For this challenge, we asked the Mission students to get out into the field to shadow a local HVAC pro and then tell us about their experience and what they learned.

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Blake Hodge: Going Through the Process

For my job shadow, I decided to spend a day in the office with my boss. When I am out in the field doing an installation or on a service call, he is in the office estimating/bidding jobs, organizing all of the items necessary to complete the job, and designing how the system should be installed. I made the decision to go this route with my job shadow because my boss is very experienced in the field and because this is a task I will most likely have to perform in my future.

Going into this job shadow, I was very intrigued to learn how duct systems are designed, how to properly size equipment, and how to put a price on everything. When entering this job shadow, I only had some experience from school with design and job estimation, but had never witnessed it being applied in a real-life situation. It was interesting to learn about the programs used in sizing equipment and design. These programs go in depth and are not easy to understand without training. I did not know about having to incorporate things like air loss in the ductwork, length of duct runs, and adding in the total equivalent lengths of fittings used. It was also very beneficial to see how the estimation process actually works. Adding up all of the components necessary to complete a job is not an easy task.

Overall, I would say that this was harder than I expected it to be. I did not realize the time spent on each job performing these tasks. I would also say that this experience confirmed my desire to enter the field because the entire process – from start to finish – was so intriguing to me. I have performed installations of systems in new construction, but I had never experienced this part of the process. This was overall a great experience for me and actually gave me a better understanding of why things on the job happen like they do.

Brenan Vogt: The Choice is Yours

For this mission, I job shadowed one of the senior service techs, Royce, at the company I work for.  I chose him because he taught me several beneficial things to make me more successful. After completing a full 8-hour day with him, I realized the difference of how much time and experience in a field really affects how quickly you are able to diagnose a system.  I have ridden along with other techs throughout my time at the company and at first, I didn’t expect to learn anything different from him that the other techs hadn’t already showed me.  After the first service call, I realized I was mistaken because he had done things completely different from what any of the other techs had done, which made him more efficient. 

Throughout the day, we performed three air conditioner checks and replaced an evaporator coil. This was the first time that I had replaced an evaporator coil, and was provided a really good hands-on experience. After completing the day, and spending my time with Royce, I realized that all service techs perform tasks differently and it’s completely up to me which way that I choose to do it.  I think the whole experience really opened my eyes to how differently an experienced tech approaches a situation. After this job shadow, I know that I definitely picked the right field to work in and that not one call will be like the next. I am definitely excited to learn more and eventually become knowledgeable enough to go out on my own and perform service calls!

Michael Clemons: A Field Trip of Learning

For this mission, I shadowed my teacher and business owner David Hansman. I chose to job shadow him because he owns his own business and knows a lot about the trade and the politics behind it. David, several of my classmates, and I went on a field trip to install a new condenser. This helped us to get experience in the field and put the skills we’re learning in class to good use.

The install was easy, especially since there were a few of us and it was a smaller unit. Going into it, we all expected it to be a little harder than it is, but we worked at a slower pace just to make sure we did it right. We also took our time to level the unit so it would look nice. After doing this and spending some time with people who are more experienced, I believe that I walked away knowing that I learned and put my skills to use. This trip grew my passion to work in the HVAC-R industry.

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