Josh Canfield, a veteran skilled tradesmen shares his tips on Success.

Josh Canfield, a veteran skilled tradesmen shares his tips on Success.

Video of this Episode

On the Road?
Listen to AUDIO ONLY
version of the Podcast

Follow the Process Chiller Pro podcast on these platforms.

Listening on your phone or mobile device? These great podcast platforms may require apps to be installed to access the podcast on your mobile devices. 

Get an email alert when new episodes are posted.

Show notes

Hey guys, this is Martin King. And we’re having another installment of the skilled trade rescue podcast. And this series, we’re talking to real live technicians that are working in the field every day. And I am really pleased to have Josh Canfield with me today. And he’s going to be talking about his skilled trade experiences. And some of his successes, some of his challenges. And hopefully, those of you out there that are working in skilled trades are going to pick up some some tidbits of knowledge and perhaps, help you enhance your skill trade journey. If those of you out there who are considering skilled trades, versus maybe even going to college, you’re just sort of sorting things out, trying to figure out what you do, I think this will be a really good exposure to other ways to make a really good living without a college degree in many cases. So, Josh, welcome to the podcast today, man, how you doing?

I’m great. Thanks for having me.

You bet. You bet. So why don’t you share your story with the audience out there, like, you know, what you did right out of school, and how you know, basically how you ended up where you are right now, tell us about what you’re doing. And that kind of thing.

Works. Thank you. I had a pretty fun ride, actually, to come into the trades. I’d started out. Going from high school, I had pretty good grades and all that kind of stuff. And I went to college to actually be a minister and spent like two and a half years there. I didn’t want to get into debt. And that kind of put me in a position where, well, private school and all that. So hard to do at 20,000 Yeah, 20k a year. So I decided to leave. I had meant to live my life at that point. So I guess I got everything I needed out of it. And so I decided to just head on out and start life. So I went out and I got a job and it was a warehouse job. And it was it was okay. You know, I was making good money for somebody of my age, and experience. But board man board as far as you can get, you know, it’s same thing every day, I was told it was gonna take me a year to master the machines were working on three and a half months, I’ve pretty much gotten all the way to where he wanted to be. So I just found it very boring. I found the politics inside of a group, it’s constantly the same people to be tedious to so I said alright, so I’m gonna talk about so I started looking for anything else. Sales, jobs, everything under the sun, like I just don’t want to be here. And I got really lucky. It was in. I say, I’ve been doing this for 17 years. Now, as of March. So this was long enough ago that we still had classified ads, where you could look up a job

when they had newspaper made out of paper, that

you open it up and people posted things and put things in there for you to go after right? Shot shockingly enough, that’s where I actually found my HVAC job, there was a guy out of a little town doing his own one horse operation or confine and he was looking for, and this was 2007 2005 when the economy was booming, and it was a little bit like now where getting people for the trade was tough. You know, it’s tough to, for the trade guys to find that. New Gods. And if you’re small was really hard to hire guys, because they were getting premium dollar than two. So I got started. I went in for an interview because the other thing that said who will train the right person, you know, I have a little bit of a background in cars and stuff like that as far as just rent just regularly fixing my own and a little bit of repairing stuff around my parents house and all that. So I’ve always liked mechanical things. So I was like, alright, well at least see what I can do see what he says. So we sat down for an interview. And he said, All right. He said, instead of like your eyes here, he said, I’ll give you a shot. So okay, so what’s the pay? And he ended up offering me more like I said, as a booming market so I got a couple bucks more an hour to go there than I was actually making anywhere else. So I was like, all right. I’m out of the way House and I’m gonna about to learn a new trade. So I show up two weeks later. And the guy who’s training me tells me he’s like, alright, well, he’s like, I’m gonna be here for two weeks. So I find out when I get there that the reason that they were training the right guy was that, yeah, that their guy was about to go on a missions trip a year long missions trip. His training happened in two weeks. He would then be back for a month, and then it was going to be me. Wow, talk

about Ready, Set. Go. Cuz you were totally new. You didn’t know anything?

Yeah, so I knew. I knew basically how to reanimate her. I didn’t know anything about Gage. That’s nothing about refrigeration hadn’t went to school. I had nothing ran. It was a it was it was here we go. I hop in the truck and I ride with a guy for two weeks. He’s has been throw gauges on, you know, probably shouldn’t have because I didn’t have my eta yet. But you know, he’s got me, you know, tests and stuff. And, you know, he was really good. He had actually taken the nape courses. He was a NATE certified technician. He had come straight out of out of high school. He started in high school taking those courses. And he’d been working during high school, I’ve been working with this guy. So what he taught me enough to get started. And it was crazy. First of all to be crazy, no matter what you were doing, right? Residential, anything. The place I worked at was like set a one horse shop and he had left refrigeration, refrigeration company, so he was doing everything from without the year and a half I was there I got exposed to everything from rack refrigeration, to steam kettles, fryers, small chillers, every kind of refrigeration and H back home stuff, rooftop units, everything like at pretty much anything you can possibly think that you’d want to work on, except for like big chillers or big boilers. Oh, by the time I left, we were doing we were doing a million and a half BTUs steam boilers. So and, and steam systems. And we’re doing radiant floor and outdoor wood burners and stuff like that, and waste oil. So my first year and a half was a whirlwind of just I learned a lot. I mean that, you know, we worked 60 hours a week there 6065. And, and for a while, after, after, like last month and a half in. It was me and a phone to the owner. I mean, it was because I had to get my EPA before he left. So I had a month, basically a month to get my UPI enroll. So it was it was good.

Talk about trial by fire, man. I mean, whoa. So the owner was pretty supportive of the whole. I mean, he obviously had to be because you were helping him out in a big way. Right? Because his main main guy was leaving, right?

Yeah, I mean, he was was a great support. And he was a good mentor. He had been in the business for 25 years. You know, he was the guy from the 80s. And, and that’s when he came up and then refrigeration and a little bit was a little different. So it was it’s always get it together and go, you know, you’re in chillers. It’s like, Hey, we got to have this run and you know, you got process and stuff like that. Can’t leave it down. So it was you know, there were some things that I had to relearn after leaving, because they were, they weren’t, but they weren’t like the best, you know, practice.

