HVAC

While he’s not busy with his day job working on hydronic heating systems, commercial and residential plumbing, backflow prevention and gas work, Chris Massaro (@nwo_plumber) loves playing guitar and recording music. Admiring the recent tattoo to commemorate his daughter’s birth, “I was in a bunch of bands throughout high school and recorded an album once Read more

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesWhile he’s not busy with his day job working on hydronic heating systems, commercial and residential plumbing, backflow prevention and gas work, Chris Massaro (@nwo_plumber) loves playing guitar and recording music. Admiring the recent tattoo to commemorate his daughter’s birth, “I was in a bunch of bands throughout high school and recorded an album once. I don’t get around to it as much as I used to or like to, but I’m definitely making more time for that now,” says Massaro, owner/lead tech at Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

 

I take that back. Massaro also enjoys hanging out with friends and family, golfing and mountain biking. And, he definitely needs to get that grill time in—grill, smoke, BBQ. “Sometimes in that order, in one cook. Most of the time I do use the smoker though. I’ve been on a pulled pork kick lately. My favorite is some nice pork shoulders on the Traeger. It’s the ultimate dad activity, in my opinion,” says Massaro.

The work\life balance has been a struggle for Massaro; he realized one day that when you are running your own small business sometimes there isn’t a balance. You have to make the time and prioritize it. “Do what’s important to you and make time for the people and activities you love. And most importantly, take care of yourself! Because you’re worth it. Time stands still for no one so spend it wisely,” says Massaro.

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesAnd that’s why staying physically fit and active is important to Massaro. “I’m always lifting, bending, up and down the stairs all day so it’s helpful to have a training regimen that supports that. And, it really helps to keep me in mental shape as well,” say Massaro.

Even more important is eating right, says Massaro. “We use a lot of energy in a day in the trades so we have to keep that fire fed. All of this allows me to stay energized all day and still have plenty of gas in the tank when I get home for family time,” continues Massaro.

Massaro’s foray into the trades started when he starting working for the family business as a plumbing apprentice at the age of 13. “Made best friends with my shovel and we went to work. Thankfully, I graduated from digging trenches and went on to start really learning about the ins and outs of the trade,” recalls Massaro.

Over the next few years, Massaro spent most days plumbing residential systems with a few commercial jobs sprinkled in here and there while working for my father. “It was nice to be doing a bit of everything and not just strictly one area of the trade, which I felt was important to be a well-rounded tech.

Once Massaro had a few years under his belt, he did a lot of remote northern work for fly-in communities. “Those big jobs we did up there really sharpened my time and material management skills,” says Massaro.

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesIn addition, the high school Massaro attended offered a cooperative education program where he was able to gain work experience hours toward his apprenticeship if he chose to stick with plumbing. “I would go to regular classes for the morning periods then co-op at Aqua North in the afternoon,” says Massaro.

As a side note, Massaro says that if your local high school offers a cooperative education program, he highly recommends getting involved. “It’s a really pressure-free way to get your feet wet in whatever trades the school offers,” says Massaro. “I always try to take on one co-op student per year and leave them with a positive experience in the trade. I feel that’s the best way for kids to feel out what they want to do. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions!”

Next, after getting all of his trade school and work hours complete, Massaro then wrote his exam for his certificate of qualification in plumbing. Shortly thereafter, Massaro bought the family business, and the rest is history.

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesAs fourth-generation plumber, Massaro has had some great mentors in his career, with plenty of help and guidance from his father and grandfather in learning new and old ways of plumbing. “If my great grandfather was around then I’m sure he would have some real old school stuff to show me.”

And while Massaro doesn’t consider himself a role model, he’s always willing and ready to help others to do their best at work, and life in general. “I’ve learned a lot over the years and sharing the experiences and knowledge with up-and-coming tradespeople is paramount,” says Massaro.

For Massaro, he loves building something from nothing and executing the job. “Sometimes just sitting back after the job is done and being like ‘damn we really did that.’”

