CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Honoring those who play a crucial role in developing tomorrow’s workers, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association (PHCC) named Paul Hallam, an educator at Mechanical Skills Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana, its 2022 Plumbing Instructor of the Year. The award — sponsored by PHCC Corporate Partner Milwaukee Tool — was presented last week at PHCCCONNECT2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Michael Lorenzen accepted the award on Hallam’s behalf.

An experienced classroom instructor, the transition to online instruction in recent years required some “out-of-the-box thinking,” announced PHCC - National Joel Long during the awards ceremony. While most online courses are self-paced and teacherless, Mechanical Skills created a face-to-face Zoom environment to mirror a conventional classroom experience. In addition to teaching technical aspects, instructors also must get creative to pique interest, encourage participation, and motivate their students.

In that spirit, Hallam created a Facebook group, encouraging students to share photos highlighting on-the-job accomplishments and “you gotta see this” moments. On this platform, he includes fun photos and links to enhance the learning experience and maintain engagement.

Hallam communicates regularly with his students via email and social media and has established a strong personal rapport with them. He begins his classes sharing real-life experiences and encourages his students to share theirs.

“The engagement is remarkable,” said Hallam’s supervisor. “I am always impressed by the number of students who stay after class each week to have additional conversations and thank him for his efforts.” It is that leadership and dedication to students and the plumbing industry that make Hallam most deserving of this award.