVAC apprentices in a hands-on competition that comprises six events: brazing, where contestants assemble a refrigeration circuit with components following a drawing; refrigerant recovery and identification; a written knowledge test; an opportunity to take readings on a working package unit and make relevant calculations to determine system operation parameters; electrical troubleshooting; and basic electrical skills and wiring.

When 2014 winner Leroy Friend, a technician with Shapiro & Duncan in Rockville, Maryland, returned to work after winning the contest, he brought back a big boost of confidence, a $4,000+ prize package of state-of-the-art tools, and bragging rights for his company. Said Friend, “I was apprehensive at first, but I went ahead and did it… and I’m glad I did. I came back with tons of confidence, and that’s helped me a lot with my job.”

Among the tools that Friend received were refrigeration gauges, hand tools, a drill, an infrared thermometer, a gas detection kit, a multimeter, and a camera with a telescopic head that he uses to look into heat exchangers.

Friend’s supervisor and the service manager at his company, Don Jenkins, sees great value in the tool package and encourages suppliers to continue supporting the contest by donating tools. “Knowledge is great, but it’s only as good as the tools that you use,” he said, adding that manufacturers are constantly coming out with “newer stuff that’s faster and easier to use” and that education and hands-on exposure among the workforce is critical. “With his new tools and what he already had on his truck, there’s really nothing he can’t do.”

More information and the contest application are available here.

Publication date: 6/29/2015

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