Perception Change

The perception of the industry needs to change, says Massaro. “I think the wheels are turning on that as we speak but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesSocial media is that vehicle for the instrument of change as it’s an easy way to showcase contractor work, and connect with other professionals. “There’s a solid amount of tradespeople out there doing an amazing job. If we can show people that there’s more to plumbing than just plunging toilets, fixing leaks, and back-breaking work, then I think that’s a win,” says Massaro.

Whether it’s new and better tools, techniques, business knowledge, etc., Massaro has learned so much on social media. “It’s awesome that we can connect with people and have such a great community sharing tricks of the trade, meet-ups or even debate if it’s tape then dope—which it is—or dope then tape,” says Massaro.

In the end, as Massaro sets his sights on his career and further enriching his life, a good bucket list item to check off would be getting a recreational pilot’s license. “Always wanted to get into aviation in some way.”

The sky’s the limit.

Manufacturer’s Industry Forward™ charitable giving program provides strategic grant funding and donation of 10 heat pump water heaters to support ECA’s workforce development training and low-income assistance program Bradford White Corporation, an industry-leading American manufacturer of water heaters, boilers and storage tanks, announced today a $30,000 grant and the donation of 10 65-gallon AeroTherm® heat Read more

Manufacturer’s Industry Forward™ charitable giving program provides strategic grant funding and donation of 10 heat pump water heaters to support ECA’s workforce development training and low-income assistance program

Bradford White Corporation, an industry-leading American manufacturer of water heaters, boilers and storage tanks, announced today a $30,000 grant and the donation of 10 65-gallon AeroTherm® heat pump water heaters to Pennsylvania’s Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA).

The grant, part of Bradford White’s Industry Forward™ initiative supporting workforce development and public awareness of plumbing and HVAC industry careers, will directly benefit ECA’s Philadelphia Youth Pathways to Clean Energy Careers program, which introduces low-income minority students to clean energy career paths.  The program offers 100 hours of classroom and hands-on experience for students in five possible career tracks, including commercial HVAC installation, HVAC maintenance and repair, and heat pump water heater installation and maintenance. The program will sharpen their technical skills, help them acquire needed credentials and advance them toward job placement.

As part of this workforce education grant, Bradford White training experts will lend their expertise throughout the year to ECA staff and students by providing in-person and online training to further advance their knowledge and complement the education offered by ECA.

“The skilled trades offer a variety of rewarding career opportunities that many rising jobseekers aren’t aware of,” said Rebecca Owens, senior manager of communications for Bradford White. “These jobs offer competitive salaries and benefits, career advancement, job security and satisfaction. We’re proud to partner with ECA and advance their work to ensure that students from all backgrounds have full access to these potentially life-changing opportunities.”

ECA also received 10 Bradford White AeroTherm® heat pump water heaters, which were delivered by Rich-Tomkins, a manufacturer’s representative for the company. Two units will be used in ECA’s heat pump training lab and eight will be donated to qualifying families through the Philadelphia Water Heater Emergency Fund. The heat pump lab will further expand their efforts to train local residents on this product, allowing them to be prepared for future conversions to this energy-efficient technology in Philadelphia.

“It’s a privilege to partner with Bradford White, the industry leader on this technology, and to receive this generous support from their Industry Forward program,” said Steve Luxton, chief executive officer, ECA. These funds will give underserved Philadelphians the skills they need to install the AeroTherms and open doors to good-paying plumbing and HVAC jobs. Every week we receive calls from low-income seniors and families living without hot water. This support will help meet that need, and at the same time, help the city meet its goals for electrification.”

For more information about Bradford White Corporation’s Industry Forward™ initiative, visit https://www.bradfordwhitecorporation.com/giving/.