Hey, guys, quick announcement, if you have not stopped into our website, at skilled trade Please do that on the homepage. Here, you will see that we have the Join the movement email list. If you haven’t signed up, please consider doing that. We have some amazing guests lined up for the podcast, I’m going to be getting the stories out of successful technicians and business owners in skilled trades. These are not just HVAC people there’s going to people be from across the skilled trade spectrum. And my hope is that I’m going to be able to draw out of these people the things that have worked in their careers amazingly well. And the things that if they had a chance to talk to their younger self, what they would tell them not to do. So I want to share all that stuff with you. And if you sign up, you’re going to be the first to know when we drop those new podcast episodes. Also coming soon we have the BDS T workshop. It’s a five day automated email workshop. However, you’re going to give content to us through that workshop, you’re going to get one on one feedback from our instructors, instructors, and we’re looking to better your career. I’ve been teaching the BST process for many, many years about two decades one on one and I’m going to be trying to do that to the masses through this workshop. It’s totally free. All you got to do sign up as soon as you do that, you’ll get alerts on your email as soon as these new podcasts come in, as well as the BSD workshop so if you check it out I will put a link to the website on the show notes for this episode today so check it out

but he was really good about supporting me and being on the phone he came out a few times obviously had to you know bail me out when I was you know, neck deep and wasn’t getting out. You know, I remember the two of us spent 3035 minutes getting a seat fill annoyed apart. It was it was fun, it was fun in it and getting to learn all that by the time I was I left I started estimating some rooftop jobs. I was running I was actually running it with two other guys when I left so it was

nice. US what state was this in?

Pennsylvania that’s where I’ve done all my work in the Pennsylvania area is Near Lancaster County. I was in Lancaster County there’s a guy out to Lancaster Pennsylvania.

Now is that where you are now the company you’re with now the company

with other reading reading Pennsylvania Landis mechanical group out of reading we do there’s a lot of them down here. It’s funny. So we have it Landis they’re a little farther south and then they have Landis mechanical group, which is us. Where we’re pretty much a light commercial to light industrial. That’s mostly what we do we have some high end if you want to call it that. residential customers because their stuff skews. Like for muscle. Their houses are so big and right.

So what are you doing now? What’s What’s A Day in the Life for Josh? In 2022.

So it’s new to me because I, one of the great things about this business is if you work hard, you get the opportunity to advance because there’s, you know, companies expand, then you’re never losing. Unless you’re doing something wrong, you’re hardly ever losing business. And so I got the opportunity to take over as the service manager here in August.

Okay. So the, with you now,

it does the Buckfast stuff with me it’s a lot different for sure. And it’s kind of been a goal of mine from the start. It’s a great career, but it is difficult on your body. And I spent the majority of my career 1314 years of it in the refrigeration, supermarket refrigeration industry, right, which is just huge hours and wild on calls. And it’s an unbelievably great place to make money. I still miss it, as much as it kind of I got a little burnout and doing it I still miss it because there’s nothing like it for so we say thrill and exposure to so many new technologies that really hit their hit there and Schiller’s you know, those two areas really get the good technology early. So that was on that side of things, but now I gotta be the guy to be to push the buttons and tell people where to go and run all the money signs through and stuff like that. So that’s what I’m doing everyday now.

Well, you know what, though, man, it was probably a smart move because I mean, you seem pretty young. And I’m that’s awesome. That’s your service manager already in that the cool thing is is that you know you you touched on it those ladders do not get any lighter. They just don’t you know your knees don’t feel any better over the years if you’re you know continuing to work on equipment. The cool thing now is I don’t know what the management culture is there. It means a lot if guy like you even though you’re the service manager you know can pick and choose and sometimes you go out on the job and work with your guys that means a lot to those guys and the customers too

oh yeah I have so another I guess like dumped in the fire again right because I went from not managing really anything to now I’ve got I think we’re up to 13 Guys under me when he got the when he counts when tax plus the project guys. Yeah. It was quite a job. fun job. I enjoy it and I have gotten the chance to head out with the guys from time to time and pick them up. I often go see the jobs and walk the walk through them. We I’ve done the help them get the compressors in and out and stuff like that, just to let them know that, you know, I’m still here, you know, if and if they get, you know, stuck, I’ll come out and do my best. I’m not gonna say I’m gonna always be able to bail everybody out. But I’ve stopped in and we scratched our heads together for a little bit, we get to the bottom of it. Yeah.

Are you glad that you went the skilled trade route? versus maybe you know, going and did you go? Did you do any college at all?

Yeah, I did two and a half years for a pastoral ministry. Okay. Yeah, yep. So I didn’t do two and a half years of it. So I had all the options. I mean, I was, I was I had a 3.89 GPA in high school. I was the valedictorian of my class. So it wasn’t like college wasn’t an option. Right? It wasn’t like, and when I went to the warehouse work, it wasn’t like going back to college wasn’t an option, either. I wasn’t out for that long. Right, I did find a scholarship for, you know, academics and stuff like that. So. But I’ve never regretted sticking in the trades. And doing this, like, yeah, there’s something about the way you learn. And if you even if you’re somebody who can get things by boat, and something that helps a little bit, if you can read a book and a manual, and pick it up without being shown, it’s a little easier. Sometimes I find, but at the same time, there’s, there’s nothing like being able to go out and the satisfaction of just going somewhere, it’s not working. And you push through, and you get them working. And yet, and you learn every day like and I’ve met the smart, I’ve met so many people who failed or dropped out of school who were absolutely brilliant, right and knew so much. And it was so nice. It’s been really nice to have the eye opening opportunity to work with guys who I would never have had any real interaction with if I would have been collegiate or doing all this other kind of stuff. Yeah. And, and really get an understanding for their life and and find out just how much how much how diverse the group of people that are actually brilliant people doing great work.

