Taco Comfort Solutions

Training in 2024 is just as important as ever. How do you integrate training, education and continued learning with today’s busy contractor? Power Points, sales pitches and doughnuts. Tried and true methods of training gone by, that’s for sure. But what does today’s training look like, especially in the purview of the younger generation of Read more

Training in 2024 is just as important as ever. How do you integrate training, education and continued learning with today’s busy contractor?

Power Points, sales pitches and doughnuts. Tried and true methods of training gone by, that’s for sure. But what does today’s training look like, especially in the purview of the younger generation of contractors that digests information in 90 seconds or less?

“What was that? Sorry, I was looking at my phone,” jokes Max Rohr, Director, Education and Technical Marketing, Caleffi. “Five years ago, a three-minute-long video was a good option, now it will seem long if it is over that 90-second threshold. Ideally, you get to the point in the first five seconds and work the explanation back from there. Like showing the cake and then going back to bowls of ingredients.”

According to, Dave Holdorf, Residential Trainer & Rep Training Manager—Eastern Region, Taco Comfort Solutions, it’s a challenge. “We’ve found that it helps to bring different instructors in for specific segments of the training. Each instructor brings their own perspective; even hearing a different voice in the room makes for a more compelling presentation. Every facet of our training is now geared to maintain the attention of participants. We also make sure to schedule breaks so that the attendees can attend to business, or need at home. By creating the curriculum with attendees in mind, their focus remains with the topic in front of them.”

Nevertheless, the training department at Taco has always looked at training not from a product view but from an application perspective, giving attendees the information they need to do their job better, and to give their customers the comfort they deserve. “We use real world experiences to solve real world problems with personal experiences and a bit of humor—as you know, John, it ain’t worth doing if you’re not having fun as well,” says Holdorf.

Taco Comfort Solutions, training, Caleffi, continuing education, education, plumbing, HVAC, hydronics, learning

Caleffi’s Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr brings his props and his wealth of experience and knowledge to trainings.

But what about those PowerPoints and doughnuts? “Every learning style is different, so you have to be adaptable. If you see the audience tuning out a PowerPoint, stop and grab a product to bring to an attendee and talk about a case study that is related instead,” says Rohr.

In addition, everything falls apart for a trainer if the audience gets the impression they are overpromising, adds Rohr. For example, “Honesty is something Hot Rod is specifically good at in contractor training sessions. As a former installer, he always has tips for getting the job done and workarounds that are really tangible,” says Rohr.

The New Normal?

The Covid pandemic saw what we thought was going to be a new normal with virtual training, but what we are now seeing is the importance, and return, of in-person training.

This past year Taco saw a huge jump of in-person training, on the road as well as at Taco HQ in Rhode Island. So much so that the company had to dramatically increase the number of sessions back in Rhode Island to accommodate. “However, that does not mean to diminish the virtual training, Taco Tuesday and Taco After Dark webinars are still posting a large number of attendees that are hungry for information in bite size chunks, not as large as when we all locked down at home, but still popular,” says Holdorf.

Taco’s Holdorf conducts a training at the Cranston, R.I. HQ.

Nonetheless, “when we’re online, we know it’s so easy to stray off to the next shiny thing online, so to keep attendees engaged, we encourage two-way communications. If participants have questions, we want them to ask immediately,” continues Holdorf.

In fact, Holdorf says that people who attend Taco’s webinars typically take it to the next level and seek live training. A combination of both virtual and live training can help attendees dial in on what they want to learn—or perhaps didn’t initially develop a full understanding of what it is they most needed to know. “These options allow them to fine-tune their training experience to make them as good as they want to be. And, ideally, we help them raise the bar. We routinely heard from trade pros who came to us for a better understanding of a single application or concept, and through that experience come away with an energized desire for much more,” says Holdorf.

 

In 2023, Caleffi performed almost a 50/50 mix of in-person and virtual. Contractors like hands-on training, says Rohr, so it is good to be back on job sites for that type of interaction. And, engineers didn’t all go back to the office after COVID. “Many of the engineering sessions we do are virtual because that firm may be scattered all over the region. You might catch 20 people in a virtual training, where only 10 of them are in the office that day,” says Rohr.

Know-It-Alls

What about those who are stubborn enough to think that they don’t need further education and training? “I love this question and see and hear it often in the industry,” says Ken Midgett, L.M.P, Plumbing, Marketing Director, Interplay Learning, and former Teacher and Apprenticeship Instructor, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute.

Those in skilled trades should embrace the concept of being “lifelong learners,” consistently expanding their knowledge in their current specialty and exploring related disciplines. Whether licensed or not, individuals in skilled trades should assess their goals, career paths and professional growth within their field. It’s common for some to reach a point where they feel adequately skilled and think further education is unnecessary. According to Midgett, this assumption is misleading for several reasons:

• For example, a residential plumber could benefit from learning about commercial plumbing, Med Gas, Backflow, Water Well work, Water Conditioning, HVAC, Electrical, etc. Diversifying skills not only enhances one’s expertise but also increases their marketability across various skill sets, intern boosting income and long-term employability.

• Despite advancements in safety measures within the construction industry, the misconception that skilled trades workers are immune to injuries persists. While the overall safety landscape has improved, life-changing injuries can still occur. In such unfortunate instances, if an individual can only rely on skills specific to their trade and lacks versatility, their career may face irreparable damage. Therefore, investing in ongoing training, education, and professional development becomes crucial for ensuring resilience in the workforce and mitigating the impact of unforeseen challenges. Repurposing skillsets may be challenging when there has been no prior skill or professional development planning before the injury event.

