Is it time to remake the image of the refrigeration technician? Could a new title for the role help the hardest-working men and women in the HVACR industry get more of the respect they so richly deserve? And, more importantly, could a new image help attract more young people to our industry? If so, maybe it’s time to introduce the newest member of the HVACR industry: the thermodynamic energy specialist.

I will state upfront that I cannot take credit for this idea. It came to me from Joe Kokinda, president and CEO of Professional HVAC/R Services Inc. in Sheffield Lake, Ohio. Joe is a passionate “idea guy” who loves HVAC but especially loves refrigeration. Joe shared the TES idea with me, and I’d like to pass it along.

Joe noted that the TES title would require a much greater understanding of the role on the part of the general public, especially compared to what the HVACR technician title conjures up today.

“To be considered a TES, one must deeply understand a number of sciences: electrical, chemical, mechanical, fan laws, IAQ, meteorology, leverage and building science, mathematical, and a few more that, for purposes of brevity, I won’t even mention,” he said. “Our trade has changed so much in the past 20 years that the title ‘HVACR tech’ no longer applies. It needs to go away. It is so short of what one really does. The mental image being displayed will not attract the curious and the passionate to our industry.”

Joe knows there’s more to it than just image. It will take a willingness on the part of HVACR contractors to work hard in their communities to identify great TES candidates and train them in the niche role where they can most excel – such as refrigeration. But obviously perception plays a huge role in getting kids interested in the first place. A high school student who has no interest in being an HVAC technician might feel very differently about being a TES. Once that interest is kindled, only then will the people the industry wants be open and receptive to all the positives the role has to offer.

“If you are really passionate and have an affinity toward mechanical things of all types, wish to have a career that can never be outsourced, has many “niche” specialties to be able to choose from, and leaves you with a good feeling as you go home – or, even better yet, as you go to work the next day – then a thermodynamic energy specialist is what you wish to become,” Joe said.

What do you think? Is it time for a new look and a new attitude in the refrigeration industry? Is it time to demand more respect for those who understand and apply the laws of thermodynamics? Is it time for the TES?

Publication date: 5/3/2017

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