Yeah, no, I agree. For sure. So tell the audience about like a, like a career success that you’ve had. Josh, you know, like, something that really made you feel good about what you do, maybe situation, evolution of a relationship through through skilled trades, you know, some something that kind of gives an idea of what what you do is all about. Hey, guys, I have an exciting announcement, we just recently made some updates to our three most popular online courses at process Tiller If you’re a technician that’s looking to improve your skills a little bit, maybe get some specialized training to be of more value to your customers and your employer. Or if you are an employer or a contractor that is looking to augment your existing in house training with online training that can be accessible from any device. This is a really great opportunity. Just go to process chiller, to scroll down on the homepage, and you will see the course area. If you go into the course page, you will see that we have currently for limited time. We have a promo code of chiller Pro that will save you 25% on any one of these courses. So hope you check it out. And I’m looking forward to seeing you in class.

Can I tell too so I’ll do the relationships I had I worked for a company at one point in refrigeration called Remco incorporated at Allentown Harrisburg. They have like they have almost 500 trucks on the road right now. So they’re, they were huge. And they did invest in training. And one of the things that they gave me an opportunity to do was to train guys, as a class trainer. And I was able to do that. And I was able to develop a relationship with a couple of those guys. And one of them who I still kept in touch with from time to time. You know, I was able to train him and he moved on but he moved on to another job and it was it really was interesting to see him grow. And so from there I had an opportunity to become a trainer at Weis markets. I was an apprentice trainer at Weis markets. I ran with a guy for six months. And that guy you My name is Jesse. And we spent six months together, same truck back and forth, all nine yards. You really get to know him and he was in a formative time of life. So he was he used to get married. And then they got married. And a couple months later, they’re they’re pregnant with their first kid. And all the ups and downs with that. And all that happened during this unit. He had just gotten married when I met him. So six months, I got to see it all happen. And then we both moved on, and he moved on to a great job. Great spot. He’s now a, he just texted me like three days ago, out of the blue hadn’t heard from him in a while. He’s like, man, he’s like, it’s going great. Yeah, I’m a trainer. where he’s at elite tech, like five guys under him, which was cool to hear. And he’s like, you know, at the end of it, he wrote me back and he said, Hey, he’s like, I want you to know, I tried to fashion my the way that I do business after the way that you were. And I asked myself what you would do. And I was like, holy smokes. Like, you can’t win any bigger than that.

That’s that’s about that’s about as good as it gets. Right there, man. Right.

You can’t win any bigger and I was humbled. Let’s put it that way. Because I don’t think any of us really have the, the right to have that much respect. And he he gave it to me when we were working together. And I was proud of him. I invested a lot into that guy. And it’s cool to hear that kind of thing back.

And let me ask you a quick question about that. Did it surprise you, Josh, that maybe he was paying attention, paying more attention to the way you were behaving and doing your work than you thought he? He was?

Yeah, it did. I mean, we had some great conversations, right? But but the idea that he was paying so close attention that he was actually fashioning fashioning his way of doing things after what I was doing. Was was very shocking. Yeah.

Well, one thing I’ll advise you on Josh, use a manager now. You can count on those guys. They may they may play it off. Like they’re not really paying attention to you. But people are paying very close attention to you that they’re always people are always looking more, more at you than you think they are.

Sure that true. I do my best every I do my best every day. And I hope to hopefully I’ll cross my fingers. Right. It’s good enough. Yeah.

What’s this? What’s Story number two.

Story number two is probably the most satisfying outside of relational thing that ever happened to me. And it happened to me, Aramco. We were doing, we started doing jobs where we would install small racks in I would stop for a second, this is gonna you’re gonna try to edit this. How many manufacturers and stuff? Am I allowed to mention places that I worked at? and stuff like that? Yeah. Okay. Just wanted to make sure before I started running off. So we were installed as a local chain up here called Wawa convenience stores. And we started to put these small Hussman racks into these units, and then started using a control company called RDM, resource data management and started using their controls. Because they were highly customizable, and they tried some other ones. And they, they just found this to be what they thought they wanted. Things that went south, I didn’t even know they went south. I just happened to be working where I was at. boss calls me up says, Hey, we have a big problem. And it’s down in Virginia. And you drive down to for sorry, Maryland, I’m from Maryland, a lower Maryland, I’m sorry, lower Maryland can cut down and help these guys out there. Never. So this is like 9am, about to drive three and a half hours. I drove like three and a half hours, four hours down there. They got their REM codes or controls guide on on a bunch of electricians are down there. And they’re all crawling all over this panels and stuff like that and trying to figure stuff out. So we got down there, and none of us really knew exactly what we’re looking at because they were using loot. They were using some stuff for lighting and fan control that we hadn’t seen before. There were basically there were basically breakers with a contactor built in. But we didn’t know that at the time. So we ended up jumping some stuff out and getting Iran in and stuff like that. And we didn’t get home till 11 o’clock at night I was back by the time we got back home and then we spun back around and go down the next day. They said hey, they want you to come back down. Because you figured out most of what was there for them or with them. So go back. That’s what we can do. So I went back down and saw what I could do. And I ended up being the point man on that particular set of projects. So we were selling husband’s racks as the dealer And so I got to point that project it was, but it’s about I found out like it was about to fall apart. So RDM wasn’t talking to Husband, husband wasn’t talking back to RDF. Wah wah was livid because they had all these promises and nothing was happening. Nobody’s giving them any answers. I taught myself how to program RPMs controller over the course of the next week, how to get into the sub program and make changes and reprogram it so that it would work. And then I went back and forth and help them figure out their wiring diagram because there was some back and forth where basically, it was really simple. At the end of the day, it was their program was a little not written, right. And the wiring diagrams didn’t match up quite right. It wasn’t really that big a deal. But it did stymied everything. And so I got to sit in there. And we went back and forth, and I end up being the middleman. Between these three guys, I had a guy literally call me up to one time and curse me out and then call me back 10 minutes later to apologize for being like, I’m sorry, I said it’s just so stressful. I said, I get it, man, I get it, but sorry. And, and we were worked it out. And the one guy from hospital got canned, in the middle, like about a month after week after I got into the process. And then we worked everything out. Right. So we got everybody back on board, everybody was getting back together. Well, by the end of the project, he got his job done. Because he was the one who does that he designed the whole thing. And they were blaming him. And he got his job back. And so I had a couple of relationships that were built there, that were really cool. I had these, these guys, and these, all these, the sales guys and the technical guys. And we all really, we got to know each other. The one guy later offered me a job, which I couldn’t take it was 2528 weeks good travel, and I got two kids that are fairly young. Right and couldn’t leave it couldn’t do it. But you know, it’s like, ah, but I did get the opportunity to have be a traveling representative for the one company after

