Polaris Rooftop Unit Lab
Polaris HVAC Rooftop Lab

One example is an 18-year-old student named Hunter Huff. Hunter is a senior graduating this June who landed an internship in the facilities department of Southwest General Health Center.

The hospital is a 103-year-old community health and support center serving the greater Cleveland area. Huff’s internship there includes hands-on training and experience working with commercial boilers and modern digital control systems.

“I basically carry as much responsibility as any other employee, even though I’m just an intern,” Huff explains. “The work is very hands-on, and they give me a lot of responsibility for working on boilers, air handlers, pump motors, and more. They even let me work on many automation controls, which is rare for someone my age.”

Goals Are Important

He adds that the facilities team gives him tasks to do, but he has the freedom to run some control diagnostics independently. He also shadows the hospital’s controls contractor.

Interestingly, Huff says his original goal was to be an electrician, but he fell in love with HVACR.

“I became interested in learning about refrigerant properties and all I could about heat transfer. Polaris laid the groundwork, and now the hospital is giving me practical experience.”

Guest speaker Al D’Ambola from National Comfort Institute
teaches Polaris HVAC students about proper
techniques to test for static pressure.

The good news is that Huff has impressed the people at Southwest, and they have already offered him a full-time position after he graduates. Huff says that Southwest is already furthering his training by helping him to earn his stationary license.

HVACR is a Thinking Trade

Rick Reitz says that they have to overcome another obstacle with potential students. That obstacle is the idea that the trades only involve heavy physical work.

“The reality is that HVACR is a thinking trade,” he says. “If you’re analytical, you can make a lot of money.

“In general, people have the wrong perception about the trades. From my perspective, if kids like math or engineering, they would probably be good at HVACR. Why? Because a lot of analytical thinking is required – whether you are designing systems, installing them, or servicing them.”

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