Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, has announced that 19 of its Copeland refrigeration engineering laboratory technicians have been certified according to North American Technician Excellence (NATE) standards for commercial air conditioning. Located in Copeland's headquarters in Sidney, Ohio, they represent the Midwest's largest concentration of NATE-certified engineering lab technicians, says the company.

According to Warren Beeton, vice president of refrigeration engineering for Copeland, the certification program will better help Emerson Climate Technologies understand the technical issues contractors and service technicians face in the field. "Emerson Climate Technologies is dedicated to providing the highest levels of engineering excellence for the products we develop," Beeton said. "The initiative to have our lab technicians certified according to NATE standards resulted from this commitment, and our desire to better meet the needs of our customers."

To prepare for the NATE certification exam, the entire Copeland refrigeration engineering lab staff underwent months of training to get up-to-speed on new information, systems, and testing standards. The lab technicians also took the Industry Competency Exam (ICE) to help with their preparation. Rich Rose, the assembly and inspection supervisor for Copeland's refrigeration engineering division, developed the curriculum and led the training.

"When we began in January 2005, we committed our time and resources to educating and training our technicians so that they could see first-hand what our customers experience in the field," said Rose. "We purchased the recommended training materials from ARI and set aside an hour and a half each week for nine months to help prepare for the exam."

The certification program at Copeland is part of an Emerson-wide initiative to develop technologies that will continue to move the HVACR industry forward. It was designed help lab technicians - some of whom have been out of the field for many years - understand how future products and technologies may be needed and used in the field.

Carl Smith, director of marketing and public relations for NATE, stated that a growing number of manufacturers are choosing to have their technicians certified against NATE standards. "Having certified technicians in key positions within their organizations is something that many major manufacturers are taking seriously. They are making a concentrated effort to have their in-house technicians certified against NATE standards," Smith said. "It is an important next step to have informed, knowledgeable people in place to answer questions, make design recommendations, and understand the needs of the technician in the field. This is a tremendous effort by Emerson Climate Technologies and a great indication of what is to come for the future of our industry."

Two-thirds of Copeland refrigeration engineering laboratory technicians have earned ICE certification and 40 percent have earned NATE certification. Copeland plans to continue its certification process by having engineering technicians take the commercial refrigeration section of the NATE test when it becomes available. The company also plans to support technicians' recertification every five years.

For more information on NATE certification requirements, visit www.natex.org.

Publication date: 03/06/2006