RDM resource data management after afterwards. So it was it was a great thing. It was $20,000 Our cost apart for these units. So you know, whatever the profit margin was on that. And they had promised, they promised to buy 20 that year and the plan was was to buy 100 and something out of these 150 of them over the next three years. And that program was completely put on hold and they pulled the plug until you know I got to come in, we dealt with all the issues, they reinstated the program, and it went forward. From there, I hand it over to the other guys. But I was able to make to bring people together. And we were all able to figure things out together and saved one job, and probably 2 million in revenue. So that was yeah, that was probably the the most satisfying, real digging, because there’s a lot of hours, I had to make a trip down the middle of Virginia and back in one day, 15 hours worth of time and once described,

you know, it’s really interesting, I noticed similar things in in my career doing this is that if you have a little bit of tenacity and a little bit of grit, which is what your story is basically all about, you know, you were tenacious enough, you know, there’s a lot of people out there that wouldn’t put themselves out there and say, Look, there’s a real problem here. There’s really a lot of NP unhappy people. And it’s a typical thing. We have a couple of big companies, they may be married to a project, but they’re not living together. You know, they just don’t have various reasons, right. And it takes somebody with some tenacity and grit to go in there and sorted out and try and figure out how to how to fix fix the problem. Because the machines don’t care. They don’t care about politics, they don’t care about who doesn’t like who all they all they know about is they’re programmed to work the way they they’re supposed to work. So that’s a that’s a couple of really good stories, Josh that was good.

I love it. Like what you’re saying about tenacity and grit, because I if I have to say anything to the anybody coming into the trade, you will succeed. If you persevere and are persistent. You know, knowledge is great. It’ll help you out you know and and having the tools is good and you need to add all that as time goes on. But none of that is going to get you over the over the hump when you are there. And it’s kicking you in the face and you’re having a rough time. are a rough day, but you still need to get the job done and things have to happen. If you got perseverance, and and, and you push through, and you figure it out, not only is it the most rewarding moment of your day, every day that you do that, all right, but you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be successful, you’re gonna, and people will eventually notice, you know, it takes, it can take 510 years, you know, it’s not like it happens overnight. But if you really push through, it makes a huge difference. And and I’ve all the people who’ve been successful around me that I’ve been able to talk to and stuff, I’ve always had that.

Well, you basically answered one of the questions I was going to ask. Yeah, you did. You nailed it. And I’m just gonna let that stand on its own. That was perfect. So what are some of the challenges that that you’re facing in skilled trades right now? And what are some, you know, listen, get that first and then kind of pan out, open the lens up a little bit? What are some of the challenges that you’re seeing in the skilled trade industry in particular, right now?

I think for me, let me let me back up, I’ll put it as, when I was in the field, because I just got out the hard thing in the field is is, is everybody things are getting faster, even over 17 years of doing this, you have more and more when I was in the field, we’d have people like, Oh, you’re gonna get a run in, or, you know, I’ll just gotta be this or gotta be bad. And it just called it in for three hours ago, and there was less of that even seven teen you know, 15 to 17 years ago, there was less, push less, less, like, get out and get on it, get on it, get on it. And that was tough, you know, because you have to speed is great. But being right and correct, and getting it done, right is better. That that’s hard to do when when everyone else around you wants you to wants to have it done sooner. So that when I when I was attacked, that was probably one of the most difficult things. I think finding local training when I was attacked was tough. I wasn’t you can travel. But even that specific to the manufacturer, so it was it was tough around here to get localized training, as far as stuff that was easily accessible as a tech. And then as a service manager, I’m gonna sound like a broken record for anybody else who’s been around. It’s tough to get people enough people. I mean, it’s just a growing industry with a growing business and we haven’t hit the retirement bump yet, but five years from now, we will and so, you know, we’re gonna have a few people leave and and they’re gonna, they’re really good. So, you know, we have we have that and we have a lot. Luckily, we do have a good set of young guys, but, you know, a lot of our guys are in their 40s and, you know, 40s and 50s. And that’s the that’s the majority right now. So we’re still trying to build into that young younger

Yeah, how are the wages do it you guys union or non union with your current company?

Company, we’re non union. I’ve never worked for a union. I’ll say this. I support the union wholeheartedly. I think they do great things for for wages, but also for training. They’re a great place to get to train they do awesome work. I just did never happen to work work for what work we’re non union. But we we pay really well. I’m not gonna make sounds like I’m gonna toot our own horn we do we pay we pay really? Well. We are within a couple of bucks, you know, our packages within a few bucks of a union union contractor. And I credit that to the fact that we’re a specialty group you know, we do we do rooftops and stuff, but we do chillers and we do a lot of big, really big boilers and specialty operations. So that makes a big difference.

So in generally speaking, let’s say you get somebody you know, that is brand new, you know, just getting started, you know, you start them off as a maintenance tech typically. What are you starting your guys out off at? And then once they get through all your training and stuff, and they get they get to a lead tech level? You know, what’s the range and pay in general, right? And what’s the time What’s the timeline from the time they join you to the time you get somebody who’s a you know, intelligent guy has all the characteristics wants to work what’s the what’s the pathway?

The pathway can be pretty fast. So we have some guys so the this depends on how much you come to us with. So if I that obviously nobody comes here with experience, but we’ve had guys come here who were landscapers never done the kind of like kind of like me, who’d never done anything even never even turned a wrench, right? Honestly. And so those guys will start off and maybe 1516 bucks an hour, there’ll be changing filters still, you know, we don’t really let them even turn the unit off by themselves. So we want to they’re paired up with people for quite a while. About eight months a year, that guy is, like I said, 1718, he’s probably now that he’s doing schooling, we’ll see him in the 20 range in the next year or so I would guess. And then, if he’s come in, though, and you have experience, as far as like you went to school, we’re hiring those guys in between 18 and 20. The upper range guys are getting 40 to 45 an hour, give or take, where they’re at, and who they are, how long they’ve been in the field, and what all that kind of stuff what their specialty is. But we’re up in the room. Definitely, most of our top techs are around 40. And then we in the middle, that’s probably the least I’d say, the five year plan, if you want to get for yourself from say 18 or 20. And you want to ramp your way into, you know, being in that 30 range. It’s probably about five years to get there, we have three year training programs that we’re using at this point.

