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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stumptown,USA
    Posts
    1,251
    At the age of 10 I started tinkering around with tape recorders, intercoms, walkie-talkies,etc. repairing my bicycle and helping my older brother build hot rods. My father worked with Cryogenics at Hughes Aircraft in Malibu, California and he took me down to the Lab on a saturday and showed me the Cryostat that he operated and froze a flower in liquid nitrogen and shattered it. Still I was mainly interested in electronics, so in the 11th grade I signed up for a Skills Center class in electronics. That class was full, my alternate choice was Refrigeration Service. My Instructor had been a fighter pilot in the Cuban Air Force (his name was Al Gomez) and when Fidel Castro came to power Al defected, flew his Jet to Florida and somehow wound up on the West Coast teaching this refrigeration class to high school kids. Al took a shine to me and suggested I take the advanced class in summer school, so I did. I was really impressed with Al Gomez and his desire to help high school kids find a good career, I think that inspired me to have a career in this field and also to help train young technicians. We were troubleshooting and repairing domestic refrigerators, freezers and window air conditioners. I was just 17 when I replaced my first compressor in that class. Halfway through the summer course I had to take a week off to Drive up to Oregon with my Dad. He had a new job 1000 miles away in Clackamas, Oregon. Finished school with excellent grades and 2 Certificates of Proficiency in Refrigeration Service, It took until the Holidays to sell the house in L.A. and took me until March to find an Apprentice job at a small mom & pop shop in Gresham,Oregon. So at 18 I was working as a service tech. Within a year I was running service calls and was paid on commision just like the journeymen there. Several years later I was at SEARS SERVICE learning Oil Heating Systems and Heat Pumps. In 1999 I switched to Commercial Hvac and I have always enjoyed my job. The first shop I worked at, I saw an ad in the paper, that guy interviewed me 3 times, hired me and let me go 2 months later. My next job I listened to my Fathers advice and walked in off the street, asked to talk to the boss, and asked him if he needed an apprentice. He said to me "How do you figure wattage". I said "Amps times Volts". He said come back here in the shop and talk to my partner. I worked there 4 years and everyone in the company came to my wedding, It was like a second family.
    Last edited by Paul Bee; 02-05-2012 at 12:07 AM.
    Challenge yourself, take the CM test --- Certificate Member since 2004 ---Join RSES ---the HVAC/R training authority ---www.rses.org

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sherman, TX
    Posts
    9,441
    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    The steps can be seen as:

    1) Interest in the science of how things work, and a demonstrated ability to diagnose and repair (for some, this can be doing well enough in school that you have a personal recommendation letter from a teacher)

    2) Good communication skills to interact during the interview

    3) A good, professional visual presentation. Not over the top, but clean, no visible tatts, looking like someone that a person will let into their home. In my case, into the back of their store (commercial AC).
    Spot On...

    And don't oversell yourself. Be honest. If you sell low, and perform high, you'll be a winner....If you sell high, and perform low, you'll be out looking again soon enough.
    Technical incompetence is NOT a sales tool....

  3. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
    Posts
    1,379
    Quote Originally Posted by John Markl View Post
    Spot On...

    If you sell low, and perform high, you'll be a winner....

    let me re-phrase that " if you sell low and perform high the business owner is the winner"

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sherman, TX
    Posts
    9,441
    Quote Originally Posted by valdelocc View Post
    let me re-phrase that " if you sell low and perform high the business owner is the winner"
    Whatever, fella. Since you have all the answers, why don't you open your own shop, and report back your findings after a couple of years....

    From the sound of it, you're well on your way to being one of those perpetual malcontents who change companies every two years....
    Technical incompetence is NOT a sales tool....

  5. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
    Posts
    1,379
    Quote Originally Posted by John Markl View Post
    Whatever, fella. Since you have all the answers, why don't you open your own shop, and report back your findings after a couple of years....

