A better place to work

I wanted to thank you for putting the information I provided in your story [“Techs Get No Respect, July 24, 2000, page 1]. However, I feel like I was maybe misquoted on a few things.

When I read the story, it made me feel like I have a bad attitude about the profession I work in. I have given almost 13-plus years to this type of work and feel like better things are still to come. The industry is always changing some for the better and some not.

What I wanted to come out of the story was:

Companies these days need to show some respect and commitment to the working men or women at any level in the company and learn that employees are not just numbers. On the flip side, employees need to have pride in themselves, produce quality work, and care about what they do for a living.

Techs need to express their concerns in a helpful manner with suggestions on how to correct problems, not just point them out and let someone else fix them. Learn not to get caught up with the negative things, but focus on the positive and learn that money is not everything. In the end, if the job doesn’t fit, find another one and grow from your experience.

The company I presently work for has overcome most of the concerns I have listed, and we work together as a group to continue to make things better.

I responded to the request due, in part, to the fact that I have worked as a tech for over 10 years. I understand how it feels to feel like you have no voice. I hope you print the statements I have made to show I do have a positive attitude and will continue to work for making our field better to work in.

John Britz

Worth their weight in gold

I enjoyed reading part one of Joanna Turpin’s three-part article [“Show Me the Money,” July 17, 2000, page 1]. My name is Dan Clark and I am a facilities manager for Analog Devices, Inc. which is a semi-conductor manufacturer located in Cambridge, MA. My background is in hvacr starting with the Navy in 1971 to the present time.

I would like to point out the fact that if you look at all the other skilled trades, plumbing, electrical, sheet metal, etc., the only trade that is required to have certification from the federal government is the hvacr technician.

In addition, in my state, they are talking about having hvacr technicians attend yearly training in order to stay current with new codes and laws. This is now being done for electricians for National Electrical Code updates and training. Also, if one thinks about the fact that a hvacr technician has to know plumbing, electrical theory, and practical electricity, electronics, physics, oil burner operation, sheet metal fabrication, compressor operation/ repair, and controls and on and on, it should be clear that these are extremely skilled technicians.

In my state, I can do an electrician’s job in regards to electrical work, however the electrician can’t do my job without his/her license. The same goes for the plumber. Either you have electricity or you don’t, the water is there or it is not. The electrician and plumber have standard code books that tell them how to run pipe and how many conductors to put into EMT along with how to size systems and breakers.

I am not trying to berate their trades, but their trades are an exact science, hvacr isn’t. How many times has one person been hot while the other is cold, or you size a system “by the book,” but it just doesn’t work and you have to figure out why. Try to figure out why a cooling coil is frosting up — is it low charge, low airflow, etc., and that’s really a simple one. I have seen many an hvacr design engineer scratch his/her head trying to figure out why something doesn’t work and have to rely on the hvacr technician with years of experience to come in to get it working.

I could go on and on, but my point is that to be an hvacr technician requires a skill level that is very high and demanding and should be compensated accordingly. A really good technician is worth his/her weight in gold.

Dan Clark

Facilities Manager

Analog Devices, Inc.

Cambridge, MA