Industry Unites Around Education at HVAC Excellence Conference

Posted by Howard Weiss on April 14, 2017

HVACR instructors understand that technology is rapidly changing in our industry. To ensure that the training they offer is current and provides the next generation of service technicians with relevant content, hundreds of instructors from across North America gathered in Orlando, Florida for the National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference hosted by HVAC Excellence.

The conference offered sixty-plus educational sessions, however, the primary interest of attendees were the sessions covering technological changes: CO2 Refrigeration, Fault Diagnostic Detection protocols, Floating Head Pressure Controls, the future of refrigerants, and ductless technologies.

Ductless mini-split systems and variable capacity systems are some of the fastest growing segments in the industry. To help instructors incorporate these technologies into the training they offer, Daikin, Fujitsu, LG and RectorSeal teamed up to create a complete track of nine sessions from basic to advanced. To show attendees a fun and creative way to teach these technologies to Generation Z, they presented one of the sessions with clickers from C3 Softworks, a gamification teaching tool. 

Everyone in the industry is impacted by the EPA Section 608 Refrigerant Management Program. Jeremy Arling of the EPA, discussed the recent changes being phased into the regulations and modernization of the Section 608 Certification Exam. Upon conclusion of his presentation, he took questions from the audience, and spent time at the ESCO Institute exhibit answering questions for several additional hours.

Jamie Kitchen of Danfoss, discussed how it is a simple, but rarely recognized fact, that industry and educators need each other. During his presentation, Mr. Kitchen showed how educators can effectively pursue and obtain donations of surplus equipment from manufacturers.

Keith Avery of Hampden Engineering discussed “How to Gain Administrative Support”. Administrators are tasked with running an entire institution, not a singular program. To connect with administrators, a message needs to be clear, concise, and in terms that they can associate with the mission and needs of the institution.

The exposition allowed attendees to learn about; equipment, educational trainers, nationally recognized stackable and portable credentials, program alignment, tailored curriculum options, tools and test instruments, and complete HVACR training solutions.

Throughout the conference, a number of attendees participated in a series of time-based tasks that allowed them to test their knowledge, have fun and win prizes. While many competed, and should be proud of their work, the six finalist were: 6th place: John Jacob (United Association in Orchard Park, NY), 5th place: Jeff Polk (Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, NM), 4th place: Luther Knouse, CMHE (SCI Rockview in Richfield, PA), 3rd place: John Nelson, CMHE (Northeast Community College in Norfolk, NE), 2nd place: Jesse Johnson (Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Memphis, TN), and the first place winner of the 2017 HVAC Excellence TnT Competition is Leon Charnetski, CMHE (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, WI). 

To enable HVACR educators to verify the depth of their knowledge and their ability to relate subject matter effectively, they can take specialized educator credentialing exams offered by HVAC Excellence, which were offered free of charge to attendees. The individuals who had the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator conferred upon them over the last year were recognized on stage for their achievement.

Throughout the course of the last year, over thirty programs were granted HVACR programmatic accreditation by HVAC Excellence. Having met or exceeded nationally established standards, these programs were recognized on stage for their achievement.

This year’s conference was special as two organizations co-located their training events. The Council of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators (CARE) held their annual meeting prior to the start of the conference enabling instructors to network and share classroom and laboratory ideas. The day after the conference, Daikin offered a full day class covering the concepts & technology of Variable Refrigerant Volume “VRV” systems.

It should be noted that an International event of this magnitude does not come together overnight. It takes thousands of hours to assemble the world-class team of presenters, sponsors, co-sponsors and exhibitors to turn a concept into realty. HVAC Excellence would like to extend a special thank you to this year’s Sponsors; ESCO Institute and Hampden Engineering, and our Co-Sponsors: Appion, Cengage, Emerson, Daikin, Fieldpiece, Klein Tools, and MSCA.

Many of the presenters have shared their presentations for attendees to download and use in their training. Please note that the presentations are intended for those who attended the sessions as they have the notes and class context to complete the information. To access the presentations and photos from the conference, visit, click the conference link, then the archive link.

And while the 2017 conference has just concluded, preparation for the 2018 National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference is already underway. We hope that one and all will join us March 26-28, 2018 at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The conference is just one of many ways that educators and trainers from across the continent can network and learn from each other, but we need to keep this momentum going all year long. All those involved in training the current or future HVACR workforce are encouraged to join the HVACR Educators Group, a free way to connect and share ideas. 


Howard Weiss is the Executive Vice President of the ESCO Group. 

This blog is reprinted with permission. 

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