Tattoos and Piercings Are the Norm on Young Techs

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to John R. Hall’s column “Let’s Not Judge Our HVAC Kids on Appearance,” Oct. 8.]

I have been in the HVAC industry now for almost 16 years. I am a 33-year-old counter person, employed by Johnstone Supply. I just finished reading John R. Hall’s column in the Oct. 8 issue about the HVAC kids’ appearance and found it to be a great article.

When I first started in this industry 16 years ago, I had long hair, an earring, and four tattoos. After all these years, I now have a shaved head, due to me beating Mother Nature to the punch, almost two complete sleeved tattooed arms, and three earrings. In this industry, I think people should really look around at their fellow HVAC brothers and see that most of them look like me.

In my experience, contractors who come into my store would rather talk to someone who looks like them and who looks like they have been in the field and paid their dues, not someone in a suit and tie who looks like they have never set a condensing unit.

My appearance has never been a problem at any supplier I have ever worked for. In my career, I have worked for Hughes Supply, Carrier, Three States Supply, and now Johnstone Supply. I see these young kids who are getting into HVAC and with the norm of tattoos and piercing today, I just find it shocking that someone would complain about these kids dress and say that they would “not hire one of them to sweep out their garage.”

Well, whoever said that better hope his guys never retire because anyone he tries to hire in the next few years will have the same appearance as those kids they won’t hire.

Michael “Doc” Studard
Johnstone Supply
Memphis, Tenn.

Clothes Don't Make the Student

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to John R. Hall’s column in the Oct. 8 issue.]

Bravo to John R. Hall on his column titled “Let’s Not Judge Our HVAC Kids on Appearance.” At a time when none of us in the industry can find quality candidates to hire, I cannot believe there are those out there that will start attacking the youngsters in the pipeline.

I have a 27-year-old son and he went through several stages of “fitting in” during his teens. But, I will tell you that he was (and is) a hard working, intelligent young man with a good heart and good judgment. I cannot imagine myself talking down to him during a period of his life where he already felt awkward, out of step, or simply pressured to fit in.

The adults around our kids (especially their parents) are the only place these youngsters can turn most times for support, encouragement, consistency, and positive role modeling. I thank John for taking the stand he did in the article. I’ll bet his kids think they have the best dad in the world.

Davis Watkins
Vice President-Applied Products
SANYO Commercial Solutions, HVAC Solutions
Kennesaw, Ga.

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Publication date:11/19/2007