What what kind of benefits are standard out in your market?

Our market standard is health, you know, health insurance is paid for, to some level, it’s pretty standard in our market for some level of help with like the family and stuff like that. But usually, in most places the yours for you personally, it’s paid for, there’s almost always some sort of a 401 K match or something like that involved in our industry. At this point, you know, you get your truck, which is a pretty big deal in this day and age because you know, it’s pay for gas to get out of work. For sure, yeah. And, you know, and, and we, we provide a lot of like, the major tools and stuff like that, and that’s becoming more and more normal. As far as that goes, and, and, you know, you get you know, so our match is like 3%, which is a total pay, which goes in every year, no matter what you do. Here, we have great owners here. So we have like ours, a little more family atmosphere when do Christmas parties and some bonus structures and stuff like that in there. But I would say the in general, you’re gonna get a benefits package, it’s going to include pretty solid health insurance, and you’re gonna get a retirement plan, pretty much no matter where you go of any place in any, any decent size.

Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, that’s very good. That’s helpful. I, I’ve been sort of been on this mission. And I’m going to be launching a national poll, pretty soon I’m trying to get the technology straight, but most of the, well, I’m sounding like a broken record. Now. You know, the media, in general totally ignores skilled trades, it’s finally now kind of being mentioned, because, you know, if you could say anything positive came out of COVID that was the fact that, you know, parents took a close look at what their kids are doing in school. And, and they don’t really, they’re not real, super excited about it. You know, they’re finding out that what’s been happening isn’t quite what they thought. And finally, skilled trades is getting a little bit of legs and I’m trying to get some real information out there about what you can actually do in skilled trades. And I quote this all the time the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they quote wages I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at that, but I it’s ridiculous. I mean, it’s not even close to reality. I’d say maybe half of what reality is you know, if they’re an they’ll report on a market, Pennsylvania, oh yeah, you can be 20 to $25 an hour as a as a journeyman HVAC tech and I’m like, if you’re if you get a shop only will pay you 20 or $25 an hour. Hmm, they’re gonna

Yeah, and the service that you’re gonna get out of it isn’t going to be like

put you down Step away from the equipment. Yeah.

Could you change the filters and leave now?

So anyway, that’s that’s good. That’s good. So hey,

this is an incredible career.

Yeah, that’s That’s awesome. So Josh, if it would you be comfortable with providing your email address or an email address to where you know if there’s a parent out there or maybe somebody’s a budding HVAC tech or somebody’s considering maybe they can send you a question or two don’t abuse it, though. I will put email addresses out there anymore.

Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. I’m more than glad to answer whenever I get the chance. I’ll give you I’ll give you the my personal just in case JH. ca n. And then at to our MZ And I’ll go over that again. J HCANQRMZ

Perfect. Thank you, Josh. And let me just put it out there guys don’t abuse them. Because I don’t want to hear complaints from Josh about you guys. Send him crazy stuff.

Just questions about the train won’t be good.

Questions or relationship stuff? Not that kind of. So hey, before we split it off here, Josh, what are some final? I mean, you said some really good stuff already. But like what what some final words of wisdom to technicians out there that are or people who may be considering skilled trades as a as a viable career option, what some parting parting thoughts,

I don’t think you can go wrong. Getting into the skilled trades. And as you stay in it for five years, seven years or 10 years, you’re going to have made a good living, you’re going to have enjoyed yourself, you’re going to have experienced the highs and lows in ways that you didn’t know you could, you’re going to be challenged, you’re going to be pushed, you’re going to enjoy learning, and the sky’s the limit. You know, if you want to start your own business, you can do it if you want to, you know, end up like me, and this is what you want to do. And you want to be in an office position, you can do it. And you know what if you want to make 110 150 160,000 a year, and that’s what you want to do, you can do that too. But trades is is 110%. An open market and a place where if you want to get it done, and you know, if you want to work on a computer, as soon as I forgot, we get into that controls. If you don’t want to turn a big wrench, you want to turn little screwdrivers, and you want to program things and run that that’s a huge part of what’s coming up in this industry. I’ve got people that are interested, we’re going to start training texts to do that kind of stuff here. And the next year or so because that’s the future. So if you want to do that, that’s available too. There is almost nothing that you can’t get into and

so that is it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I very much look forward to continuing to connect with you. Please don’t hesitate to send me messages on LinkedIn. I’m on there all the time. Or you can reach out to me on my email. I’m at M King at process Tiller Khadem And until next week, when I give you the next installment I wish you a great week, and I will connect up with you again soon. Take care.

Episode(s) That Support This Topic.

Episode Transcript

So hey guys, this is Martin King with another installment of the skilled trade rescue Podcast. Today I have a unique opportunity, I think, to sit down with a guy who I believe has a pretty amazing story. The series is all about being able to experience other people’s journeys within skilled trades. And this particular gentleman, Brian McIntyre is a just an amazing person, I got a chance to look at his profile. And I think that he has a lot to share. So just a real framework here, Brian is a decorated veteran. And he decided to go into skilled trades, particularly HVAC, which is my favorite right out of the military. And he has taken different skill paths or different paths within the HVAC skill trade. So I want to really share that with the audience. So anyway, with that being said, before we get going, I’m sure you hear this quite a bit. Brian, I want to thank you sincerely for your service. It is not if it weren’t for folks like you, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms that we have. And I mean that and I really appreciate what you’ve done for this country, man, I really do. So,

welcome. Welcome, Brian. Thank you for having me.

So let’s, let’s get started here, I want to find out and tell your story. Maybe a little bit from the military, what you’re, you know, what you’re okay with sharing, comfortable sharing with us up to what you’re doing now, kind of give us a, you know, the patchwork of how you ended up where you’re where you’re at right now.

