Aspiring To Be A Service Tech

I attended and completed a one-year HVACR program, and I also completed a one-year electronics program here at this prison. I have continued in this program as a tutor.

While I was attending the HVACR program, I started working for a union contractor. I was hired as a residential HVAC installer. I did this for 1-1/2 years, and then I became incarcerated.

I enjoyed learning installation, but I found installation to oftentimes be unsteady. I even took a short layoff. So to avoid the ups and downs of installation, I'm studying to become a service technician. However, becoming a skilled service tech is not an overnight process. But it is definitely the road I want to take.

My career goal is to become a commercial/industrial HVACR service tech. I am fascinated with refrigeration and would definitely like to get involved with a company that does commercial refrigeration work.

I would like to mention one of my favorite articles I've read in The News. It is in the Aug. 9, 2004, issue - the John R. Hall article titled "A Day in the Life of a Service Technician." I've kept this issue as an inspiration to keep focusing on my career. Hall's interview with Steve Voss of Rosenberg Indoor Comfort reminds me of the work that I want to pursue. I really enjoy the contractor profiles that The News does.

Not everyone is willing to help a man in prison. I am simply a person who made a poor decision under the influence of alcohol. I've learned my lesson and am doing everything I can with my time to benefit my life for when I am released.

I enjoy the diversity of the HVACR industry and I have received tremendous insight from reading The News. Along with becoming a skilled service tech, I want to become a member of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), and I want to become NATE certified. I wish to be a problem-solving HVACR professional and not just a "parts changer."

For all of those people who will look down on me for being a convicted felon, all they have to do is to get to know me and they will see that I am a strong Christian man that is headed toward a successful, God-driven life.

I am very dedicated to my future in HVACR, and I am looking for all the help I can get [from people in the industry]. I will continue to read The News.

Troy Singer
Lake Erie Correctional Institution
Conneaut, Ohio

Wanting More Than The Minimum

I just finished reading Jim Norland's article inThe Newsfrom the Sept. 27 issue titled "Adjusting To 13-SEER Equipment." I found the article very interesting and somewhat disturbing in the same breath.

I am a systems engineer for Lang's Heating & Air Conditioning in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

What was disturbing to me was some of the quotes and attitudes of some of the people in the article, not the article itself.

We (Lang's) are in a unique market, being on the coast of South Carolina in a generally affluent area. We cover an area from Hinesville, Ga., to the south to Walterboro, S.C., to the north. Our major focus is in the communities of Hilton Head-Bluffton and Beaufort, S.C. We are a 29-year-old company with a reputation of having extremely high standards and continually "raising the bar" for others to try to follow.

Our company is about 70 percent service and 30 percent new construction. Approximately 80 percent of our service calls come from preventive maintenance customers, 90 percent of our new construction is custom residential, and so on. For our new construction projects, 85 percent are 13-SEER R-410A or above and 20 percent of that 85 percent is 14.5 SEER or higher.

The majority of our service change-out market is 14 SEER or higher. We have found that there is no secret, nor is it difficult, to upsell to higher-efficiency equipment. In fact, we concentrate harder on high-end indoor air quality products, more so than anything. We expect to install very high SEER equipment - our service people expect that, too. High-end, quality equipment is synonymous with our name.

The fact is, others can do it too! Why a contractor would want to continue to work in the 10-SEER market makes no sense - the majority of homeowners want to make intelligent decisions, so it is our responsibility to educate them on the whys and what fors, etc.

We stay in constant communication with our builders and keep them abreast of exactly what is going to happen in 2006 and beyond. Most builders do not want to have the minimum HVAC system in their custom homes, so it's a no-brainer for them. We have been a Carrier dealer for many, many years now and stand behind their product as if it had our name on it - because in reality, it does. Carrier has products available today that not only make customers very happy with their efficiencies, quietness etc., but it's good for the bottom line, too.

I couldn't believe it the other day when a colleague of mine who works for another HVAC firm said to me over lunch, "No way have I told my builders about the 13-SEER change coming, much less the R-22 issue; they'll start shopping me." What a load of crap that is. Too bad for my colleague, as I will most likely be working for his builder soon.

Michael E. Covert
Systems Engineer
Lang's Heating & Air Conditioning
Hilton Head, S.C.

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Publication date: 01/10/2005