LAS VEGAS — Nick Hughes didn't know what career he wanted to pursue when he left the U.S. Navy three years ago. Now, he will soon graduate from the two-year applied science in air conditioning technology program at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) as the recipient of the Post 9/11 Veterans Tools Award, sponsored by Ken Goodrich, owner of Goettl Air Conditioning.

Unlike traditional college scholarships or endowments, this award allowed Hughes to choose $1,000 worth of tools to take into the next step of his career.

The award is the second endowment given by Goodrich, who in addition to owning Goettl, also sponsors the J. Duncan Goodrich Air Conditioning Technology Lab at CSN as well as the “Son of a Gun” Scholarship, which is awarded to a current student from a multiple generation family in the air conditioning industry.

“I’ve learned through the course of my career people coming out of the military make good employees,” Goodrich said. “This scholarship is a good opportunity to help good people start out strong in the HVAC industry.”

Dennis Soukup, applied science department chair at the college, said when the award was created, Goodrich and he collaborated and based the award benefits on personal experience. Now in its second year, the award will be given to a graduating student every year.

“When I came out of school, I had screwdrivers, nuts, and bolts. What I couldn’t afford was all of this,” Soukup said of the tools Hughes received. “Back then, you worked for an employer, and they took it out of your check.”

Hughes served for seven years as a cook in the Navy. A Northern California native, he excelled at the two-year program and currently works at a local HVAC contracting firm.

“The tools you need are so expensive, and there are so many you need,” said Hughes, 28. “It’s amazing and awesome to have that kind of support, for the community to get together to support a veteran.”

For more information on Goettl Air Conditioning, visit

Publication date: 5/23/2016

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