So I graduated high school in 2003, which was, you know, I witnessed 911. And funny, I was actually talking to a recruiter during that whole process. So that day, I was leaving high school, going to tech school, and my recruiter met me in the parking lot and said, Are you ready to go? And I said, Absolutely. Well, I’d wait till I graduated. But I did leave that timer, I left early, join the Marine Corps, became a machine gunner went through, did my ideal got injured, decided, you know, I was getting out. And I didn’t know what I was gonna do. But I had a friend that worked for my mom, as a contractor, and he’s like, Hey, man, you get into the Union put you through school. And we’ll get you a job. And you can start out here. So that’s how I got started in the trade. Went through the trade school. And that was a five year long program. We didn’t really think I was going to continue on with education after that. But I found that the Marine Corps had given me some instilled from Pioneer where I just charge through and get things done, no matter how hard they are. I ended up continuing education after that. So I started my career working for a small company, and then got moved on to a larger company a manufacturer but on the on the service side, and it was kind of interesting because the school was more pushing me towards being a plumber than they were want me to be a in the HVAC build. So it was the original company I worked for, and I was like, I don’t want to do that. I like the technical stuff. So I continued on and got licensed and completed and moved on and went to another company and actually ended up having an accident with that company that hurt. Got out of it thought I was gonna completely get out of it. But this still makes you a lot of money, there’s a lot of different opportunities. So I went and got back into school that that I was kind of looking at getting out of it, but got into the business side of it. And from there I’ve taken off and still work in the field every once a while but now more on the money side and helping customers out. So it’s it’s been unique because I’m I do well with talking to customers and explaining everything to them. And when they especially don’t understand and really today, they definitely don’t understand what’s going on with all the technology and new new systems that are coming out. So they can they can get overwhelmed quick and I help them understand what we’re dealing with and how to fix the problems.

So you’re working mainly on the sales side now from what it looks like, like customer lessons, that type of thing.

I am more. I do both. I do the sales and I am the service manager for my service department. Oh wow. Okay.

So you’re overseeing work that’s going on in the field in addition to helping out the customers, and you’re sort of the technical translator for your customers, right? Yep. Yeah. Yeah, that’s good. So what have you seen since 2007? As far as changes in the industry? Like, you know, are the are the opportunities for, you know, HVAC? People in the HVAC skilled trade set? Is it expanding? Is there more opportunities now than there was in 2007? Or, what are you seeing?

Absolutely. There’s, obviously the big push for women to join the field. But it’s not just that it’s a, there’s the control side, the heavy lifting mechanical side, there’s called, there’s pipelaying, VRP, Vav, I mean, you can almost pick what you want to do. Or when I started, it was more or hey, you got to just go and join in your, you don’t really know the Service Calls you’re about to get into or what you’re about to work on. Now, it’s more, you can definitely pick on, I want to stay residential, I want to do commercial only, or industrial, we do at all. You can definitely pick what you want to do. The problem that we have is there is finding people that want to do the work, the schools were heavily involved. But just finding those guys that want to come in, guys and gals that want to come in and actually do the work. That’s yeah.

Yeah, what I what I teased in the opener for this recording was the fact that, you know, you as a, as a military vet, you know, a lot of guys go into en women to they go into the military. And when you get out, you have a pretty good support structure, like, in other words, you have money that you can use to go to college, if you wanted to. And a lot of people do that. And what I find really interesting is that, you know, you you had that channel, you could definitely go that way. And it sounds like you did some of that. But you’ve you’ve gravitated towards more in the field more, you know, work with your hands work with customers, that kind of thing. And I think that’s that’s kind of unique, that that, you know, there’s a there’s an awakening happening in the in the country now that a lot of people are starting to recognize the fact that, you know, they may college may not be for them. So we’re trying to what I’m trying to do with the show, is to put it out there and say, you know, skilled trades is not just the if everything else doesn’t work out, you know, you can go ahead and be a plumber or HVAC tech. It’s a real thing. I mean, you can do real well, in skilled trades, we think about that.

Absolutely. The only thing is, especially now that it’s getting more, the HVAC side is getting more and more technical. So you, um, you really got to know what you’re doing with a computer. It wasn’t that way. When I started, you didn’t have to have a laptop. But I mean, almost everything we go to laptops required. Sometimes it makes it easier, but there are definitely times it can be extremely difficult. But these kids, these younger kids, they’re especially my son who’s 14 knows how to work her computer better. And it was great. It was just great. But yeah, just make getting them to understand and that’s been a lot of my pitch when I go to schools was talking to these kids that yeah, you can go and do your college or whatever. But the skilled trades, you can just get out there. You don’t have to spend that money, go into college, go to trade school, get get your degree and take off this field will be making money a lot quicker than you can with trying to go get a job.

Hey, guys, quick announcement, if you have not stopped into our website, at skill, trade rescue calm, please do that. On the homepage. Here, you will see that we have the Join the movement email list. If you haven’t signed up, please consider doing that we have some amazing guests lined up for the podcast, I’m going to be getting the stories out of successful technicians and business owners in skilled trades. These are not just HVAC people there’s going to people be from across the skilled trade spectrum. And my hope is that I’m going to be able to draw out of these people the things that have worked in their careers amazingly well. And the things that if they had a chance to talk to their younger self, what they would tell them not to do. So I want to share all that stuff with you. And if you sign up, you’re going to be the first to know when we drop those new podcast episodes. Also coming soon. We have the BST workshop. It’s a five day automated email Workshop. However, you’re going to give content to us through that workshop, you’re going to get one on one feedback from our structures, instructors, and we’re looking to better your career. I’ve been teaching the BST process for many, many years, about two decades one on one, and I’m going to be trying to do that to the masses through this workshop. It’s totally free. All you got to do sign up. As soon as you do that, you’ll get alerts on your email. As soon as these new podcasts come in, as well as the BST workshops. Okay, check it out, I will put a link to the website on the show notes for this episode today. So check it out. Just so you’re working as a service manager. So you kind of you’re you’re, you’re right in the middle of it. So you’ve got older, older techs, younger techs, what are some of the what are some of the mindset challenges that you have with with technicians that that work with you? I mean, what are some of the things that you’re working with them to improve in order to, to speed up their trajectory? What are some key things that maybe a working technician now that seems like man, I’m just not moving up quick enough? Like, what are some of the the things that use a service manager are looking for in technicians in general, new ones or older ones.

