10 Top A/C & Refrigeration Instructors

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From air conditioning repair to commercial refrigeration, specialists in A/C and refrigeration can put their skills to work in a variety of ways. This includes working as a contractor or going to work for an established company, like Traulsen in commercial refrigeration. Technicians with solid troubleshooting skills and knowledge of computers and electronics may find better job opportunities since they should know how to work on newer systems, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Interest in energy efficiency continues to grow as new federal and state mandates are passed to promote conservation and cost savings, and this is true in the fields of air conditioning and refrigeration as elsewhere. In fact, several of the top A/C & refrigeration instructors on our list have an interest in green technologies and one has even co-published a book.

Robert Stokes

Robert Stokes

32BJ Training
At 32BJ Training, in New York City, Robert Stokes brings more than 20 years of hands-on experience to students in the refrigeration and air conditioning courses that he teaches. He once worked as the chief engineer of a condominium association, gaining extensive experience installing air-conditioning units, replacing compressors and doing refrigeration and air-conditioning repairs. He is certified in air conditioning and refrigeration, has a systems maintenance technician certification and an associate degree in occupational studies building maintenance technology.
Frank Ando

Frank Ando

Captial Region BOCES Career and Training School

Frank Ando has been teaching at Capital Region BOCES Career and Training School, in Albany, N.Y., since 1997. He is EPA refrigerant certified and has an associate of applied science degree in air conditioning engineering technology, obtained through SUNY Alfred. He also has completed Building Performance Institute Building Analyst Training and is a certified to teach in air-conditioning and other fields by the New York State Education Department. He brings more than 25 years in HVACR field to his instruction and is knowledgeable about design, troubleshooting, supervision and sales.

Joseph Pacella

Joseph Pacella

Ferris State University

At Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, Michigan, Joseph Pacella is an assistant professor in the school’s HVACR program, bringing hands-on experience to his teaching. He is a member of three Air Conditioning Contractors of America committees, including the standards committee and the Manual N Revision and Manual P Revision committees. He’s done several presentations, including one entitled: “Air Conditioning Troubleshooting” for HVAC Excellence and he even co-authored a book called “Green Awareness: Energy Efficiency, Comfort Conditioning, Electrical Plumbing (Going Green).”

Greg Ballenger

Greg Ballenger

Greenville Technical College

Greg Ballenger teaches commercial refrigeration at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina, helping to train community students on their path to becoming refrigeration and HVAC technicians. Some of those go on to work for his company, RSI Carolina – Refrigeration Services, Inc., which he founded in 1995 in Greenville.

Ben Engelking

Ben Engelking

HVAC Training School

The headmaster of HVAC Training School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, Ben Engelking had several refrigeration patents pending and once was the former educational vice president of the Seattle Refrigeration Service Engineers Society. He has served on the board of examiners of Seattle’s refrigeration licensing board, is a certified vo-tech instructor, and a former HVAC contractor and professional engineer. He has four certifications with North American Technician Excellence, two of which are in air-conditioning, and has been published in national trade periodicals.

Jess Harding

Jess Harding

Metropolitan Community College

As a third-generation specialist, Jess Harding brings more than 30 years of experience to the HVACR program at Metropolitan Community College, in Kansas City, Missouri. Harding teaches numerous courses, including Fundamentals of Refrigeration and Commercial Refrigeration. Harding is a member of the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of America, has EPA certification and North American Technician Excellence certifications in heat pumps and air conditioning, and has completed more than 50 courses related to training, code, or continued education in the field.

Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey

Northeast Community College

Paul Bailey is an HVAC instructor in applied technology at Northeast Community College, in Norfolk, Nebraska. He is a master tech specialist with the Refrigeration Service Engineer’s Society, NATE certified in air conditioning, air distribution and other fields, and has a bachelor’s degree in technology and a master’s degree in education. He brings more than 10 years experience in HVACR service and contract work to his teaching and has 20 years of experience in education.

Nicholas Griewahn

Nicholas Griewahn

Northern Michigan University

At Northern Michigan University, in Marquette, Michigan, Nicholas Griewahn teaches courses such as Principles of Air Delivery Systems and Advanced Commercial Refrigeration Systems. In fact, according to his instructor profile, some of his favorite courses to teach are about control systems and wiring of air conditioning and refrigeration systems. He is a certified commercial air conditioning and commercial refrigeration educator, has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and EPA and North American Technician Excellence certifications. He is particularly interested in conservation, particularly as related to refrigeration and alternative refrigerant solutions.

Shane Todd

Shane Todd

Ogeechee Technical College

Shane Todd started teaching at Ogeechee Technical College, in Statesboro, Ga., in 2005.  As the air-conditioning technology instructor, he has more than 15 years experience in HVAC, having been a contractor for an area shop. He has a Georgia non-restricted air-conditioning license, Universal EPA Section 608 certification, and NATE certification.  He also has experience in commercial refrigeration as well as residential electrical and plumbing. He graduated with a diploma in air conditioning from Savannah Tech in 1987.

John Wilcox

John Wilcox

Turner School

John Wilcox is the director for and an instructor in the Turner School, in New York City. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in energy management and is involved in curriculum and development at the school. He has both a New York City Refrigeration Machine Operators License and his EPA 608 certification. Currently, he is working on LEED AP designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. He has gained experience through time on the job, which includes currently being assistant vice president for engineering operations for the New York Life Insurance Company portfolio of properties.

Methodology

Our list of 10 top AC and refrigeration instructors takes a look at HVACR specialists who have first-hand experience in the field, either through employment with a specific company, through contract work or a combination of both. Most of those on our list are also certified, often having North American Technician Excellence, EPA Section 608 or HVAC Excellence certification or certifications. They may also have done special work in air conditioning or refrigeration, taught classes in those fields or gained other experiences making their skills more niche and unique.

Barry Franklin

Barry is the Editor in Chief of HVACClasses.org, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures, which he joined as partner in 2013 after almost 20 years in the financial software industry.

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