Up-To-Date Training

In response to the letter [“Updating Courses, Expanding Horizons”] by Leo Meyer in the March 25 issue, I would just like to comment.

Leo has done a great amount of writing for us in our service curriculum and other material, and I am confused about many of his comments.

Let me start off with the fact that I am the director of hvac service training for International Training Institute (iTi), which is the training arm of Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) and SMACNA.

Leo mentioned that “sheet metal and air conditioning-type of classes have an outdated curriculum.” I believe this statement should be defined more clearly. We, the SMWIA, have in most cases the most modern and up-to-date training labs in both service and in balancing. In many cases, the NEBB [National Environmental Balancing Bureau] uses our labs for their hands-on proficiency testing.

Within the last five years, we supplied over 109 JATC [Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee] training facilities with over $600,000 worth of Trane equipment, not to mention $1,600 worth of CD interactive programs; that amount is for each of the 109 facilities. This is not mentioning our curriculum, which is up to date with the Modern Refrigeration Air Conditioning (MRAC) book, with associated lab and study guide, which is dovetailed with our own material. Our intention is to have all of our JATCs, 161 in total, up to speed in the service and balancing field.

Leo mentioned that most training facilities in sheet metal don’t have computer cutting machines. Well, many of our facilities do have computer cutting machines for training apprentices on how to program the cutter; that is what we have to do to keep up with the times so our contractors can be productive.

So, I think that statement should be directed as such — or at least be a little more specific.

I agree with the statement Leo made about educating the high schools and grammar schools in the construction trade is essential. The construction field is a lucrative and prestigious field for our economy and the nation in general.

I attended the ARI instructor workshop, and I was impressed with the educators and institutions that provide an excellent education in this hvacr field.

Bernie Merkel, International Training Institute, Director of HVAC Service Training, Rochester, NY

It Takes A Marker

I read John R. Hall’s March 11 column on extended warranties [“Who Is The Winner Of The Extended Warranty Sweepstakes?”]. I find that if you put the contract number, type of warranty, expiration date, and the homeowners’ name and date of purchase on the inside of the service panel, you won’t have a hard time finding out if the unit is under warranty. Just use a permanent marker and it stays.

Linda Buchanan, Buchanan’s Heating, Air Conditioning, & Major Appliance, Chickasha, OK

Offer Your Own Warranty

Thanks to Tim Funke from Poplar Bluff, MO, for his thoughtful letter in the April 29 issue [“Warranties Are A Big Drain”]. I agree with Tim, and would like to add a few thoughts of my own on the subject.

As background, I’m also a Trane dealer, located in northeast Texas, about 100 miles away. That means that I must keep a pretty large parts inventory so my customers don’t have to wait. If there is no profit in that inventory, it’s a cost to me, just as it is to the distributor.

It seems to me that this warranty race is the latest “gain-share” tactic employed by the manufacturers, and the long-term interest of distributors, dealers, and consumers were ignored, or poorly thought out. How will we look to our customers when a five-year-old compressor fails, and we present them with a bill for labor and a full charge of R-410A!

Our response has to be to offer a 10-year parts and labor warranty and explain to the customer what the pitfalls of the factory warranties are.

I would be very interested to hear what other dealers and distributors think.

Dick Evans, Evans Air Conditioning, Flint, TX

Publication date: 06/03/2002