    From the sound of it, you're well on your way to being one of those perpetual malcontents who change companies every two years....
    unlike you I know my limitations and have no desire to be in business, as far as being malcontent, you are partially right, I'm not happy about whats going on in the trade, the market is saturated with low ballers and dreamers looking for cheap help, demanding all sort of qualifications but only willing to pay couple of bucks more than burger king.

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sherman, TX
    Posts
    9,441
    Quote Originally Posted by valdelocc View Post
    unlike you I know my limitations and have no desire to be in business, as far as being malcontent, you are partially right, I'm not happy about whats going on in the trade, the market is saturated with low ballers and dreamers looking for cheap help, demanding all sort of qualifications but only willing to pay couple of bucks more than burger king.
    The guys who "sell low, and perform high" are typically the "keepers", who get raises, are respected, and are around for a good long while.

    The guys who "sell high, and perform low" never live up to expectations, rarely get raises, and aren't around very long.

    If someone's getting paid "Burger King money", then they obviously aren't bringing much to the table to begin with.......maybe a "Whopper" attitude...
    Technical incompetence is NOT a sales tool....

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fremont, Indiana
    Posts
    1,554

    How Did You Get Your Start In HVAC?

    Quote Originally Posted by valdelocc View Post
    let me re-phrase that " if you sell low and perform high the business owner is the winner"

    I have to agree with that. I'm the type that would walk rather than "BEG" for a raise. Sell low and they'll keep you low.
    Guess it would depend on how much experience you can build on with a CO that would make me stay if said CO didn't offer raises. But those are the CO's that show up on Mon with a van in the parking lot because the tech got sick of the **it and pulled a John Markl
    Member of the "Work Exchange Program"
    "Will work for knowledge"

    "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"
    A Einstein

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    474
    I cashed my last unemployment cheque. Went to the unemployment office and told the nice lady at the desk I needed a new job. She told me if I went to trade school the government would pay for my schooling and continue to pay me my unemployment cheques for another year. I said sign me up. I didn't even know what refrigeration was until my first day in class.
    ENJOY THE RIDE

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    between here and over there
    Posts
    453
    I sent my current boos a thank you letter after the interview for a start up position, he called me and asked me to start in service the following week. I guess he was impressed. I was straight out of school with less than a year of xp in installs.

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    115
    I got my start as a swinging attic monkey. Started dating my soon to be fiance at 15 (she dosen't know yet) and her dad had his own a/c company and he took a liking to me and said i could earn some extra cash and learn something. I figured what the hell. So I would help on installs being the mastic man and the tool getter. Worked my way up began tearing apart the old units we would bring back to the shop to figure them out. Put myself through tech school at 18. Gradyamacated at the top of my class. Went to a commercial contractor straight out of that school. Then to a pharmaceutical plant where I got my break to work on chillers. Now at the ripe age of 24 I got my state contractors license and own a hvac company. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Can't wait to see what I do my next 40 years!

  11. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    378
    Was 1 week from graduating tech school and pulled up to a red light beside an appliance company truck. Asked the guys in the truck if they were hiring and the driver told me to come by the shop and apply. Worked for them for about 6 months and got a job with a school system as there only a/c mechanic. That was in 1982. Just retired from there in Dec. and the system had 6 techs.

    The guy that was driving the appliance truck was one of the best appliance technicians I have ever known.
    II Chronicles 7:14 Galatians 2:20 Ephesians 2:8-9

  12. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,108
    Quote Originally Posted by John Markl View Post
    Spot On...

    And don't oversell yourself. Be honest. If you sell low, and perform high, you'll be a winner....If you sell high, and perform low, you'll be out looking again soon enough.
    John, I have a similar saying I like to pass on to the new guys. "Under-promise and over-deliver". That is what I have always done, or at least I think so, anyway... Notice I didn't say anything about "selling low", though...
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  13. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,108
    To answer the OP's question; I needed a job. Could have just as easily been selling useless widgets at the kiosk at the local shopping mall.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

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