So I have it for I have it all over the place, I’ve got older guys, a couple of them probably should go ahead and retire, they, they just don’t want to. I’ve got new guys, and they’re real bright. And on the same side of the money, guys, I’ve got a couple that are you know, they’re gonna take off and just go with it. And they love learning. And then I’ve got guys that bright, but they don’t, they don’t really show the initiative of doing it, you’re like you have to push them. So I’ve got both ends. And I think what really motivates him is honestly the finger tacks being willing to teach, and not willing to teach, but also willing to look at the way that those younger guys look at things and learn from it as well. Right? I spend a lot of my day, my guys get in trouble, hey, I take off out there we go help them. I get in trouble, too. I call him a senior guys are like, Hey, can we look at this or talk about it. And we work it out as a team. But that’s the main thing is to know that we’re not going to leave you stranded by yourself. You’ve got support here everywhere. And that someone’s always going to be available to either answer the phone or show up on your job with you and help you out. And we’re going to teach you so that next time, you’re more prepared, or you’ve already seen this and you can it’s easy for people, you know, sometimes we show up on jobs, and they’re like, how did you figure that out so fast? Well, we just have a lot of experience, we’ve seen it.

Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, it’s, I guess, the mindset that I used to look for, is, you know, I used to say this all the time, you give me somebody who doesn’t know a lot that has the drive to learn, and you know, really the right attitude, I can make him into a great tack. But on the flip side of it, on the flip side of it, if you got somebody that’s just smart as a whip, I mean, they’re just, you know, intellectually just sharp. But they just don’t have that, that drive to learn and strive and, you know, they may make it up to a certain level of a technician, but they’ll plateau out, you know, because they’re there say, Oh, that’s good enough for me, and they don’t know, keep rolling up, you know?

Right? Yeah, that’s been the difficult part. I’ve got a few guys right now. They’re real smart, but they just don’t, they seem comfortable where they are. And I’m trying to, maybe that might be a little bit of fear is you got to step outside of that. You’re going to learn and grow from it. That’s been, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. Try to tell the guys look, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s gonna happen. And you’re going to learn.

So when you first started in the trades, working in HVAC back in 2007, Brian, what are some of the things that you struggled with? I want to I want to hear about those things, if there was anything that you struggled with professionally, and maybe you know how you applied your military background or what you did to deal with those things that you challenged with what were some of those things?

Now my main struggle was being confident and reading, not being confident and understanding what I was seeing was my multimeter troubleshooting. So I would second guess myself all the time. And I had to learn quickly. You what I what I knew my knowledge, I had plenty of knowledge. I also had plenty of support that I just had had to trust my gut and go with what I was seeing and be willing to say, Yep, this is it and go ahead and make the repair. Well, it took me a while to be, you know, especially with the amount of money, we’re talking on components. And I didn’t want to make those calls, I don’t want to be like, I’m sorry, this is gonna cost you this much, and felt bad. Well, now I’ve understood that, hey, you’re actually there, they called you for a reason you’re there for a reason. They want you to fix it. So that was what I struggled with was I struggled so bad that I would go home and make my own trainers in the garage Lahoma on time, so I look for that. For people that want to not only understand that, hey, this isn’t just a job, it’s a career and something you’re going to invest in, is go home and do the same thing and continue your education. Figure out what weakness push through. And that’s what the Marine Corps taught me was your only as good as your weakest link. So mine was troubleshooting at first and

yeah, so you get somebody? Where are you finding all your technicians? Now? What the newbies that you’re bringing in? Where are they coming from?

Like specific schools are doing what you’re asking?

Yeah, yeah. Like, where do you like if you need to hire a new technician to bring them up? Were you finding those new technicians, the apprentices if you will?

Well, so we we are currently in heavily involved with people all the tech and post show up Mogi highly recommend getting kids from their best thing about OSHA, not sorry, stop tech, and they just started a plumbing division. So they’re, they’re working on building out plumbers. And so are we, we have our construction site that has plenty of owners. But we need service partners, right? That’s why it’s so difficult to find, but they are. So it’s been my interest is that we’re just going to get a young pup and an older guy, and we’re going to take off from there. So that’s, that’s why we do what we do. We go to the school, and we tell them what we needed. And they’ve been really good about, hey, we’re gonna build a whole new plumbing lab and go with it.

Yeah. Yeah. And then once they once you bring him in, is that is that what you do? I think I’m hearing you say you, you shadow them with a more senior tech for for a while. How long is your apprenticeship program? Typically,

I, I like to give them around two years to I mean, I think especially if I can, if I can get them on where they’re not just doing, you know, at first, their first six months or a year, they’re just they’re basically carrying the tool bag and visually learning them. I mean, they do work, but it’s their manual labor. The second year is where I want to see them take over, I want to see them actually run the job. And in the senior Tech’s, basically, they’re just stopping anything from going wrong. And same with me, I want to see them come to me and say, Hey, this is you know, I’ve watched how you do it. Now I want to just take over and do it the same way or here, I’ve got some actually better ideas, and I’ll sit down and listen to it. That’s, that’s what we look for.

Hey, guys, I have an exciting announcement, we just recently made some updates to our three most popular online courses at process Tiller Academy comm if you’re a technician, that’s looking to improve your skills a little bit and maybe get some specialized training to be of more value to your customers and your employer. Or if you are an employer, a contractor that is looking to augment your existing in house training with online training that can be accessible from any device, this is a really great opportunity. Just go to process chiller, just scroll down on the homepage, and you will see the course area. If you go into the course page, you will see that we have currently for limited time, we have a promo code of chiller Pro that will save you 25% on any one of these courses. So I hope you check it out. And I’m looking forward to seeing you in class. In private, yeah. So from a new hire that doesn’t know anything, you your goal is to turn them out where they’re actually generating some revenue within about two years. Yep. Okay. Okay. That’s, that’s fantastic. Um, and how often so let’s say you get somebody that is really improving quickly. Are you in are you increasing their their pay package, you know, used to be in the old days, when you know that there wasn’t as big of a supply and demand problem with the skilled trade labor. You know, we would tell them, Okay, you know, you get a review on this, this timeline. And then you know, Even if you’re improving, really well, we this is our schedule, this is how we do it. It seems the trend now is as a, as a technician is improving. They’ll they’ll ratchet up the compensation and the opportunities, the type of things they get to work on as quickly as they possibly can, because there’s so much of a demand now is that, are you seeing that same thing?

