How Times Have Changed

I read with great interest Mark Skaer’s recent article inThe Newsabout women in this field [“Industry Could Benefit From a Woman’s Touch,” June 9]. I am a second-generation owner in the HVAC business, and I am a woman. I started working with my dad about 10 years ago. When I first started attending management-level meetings with him, I remember being one of about 25 women in the room of 800 people. Today I attend those same meetings and the women make up about 25 percent of the attendance. (My, how times have changed!)

I do agree with you that there is a tremendous opportunity in this field for women. I have personally hired two. They have good communication skills and more attention to detail than most of their male counterparts. There is somewhat of a physical limitation, but the two gals that I have hired are going to do it or die trying!

One of my biggest roles in our company has been to change our company image and increase the level of professionalism. I think the greatest opportunity for women in this industry is in the area of sales and sales management.

Cindy Gress, Sales, Marketing, and Operations Manager, Midstate Heating and Cooling, Pekin, Ill.

I Love This Field

I read Mark Skaer’s column about women in the field of heat, air, and refrigeration [“Industry Could Benefit From a Woman’s Touch,” June 9]. I thought it was great! And I believe you are correct. I am a 35-year-old, 5-foot-3-inch, 140-pound female HVAC commercial/residential service tech. I have been doing this for five years, and I love it!

I did 10 years of medical service prior to attending DeKalb Technical Institute in Atlanta. I used to be a certified medical assistant and phlebotomist and X-ray technician. I worked the major trauma centers in Tampa, Fla., as well as many doctors’ offices, and reached a burnout about the same time I became a single parent due to divorce.

My mother encouraged me to enter the field, and I’m so glad she did! I have worked for some of the top companies in Georgia, such as Shumate Mechanical, and now I am currently with All Weather Heating and Air. I love my job!

I have always been mechanically inclined, and now I have found a place to use it and be respected for it. I have received overwhelming positive response from my customers as well as my co-workers. I am very knowledgeable in the field and have always been classified with the top techs in the company for troubleshooting.

My husband Gary has run a supply house for the industry for around 18 years. He works for United Refrigeration Supply in Conyers. I guess that was to be expected. Any time one of the guys needs technical advice, he always hands his Nextel [cell phone] to them and tells them to talk to his wife. They don’t seem to mind because they keep calling me back.

I love this field, and as long as my body will hold up, I will keep doing it. When it goes, I guess I will go into something like automation, but will never get out. I can’t begin to tell you how many customers, though surprised to see me at the front door, tell me before I leave that it makes sense a woman would be more thorough and detail oriented. Not all women can do it, but I do believe more will be coming.

Just thought you might like some feedback from a real service tech.

Christine Harkins, HVAC Service Technician, All Weather Heating and Air, Jonesborough, Ga.

The Skills Of A Surgeon

I really enjoyed John R. Hall’s [June 30] column titled “The Heating Oil Business Goes To Kindergarten” — especially the comment about the visit to the high school vo-tech program. We have experienced the same thing in the past. “Disappointment” is an interesting way of saying what I have been saying for years.

The vo-tech program has been for many years, and still is today, a dumping ground for the students that mainstream public schooling doesn’t want around. Yet the industry in which some of us have chosen as a career requires the knowledge, tenacity, and skills of a brain surgeon. Yet the student advisors still insist on preaching: “You won’t get a good job if you don’t go to college!”

Keep up the good work and don’t ever stop telling the truth.

Harry Parker, Director of Training & Safety, Dual Temp Co. Inc., Allentown, Pa.

Questionable Installation

On page 22 of the June 16 issue [“A Unique School Adopts A Unique System”], the installation photograph shows several Mitsubishi condensing units lined up. It should be noted that the way these are installed, the customer has hot condenser air from the unit on the left blowing directly into the condenser intake for the next unit and continuing on down the line. On a hot day, it is almost certain that several of these units would exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation of 115 degrees F maximum condenser air intake. At the very least, the efficiency of each unit will be adversely affected by the ones blowing hot air into the intakes.

It also appears that many of the manufacturer’s recommended minimum clearances for service access have not been maintained, thus making future service an extremely difficult task. Perhaps it was not possible to mount the equipment per the manufacturer’s recommendations, but it should be noted that this is a less than ideal way to mount this equipment.

Brian Ingenthron, Commair Inc., St. Louis, Mo.

Mitsubishi’s Response
[Editor’s note: Mitsubishi provided the following formal reply.]

Our client tells us that the contractor, DSM Inc., applied the Mitsubishi Electric MSZ system to the right type of application. However, because the outdoor space available was very limited, the group of outdoor units shown in the photograph does not have adequate clearance between the discharge air of one unit and the intake of the next.

Mitsubishi Electric HVAC has already contacted the contractor to provide alternative positioning of the units to bring them within specifications. Mitsubishi recommended two of the units discharge toward the wall, and the other two units discharge in the opposite direction, sitting back to back.

Interesting note: This job has been installed for more than a year and DSM president Tony Pellecchia has had zero problems with the MSZ system. This is due to the total effectiveness of the products’ control system. The MSZ system utilizes a discharge gas thermistor that will cause the compressor to decrease speed to keep high-side pressure within specifications. The system also has a Linear Electronic Expansion Valve, which maintains the proper amount of superheat, protecting the compressor.

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Publication date: 07/14/2003