Instructor Bill Mozingo (right) stretches to observe the brazing techniques by student Tim Askew.
WINTERVILLE, N.C. - Ask Billy Mozingo an HVAC question, turn on the tape recorder, walk away, return an hour later, and he might still be talking.

The winner of the Best Instructor contest sponsored by The NEWS and ARI just thoroughly enjoys teaching HVACR at Pitt Community College (PCC), located in Winterville, N.C., and is bound and determined to have the best program around for students.

If anything, "This is almost like a Cinderella story," said Mozingo, who is not bragging. Here is a high school dropout who had a child at age 17, and had to hurdle a lot of obstacles in his life before coming aboard as instructor at PCC in 1997. With his heart set on helping students prepare for an HVACR career, Mozingo was mainly responsible for transforming the program into one of the most attractive offerings in the state and elsewhere.

Under his guidance, PCC is the only program in North Carolina that has earned accreditation in residential air conditioning, light commercial air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). It has nearly doubled its enrollment in HVACR. Enrollment increased from 28 to 46 students this school year.

PCC is scheduled to have dual enrollment with local high schools beginning with the 2006-07 school year. He had hoped to have the program in place this school year, but politics, in part, hindered the progress.

"Dual enrollment will give me the opportunity to expose graduating high school students to the HVACR industry and our program at Pitt," said Mozingo.

While student Seth Edwards does some adjusting on a gas furnace, instructor Billy Mozingo is right there to supply advice.
"Students will be able to receive curriculum credit for HVACR coursework on both the high school and college level."

The program is offering refresher courses for those who wish to take the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification exams. Mozingo pushed for this to happen and NATE accepted him as a proctor.

In truth, students - as well as administrators - at PCC cannot say enough about the man who is considered not only an excellent teacher, but also a role model for many.

"He's like a big brother to me," said second-year student Billy Carr. "He'll help you in any way possible."

Proudly showing his 2005 Best Instructor of the Year award is Pitt Community College instructor Billy Mozingo.

Overcoming Obstacles

Not bad for a person who had to go back to school - ironically, PCC - in 1989 and 1990 in order to get his associate's degree. Now, Mozingo cannot get enough education as he attends numerous classes and seminars annually, including the ARI instructor conferences. Starting next fall, Mozingo will be taking online classes from Ferris State University to satisfy the general education requirements for a B.S. degree in HVACR Engineering Technology.

"I'm never satisfied," said Mozingo. "I'm always looking to better myself and this program."

A young Mozingo took a strong interest in refrigeration while working for Carolina Dairies, located in nearby Greenville, N.C. He held many positions there, but was eventually asked to work on refrigeration equipment, including refrigerated trucks, display cases, and more.

When former long-time PCC instructor Roy Boyd decided to retire, he approached Mozingo to see if he was interested in teaching. Mozingo was uncertain if he wanted to take that leap.

"It was a difficult decision," he admitted. "I said to myself, ‘Billy, who do you think you are kidding?' I was really skeptical."

Not only did Mozingo earn the respect of the administration his first year in 1997, he earned the respect of his students. He was voted the college's Teacher of the Year his initial year at PCC. He has earned several teaching award certifications from the school ever since.

"Thanks to their [administration's] support and our board of trustees, I have nothing to complain about," said Mozingo.

Tracing the control wiring on a mini-split heat pump are (from left) student Reginald Spain, instructor Billy Mozingo, and student Billy Carr.

Here For The Students

Certificates can be earned in two semesters, a diploma in three semesters, and an associate's degree in five semesters at PCC. In regard to coursework, Mozingo said 60 percent is theory and 40 percent is hands-on training. He prefers such a ratio.

"You have to have the knowledge first before you can do anything," he said.

He makes it mandatory that each student take the Industry Competency Exam (ICE), not only for each student's benefit, but for his sake, too.

"I see these as my report card," he said, referring to ICE. "How do you know if you are really teaching your students without some sort of outside entity checking and testing? It tells me if I have gotten through to the students or not."

In seeking PAHRA accreditation, Mozingo wanted to know how well his program was doing.

"You don't know until you agree to expose yourself," he said. "But PAHRA validated our program to the boards of education at the high schools. It makes this school more viable."

And that's what it's all about for Mozingo, who is NATE certified in installation and service for air conditioning, heat pumps, gas heat, and oil heat.

While Billy Mozingo (far left) monitors, student Seth Edwards, holding the manometer, adjusts the fuel pressure on a gas furnace.
He has ICE certification in residential, light commercial, and commercial refrigeration. He is also an OSHA-certified safety trainer, an ACCA-certified trainer in residential and light commercial system design, and a North Carolina state licensed commercial refrigeration contractor.

Students get real-world training, as PCC builds two 1,610-square-foot project homes on the campus annually. Each is auctioned off at the end of construction. HVACR students are taught how to use Manual J to properly size the HVAC system, Manual D to design the air distribution system, and Manual S to select the system.

"We perform blower door tests to demonstrate infiltration and to check for duct leakage," he said.

Mozingo takes advantage of an active advisory board, which meets twice a year. With their help, he has established a cooperative education course. Graduating students completing their last semester are paired with employers one day each week to assist their techs and installers.

"Starting salaries are significantly higher for these students because the employers know what these students have learned and how readily trained they are to be productive members of their company," said Mozingo.

Quick Stats

Contest Placement:First-Place Winner

Instructor: Billy Mozingo

College Or School: Pitt Community College

Location: Winterville, N.C.

Years Teaching: 8

Publication date: 11/14/2005