Yeah. We don’t really go off of a schedule, you’re off more performance. And we, it’s used as an incentive that you can take jumps, especially here and with me is that if you know, I give you courses to take, and you go and complete them on your own time, or whether we’re actually paying for you to go attend the course. Once that’s done, and then I see that you’ve actually applied yourself or continued learning on your own, you can jump quick into some decent money. And we’re not the problem is dealing with young kids and make having them understand that you’re going to start out lower than what you know, I guess Walmart or Target are currently trying to hire. But you’re gonna pass that real fast. And we’re, you’re getting a career? Not, you know, we’re not just doing the same thing every day. You’re not I mean, there’s a lot of opportunity. But it’s again, it’s all really left out fast, they want to do it.

So what’s your plans? Brian? So you’ve been at this company now for a while you’re yours, the service manager, you’re the the sales person, you know, you’re you’re translating between the technical stuff that’s going on in the field and trying to explain it as best you can to the customers on why they gotta spend money to get this thing running again, what what’s your plan? I mean, where do you see going in the next, you know, five or 10 years and in HVAC trade?

Well, I’m hoping that in the next five years, I’ve completely rebuilt this service department. And there’s more than just me and the other guy that does the residential side doing it, we’re we’re trying to build a whole crew to wear this. I mean, it almost works on itself. I know that’s impossible that, you know, technically we’re in three hats right now, I’d like to only do one. Eventually, I would like to get there. And then I’m kind of thinking that once that happens, if I get the opportunity, I’d like to go work on the construction side for a while. I’m the project manager.

Very cool. Very cool. So what what advice would you give just if you had a chance to talk to one of these newbies? And you were their their personal coach? What? What advice would you give to somebody, let’s say we got a individual that is, you know, has been told to go to college, almost from birth. And they realize, wow, you know, college really isn’t for me. And they’ve done some research and they decide they want to be an HVAC tech or any other still trade doesn’t really matter. What advice would you give that person or, you know, another way to ask would be, you know, what would you say to your younger self, about, you know, about the the career track and skilled trades,

would just say that the skilled trades is going to offer a lot of skills for trade track is going to offer up a lot more opportunities than just whether you want to be an HVAC tech plumber pipe fitter. There’s more there. I mean, it looks, it looks like oh, you got to pick one field? Well, yeah, you need to pick one and get good at it. But it’s going to open doors that you didn’t think were possible. Just focus on getting good at investing in yourself, and getting good in taking care of ordering all your tools getting, you know, once you once you understand that, the sky’s the limit if you want to go into work for yourself or go to work for a company, whatever you want to do, and you can make as much money as you want to make.

Yeah, for sure. Very good. Well, gosh, any any things you’d like to maybe share with veterans that are just getting out? You know, like, career paths for them any anything you’d like to share to my audience? I know I have a lot of military people both still in and and just getting out what what advice would you give them as far as a career path when when they get out?

I just always keep your ears open to your eyes. I mean, just look at the skill train. For sure. Then you can use your GI Bill. But you can also the best part about this. This is Opportunity is you can work and go to school and use your GI Bill. So you’re gonna, you know, just take a leap over just go into college. It’s been, you know, I mean, I’m not saying that that’s that’s for some people and I didn’t say you guys go you do 20 hours a semester and get a degree but the skilled trades is in high demand, I can’t tell you how work on our we do not take our or hiring sign down basically. Right? I mean, we were all in a lot of fun as mice side is a lot of people approached me to be a plumber and I didn’t listen. Well. Yes, I really enjoy the HVAC side. But to be honest, the plumbing field even though it sounds dirty, you make a lot more money. But jobs are pretty sweet.

Yeah. Interesting. Very, very interesting. Yeah, one of the challenges nowadays, what a lot of people, of course, the media doesn’t talk about it, is that you know, you get a individual that’s getting out of out of high school now. And, you know, let’s say the parents are middle class are not wealthy, and they, they want to put their, their child through college. And what they’re finding out is the college experience is much different now than it than it was before when they went through and not that I’m, you know, negative on college, I’m just trying to be, you know, realistic about it. And these, these, these kids, they go in there. And they’re, they are working, maybe some of them while they’re in college, but they’re not. They’re not making much. And they’re, you know, they’re constantly balancing work with their their school life. But at the end of the of their courses, whether it be for five, six years to get their degree, either they or their parents have racked up a huge debt, you know, and that’s the challenge that they’re faced, because the cost of college is increased weigh more than the cost of living, right. So the, the, these individuals are really struggling with that. And I think which you touched on a real important thing that if you go into skilled trades, and you get good at it, you can always go back to college, unfortunately, very few people do. I did, but it was just difficult. It’s difficult. But you know, if you go into an apprenticeship program or something like that, you’re you’re making great money you’re getting, you’re already starting your trajectory to move up. And you’re not racking up a lot of debt. Because a lot of times the employers are so hard up for good labor, they’ll pay for a lot of it, you know, it’s just, it’s just kind of a no brainer. If if you’re not going to be a doctor or a lawyer, you know, something like that, that absolutely 100% requires a college degree.

Yeah, absolutely. They I would, I would definitely encourage, especially the, if you really sat down and looked at what you’re going to pay for getting a four year degree compared to what you’re going to spend going through whether it’s to the five year apprenticeship, you’re going to rack up debt, a lot of debt that you’re going to be paying for for quite a long time. Or you can go into the skilled trades, get paid to do it and you’re you’re you’re low come out of there with me might have some debt, but you’re gonna it’s more income, and then your incomes going to just continue to grow. You’re going to take off further than that kid that went to college and partied or whatever, may have not got a degree. It was me. I before I took off to the Marine Corps, I did make that mistake. And luckily I quickly realized what I was doing.

So that is it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I very much look forward to continuing to connect with you. Please don’t hesitate to send me messages on LinkedIn. I’m on there all the time. Or you can reach out to me on my email. I’m at M King at process tour And until next week, when I give you the next installment I wish you a great week, and I will connect up with you again soon. Take care.