2017 HVAC/R Technician Graduate, Gold Wrench Award Winner
Plant Manager / Maintenance Supervisor / HVAC/R Technician at
A.B. Munroe Dairy in East Providence, RI
“I’ve kept track of all of the HVAC and Refrigeration projects over the last year at the Dairy where I work. Comparing what my company paid for me to go to school and what they would have paid for outside electrical and refrigeration services this year—they recouped their money and then some. After attending MTTI, I am making a better living and am better able to help my company.”
I worked for 28 years at Munroe Dairy in East Providence before enrolling in MTTI’s HVAC/R program.
My father had worked at Munroe before me. I began working at sixteen, while still in High School; after graduation, I went to work at Munroe Dairy full-time.
Eventually I was able to operate all of the bottling equipment. Early in my teens I learned to thread pipe and to solder. As I developed new skills, I began getting involved in maintenance.
We had a really good electric and refrigeration guy—at least until he retired. He showed me how to use a multi-meter and how to use a gauge.
As much as he taught me, though, I didn’t understand them. I would look at the meter or gauge, call him and tell him what I saw.
Our company sent two of the three guys who worked at the Dairy to another tech school. When they completed school, they had learned some basics; they didn’t have their Universal EPA Certification. Our Refrigeration guy was trying to retire—he recommended the company send someone else to school.
After MTTI moved its main location to Seekonk, MA, Munroe bought MTTI’s building on North Brow Street in East Providence.
MTTI called Munroe and offered a walk-through of the school; my boss, Rob, brought me along. I interviewed with the HVAC & Refrigeration Instructor, who rated me an ‘excellent candidate’ for the program. My boss set it up for me to attend HVAC/R night classes.
I like to learn, but initially I resisted having to go back to school. MTTI’s Instructors make you feel welcome.
It was a pleasure coming to the school to learn. I valued my comradery with the Instructors. When I got a little behind, I would come in early, before the evening class began, to get extra help. One Instructor tutored me to help me get my EPA Certification early, so that I could take over the refrigeration work at the dairy. If you are willing to learn, the Instructors are willing to teach you.
My wife was my biggest support.
There are always those times, when going through a year-and-a-half program, that you just aren’t sure if you made the right decision—you think you may have bitten off more than you can chew. My wife helped get me through.
Now I service our oil burner, gas boiler, all of the refrigeration for the dairy operations and the A/C unit for the building.
We have five walk-in coolers, plus one large walk-in refrigerator that makes shaved ice. This year, I had to service the ice machine. Before I attended MTTI’s program, I would have called the refrigeration guy to service the broken ice deflector. He would tell me, “Do this”. After graduating the HVAC/R program, I knew how to troubleshoot and could understand why it didn’t work.
We used a local company in the past for servicing our heating system.
Our main office has an oil burner; every winter the office was ice cold. This winter, as I learned at school to troubleshoot and repair oil burners, I serviced our unit. The company that had serviced it had the fan limit switch set to come on at 150 and go off at 130. Normally, it should be set to come on at 150 and to shut off at 100. In the past, every time the fan came on, it would knock the temperature down and the fan would shut off. We would constantly call for service because we had no heat. After I serviced it this year, my boss exclaimed, “It’s warm in here!”. I replied, “You can chalk this up to MTTI.”
We have two chiller silos on cement pads outside our building; they run a (food grade) glycol / water mix.
One runs to the silos to cool the milk. The other runs into the pasteurizer to cool the milk. In January/February, we had a control issue—the chillers wouldn’t run. I took the multi-meter and diagnosed the problem. I found burned out wire, which I replaced to get it running. Before I went to school, I could use a multi-meter; now I was able to diagnose and trace back to where the problem began. I was able to kill the power to the chillers, ohm things out and find the problem. Before MTTI, that would have been a call to the electrician. Instead, I had us up and running in only 20 minutes. If I had had to make a service call, we would have been down much longer.
In the past year, we haven’t needed to have anyone from the outside make repairs because of what I learned at MTTI.
I’ve kept track of all of the HVAC and Refrigeration projects over the year at the Dairy. Comparing what my company paid for me to go to school and what they would have paid to outside companies for electrical and refrigeration services—they recouped their money and then some.
Beyond work, I am able to take care of the hvac system in my home, which I couldn’t do before.
I’ve even been able to help friends with hot water heater and gas fired heater issues—it’s a good feeling.
I worked hard to keep up with classmates, some of whom had prior work experience.
I was surprised at graduation when I won the Gold Wrench Award!
I continue to keep my binder and notes from the program right on my desk at work.
I regularly go back to my notes to solve problems on the job. MTTI’s commercials with the tag line ‘…one day can change your life’ are really true—there’s no way around that! I am making a better living and am better able to help my company.
A.B. Munroe Dairy
Since 1881, A.B. Munroe Dairy has been delivering the freshest milk in the area to homes and offices. Delivered in environmentally and health friendly bottles, in no more than 48 hours from the cow to the customer’s home or office, the milk contains no artificial hormones or antibiotics. Munroe offers over 200 grocery products to choose from, many of which come from other local, family owned New England companies. Visit Monroe’s website to order online, and enjoy service fresh from the farm to your table.
151 N. Brow Street
East Providence, RI 02914
Call Us: 401-438-4450
Spotlight Photo & Right Photo: John Sherman with Owner, CEO Rob Armstrong, at Munroe Dairy.