The biggest problem facing hvacr contractors is finding good, qualified service technicians. Big revelation, right? Our trade is “graying” rapidly, and we are having difficulty finding young people who want to make a career in hvacr.

So when a story comes up that runs contrary to these well-known trends, it deserves a second look.

Chris Reak, an hvacr instructor at Northwest Technical College (NTC) in East Grand Forks, MN, recently sent me some testimonials from hvacr students who praised their trade and explained their reasons for choosing a career in hvacr.


Jon Bruley said, “I chose to become an hvac technician so I could be involved in a fun and rewarding field. One thing I like about this job is the fact that you get to go to different jobsites every day instead of the same old place all of the time, with your boss always watching over you.”

John Leake echoed similar sentiments. “The [hvac] program is wide open — it can take you as far as you want to go,” he said. “In this field, you will see new problems every day. It’s not the same old stuff over and over.”

“As a technician, you get satisfaction in determining the problem and even more in solving the problem. There are not many occupations where you can help a customer who is miserable in his 90 degree house, and a couple of hours later he is sitting in a cool 68 degrees.”

Dan Balsdon got his inspiration for becoming a tech while working on his farm. “I decided to become an hvac technician when I was out rock picking on a hot spring afternoon and the air conditioner stopped working in the tractor.

“My dad and I tried to fix it but we really had no experience working on them. We took our tractor to the service station but it couldn’t be fixed for three days. I promised myself I will never have to do that again.”

Balsdon did some Internet research and found some appealing facts about the hvac technician profession. “There is a very high demand for technicians out in the job field, pay is reasonable, and I like the fact that you can go anywhere in the world and get a job.”

Brandon Lealos said, “I chose the hvacr field because I want to provide a valuable service to the world. Heating and air conditioning are an essential part of the world we live in today. The work can be very rewarding and yet very difficult at the same time.

“Refrigeration and air conditioning is a growing industry, and I’m sure that I’ll have work for quite a long time.”

Ken Armstrong summed it up this way: “Whether it’s heating, cooling, indoor air quality, or the refrigeration of perishable items, the work an hvac technician performs is very directly important to human health and the quality of life.”


Many of the students had kind words for the NTC hvacr program, too.

“Upon my return to North Dakota, I interviewed with Chris [Reak] and after discussing that I can use hvac training anywhere in the states, and looking at possible starting wages, I decided to enroll in the program,” wrote Alfredo Martinez.

“The course is a two-year program. It’s tough and it’s challenging, and I feel that after graduating from NTC, I will be ready to start a new career in refrigeration.”

“The hvac programs that I am taking give me a ‘real life’ experience and hands-on approach to learning,” Travis Dahlin said. “These skills do not only apply to the hvac field, they are transferable to other vocations.”

I have other testimonials, which I’d be happy to share with any doubters. Please give me a jingle.

Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-542-6214; 734-542-6215 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 05/13/2002