RIDGID, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio, introduces the smallest and lightest press tool on the market, the RP 115 Mini Press Tool. Designed for residential and lightweight commercial plumbing use, it completes the majority of press connections installed in the market with ease, while getting professionals to their next job faster. Engineered with the Read more

RIDGID RP 115 Mini Press Tool, press technology, pressing, tools, RIDGID, RIDGID tools, plumbing, heating, HVACRIDGID, part of Emerson’s professional tools portfolio, introduces the smallest and lightest press tool on the market, the RP 115 Mini Press Tool. Designed for residential and lightweight commercial plumbing use, it completes the majority of press connections installed in the market with ease, while getting professionals to their next job faster.

Engineered with the quality and technology that have kept RIDGID first in pressing for decades, the RP 115 can press 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch copper and stainless steel fittings. It is 14.6 inches long, 2.5 inches wide and weighs only 5.5 pounds with battery and jaws. The RP 115 has a SlimGrip handle and optimized trigger for balance and control; one-handed jaw opening and operation for reach and ease of use; and 210-degree head swivel for access to tight spaces.

Visit RIDGID.com for more info.

We visit the newly-built Martin Softball campus on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to talk with Chris Asklund, project manager for A&R Mechanical, about the heating component of the project and its reliance of NIBCO butterfly and ball valves, and strainers. The new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for the Fighting Illini softball Read more

We visit the newly-built Martin Softball campus on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to talk with Chris Asklund, project manager for A&R Mechanical, about the heating component of the project and its reliance of NIBCO butterfly and ball valves, and strainers.

The new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for the Fighting Illini softball program was built thanks to a sizable lead naming gift from Rex Martin and his daughters, Ashley Martin and Alexis Martin-Klose. Their gift will honor their late wife and mother, Alice Martin.

Hands-On Training Designed to Develop a Highly Competitive Workforce Interplay Learning, the leading provider of online and VR training for the essential skilled trades, announced today the expansion and upgrade of its commercial HVAC catalog, enabling commercial HVAC firms and mechanical contractors to reduce training costs and accelerate ramp-up times for their apprentices and technicians Read more

Hands-On Training Designed to Develop a Highly Competitive Workforce

Interplay Learning, the leading provider of online and VR training for the essential skilled trades, announced today the expansion and upgrade of its commercial HVAC catalog, enabling commercial HVAC firms and mechanical contractors to reduce training costs and accelerate ramp-up times for their apprentices and technicians.

Interplay’s expert-led commercial HVAC courses and hands-on 3D simulations help technicians rapidly develop and retain on-the-job skills by providing unlimited practice in a risk-free environment. Five courses have already been added to the commercial HVAC catalog with nine more coming over the next few months, including a highly anticipated Custom Air Handling Unit Preventive & Service Maintenance course where users can apply fundamental concepts they have learned by conducting various air handler maintenance checks using a virtual air handler unit in a simulation.

This newly expanded catalog also includes scenarios for Centrifugal Pump Repair, Packaged Refrigeration Unit Troubleshooting and Walk-In Freezer Troubleshooting as well as safety courses like Ladder and Fall Safety, Fire Prevention and Safety, and more — providing a one-stop-shop for technicians to retain the critical knowledge necessary to do their job correctly, and safely.

Interplay’s revolutionary learning approach equips apprentices and technicians with the knowledge they need to problem-solve efficiently, leading to better and faster service calls. They can dive into everything from foundational applied sciences through instructional video courses to more advanced concepts like diagnosing five reasons why a chiller would have loss of flow from a evaporator or condenser in 3D simulation training environments. By applying the science behind how people learn best, Interplay equips learners with both the knowledge and cognitive skills they need to solve problems in the moment.

“Interplay’s on-demand, simulation-based training is significantly more engaging and effective than traditional classroom training,” said Dan Clapper, HVAC Market Director at Interplay Learning. “Our customers tell us frequently that this is training their techs will actually use, and the business impact of that cannot be overstated.”

Interplay makes it easy for companies to administer and manage their training through one simple platform, providing them with the resources they need to train and upskill a strong performing team. Commercial HVAC team managers have the ability to assign courses based on individual learners’ needs and create career paths to help their apprentices and technicians become more well-rounded in the field.

For more information, visit www.interplaylearning.com.