MORTON GROVE, Ill. — Interspersed among a sea of Bell & Gossett’s (B&G’s) signature red pumps in the United Association (UA) Instructor Training classroom, 15 craftsmen were intent on unlocking the mystery of a failed mechanical seal during a pump service and maintenance class.

“The challenge is to figure out why it failed, not just replace it,” said Stan Kutin, guest instructor of Xylem Inc’s Bell & Gossett Little Red Schoolhouse’s (LRSH’s) debut of the pump service and maintenance class at the 2015 Instructor Training Program (ITP).

The ITP is sponsored by the UA union of plumbers, fitters, welders, and service techs and draws 2,000 instructors from UA locals across the U.S., Canada, and Australia to Ann Arbor, Michigan, each year. During the weeklong instruction, UA instructors train in the latest teaching methods and emerging technologies in the trades to help them teach journeymen and apprentices at their UA locals.

Last year, the UA approached Bell & Gossett about forming a partnership to expand B&G’s training to the UA audience.

“Sharing our expertise in hydronic heating systems with UA’s members is a natural extension of our LRSH classes and our online curriculum,” said Larry Konopacz, senior manager, training and education, Xylem. “This training partnership equips trade professionals in the HVAC field with the technical expertise to service and repair pumps in an HVAC system.”

“Having our manufacturing partners, like B&G, provide training to our members helps them become more confident, which means a better experience for building owners,” said Rich Benkowski, training specialist, UA, and one of the coordinators of the partnership.

Based on the success of the inaugural class, it was part of this year’s ITP curriculum and included even more hands-on opportunities. In addition, UA and B&G are expanding their connections beyond the classroom.

“We are also setting up an HVAC mobile classroom with a station dedicated to pump fundamentals, which will include a B&G pump,” Benkowski said.

Both B&G and the UA are pleased with the outcomes thus far. “This is a true partnership,” Benkowski said. “Other vendors sell us things, but to participate at such a high level and as a team — that’s a partner.”

Publication date: 11/21/2016

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