Sometimes we talk an awful lot about what the industry needs, what it is lacking, and how we can improve it. Seldom do we actually take a look at the people who are good for our industry and really going out of their way to make a difference.

Back in September, The News honored the winners of our first-ever “Best Hvacr Instructor of the Year” contest. In fact, we didn’t just honor one instructor, but eight different individuals who are making an impact on the future of the trade. We had so many entries come into the office, all with remarkable stories and contributions, that giving the spotlight to one instructor would have been a shame.

Well, it’s time, again, to begin voting for your best instructor. On page 25 you will find information and the entry form for our second annual “Best Hvacr Instructor of the Year” contest. I think I speak for the rest of The News staff when I say that we are really looking forward to kicking off the contest again.

Last year, over 100 instructors were nominated by their students for the contest. This included students from vocational high schools, colleges, and even correctional institutions from across the country.

It was remarkable to read the nominations these students sent in. They were sincere, excited, and genuinely passionate about the trade. Over and over again I read comments from students that praised their instructor and stated that because of them they wanted to continue in the industry. I read several times about instructors who make the trade interesting and easy to learn.

This is no small feat.

Also, many students said that their instructor gauged them on a personal level. Not only were they amazing teachers, but amazing people with characteristics you would want in a friend. Students said their instructors were positive, instilled self-esteem, had a great sense of humor, and gave strong encouragement.


The bottom line is that this industry has some extraordinary people teaching the next generation of technicians. And they are not just preparing them to service and install hvac systems, they are going out of their way to create well-rounded men and women. This may sound over the top, but it explains what we have heard from these students. If it were not for the professional and friendly attitude of these instructors, we may have even fewer individuals lining up to enter the field.

After the students sent in their nominations, we notified the instructors and requested some information from them. Where the students were able to say what an inspiration their teachers have been, the instructors supplied us with information that was impressive to say the least.

We have a number of educators working in the field that are building and revitalizing hvacr programs. Departments that were on the verge of closing were able to reopen and have new life due to some instructors. We’ve seen instructors that are creating, developing, and investing in programs that will bolster the hands-on training of their students. This includes taking part in Habitat for Humanity or volunteering to repair heating and a/c units for the less fortunate and elderly. We’ve even found instructors that have a knack for finding donations and help for their labs. And finally, we’ve seen instructors that have taken their students and put them out in to the field, making them visible to contractors and companies. The instructors we’ve seen have created such qualified techs, that almost all of them have prime jobs when they graduate.


Now that we are ready to launch our second instructor contest, we’re looking forward to reading about more of these excellent instructors. And we’re pretty sure you want to read about them, too. Who wants to read about what the industry needs all the time, when we can take a look at what the industry has and needs to hold on to? Please note that we will be accepting nominees through May 21. Also, you can e-mail us with your nominees by filling out the entry form on our website,www. After reviewing all entries and contacting the nominated instructors for more information,The Newseditorial team will get together to decide who the winner (or winners) will be for 2001. Each winner will receive a plaque and will be featured in our Sept. 10 issue. For some, it will be an encouraging start to the 2001-2002 school year. So, who was the best teacher you ever had? Let us know.

Siegel is training & education editor. He can be reached at 248-244-1731; 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 03/12/2001