• The industry, codes, tools, and methods to do a task are constantly changing. Skilled trades workers need to educate themselves and stay on top of new developments. This is critical to the success of a technician and company.

In the end, it’s what ends up in the ol’ noggin as useful information that translates to the jobsite. “Students only retain a tiny amount of the information that you present to them, but they will remember their feelings about the trainer for a very long time,” says Rohr. “It is hard to know if a bigger win is when customers retain a piece of information you presented or if they remember that you seem like you know what you are talking about. “If they trust that you did a good job, that memory will stay with them for a career, potentially.”

At the Taco Comfort Solutions booth at this year’s AHR Expo, the company had a new twist—a virtual reality (VR) demo and a glimpse into the future of training. Mechanical Hub caught up with Dave Holdorf, Product & Application Instructor – East for Taco. Here is what Dave had to say: With the success of Read more

At the Taco Comfort Solutions booth at this year’s AHR Expo, the company had a new twist—a virtual reality (VR) demo and a glimpse into the future of training. Mechanical Hub caught up with Dave Holdorf, Product & Application Instructor – East for Taco. Here is what Dave had to say:

With the success of the Taco training department in the residential and commercial realms, as well as our webinar series of Taco Tuesday and Taco After Dark, what could be next? We have asked customers over the years what can we do to make the training experience better? The number one answer has always been more hands on. I would then ask, “how do we do that, you mean like installing a circulator and zone valves, joining pipe and flanges and tightening bolts … you mean like work on a jobsite you were at earlier in the week?” VR gives us that ability now—building a system, repairing the seals and bearing in a split case commercial pump, things like that.

Taco Comfort Solutions, virtual reality, VR technology, simulation training, training, plumbing, pumps, circulators, hydronics

Imagine maintenance on that split case pump is coming up and you have never, ever taken one apart much less seen one in the wild, but it‘s now your responsibility to do the repair in an effective and allowable timeframe. What are the proper steps … is there a YouTube video you can watch the night before … so much pressure to get the job done right.

Now imagine a call to us and we can meet you in the “mechanical room” with that very pump in front of us. We’re standing right next to each other virtually, but you’re in Walla Walla, Washington and we‘re in Cranston, R.I. rebuilding it with you—greatly improving your confidence level, and ready for the next day. With this capability, you know the sequence, you know the names of the parts, what to look for and what not to do.

In the end, attendees of the show were surprised, but not too much. I mean, the training department has been up to  so much over the last decade bringing content online and in person that it wasn’t surprising that Taco would try to increase out reach even further.

Of course, we’re just scratching the surface of where we can go with this!

Taco Comfort Solutions® has expanded its family of easy-to-use, ECM high-efficiency circulators with the addition of the 0034e® and 0034ePlus® models.  With a maximum of 34 feet of head and 50 GPM, the new circulators offer up to 85 percent energy savings over a conventional circulator. The 0034e and 0034ePlus circulators are available with cast Read more

Taco Comfort Solutions® has expanded its family of easy-to-use, ECM high-efficiency circulators with the addition of the 0034e® and 0034ePlus® models.  With a maximum of 34 feet of head and 50 GPM, the new circulators offer up to 85 percent energy savings over a conventional circulator.

The 0034e and 0034ePlus circulators are available with cast iron or NSF/ANSI 61 & 372 certified stainless steel volutes, so they are ideal for closed-loop hydronic heating systems as well as domestic hot water recirculation systems. Both circulators also offer a convenient, rotatable control box cover for a professional look, no matter the orientation of the installed circulator.

The 0034e features an easy-to-use dial with five operating modes, including constant pressure, fixed speed, Taco’s exclusive TacoADAPTTM self-adjusting proportional pressure, and 0-10V capability. The 0034ePlus adds proportional pressure and more constant pressure settings as well as a digital display with real-time feedback, including watts, GPM, feet of head, and RPM. Both circulators are dual-voltage 115V/230V.

The new circulators come with exclusive features that make Taco’s ECM high-efficiency circulators so easy to use, including SureStart® automatic unblocking and air purging, BIO Barrier® black iron oxide protection, dual electrical knockouts, and recessed flange nut-grabbers.

For more information, visit www.TacoComfort.com

Taco Comfort Solutions has partnered with Contractor Rewards, a free program designed to reward professional contractors, plumbers, builders, and remodelers for buying the industry’s leading products. Customers earn points on Taco’s heating and plumbing products that can be redeemed for thousands of possible rewards – anything from movie tickets to tools or live events and Read more

Taco Comfort Solutions has partnered with Contractor Rewards, a free program designed to reward professional contractors, plumbers, builders, and remodelers for buying the industry’s leading products.

Customers earn points on Taco’s heating and plumbing products that can be redeemed for thousands of possible rewards – anything from movie tickets to tools or live events and vacations.  Taco’s full catalog of residential heating and plumbing products is eligible.  Points are earned on circulators, zone valves, or switching relays that were going to be purchased anyway.

Enroll today and use the bonus code GreenRewards to earn 200 points, free.  This jumpstart is Taco’s way of saying “thank you” to loyal customers.  Signing up is free and only takes a minute.  Just go to ContractorRewards.com and answer a few questions.

For questions, email ContractorSupport@ContractorRewards.com or call 1-877-286-7064.

Taco Comfort Solutions has expanded its family of easy to use, high-efficiency ECM circulators with the addition of the 0026e.  With a maximum of 26 feet of head and 44 GPM, the new variable-speed circulator offers up to 85 percent energy savings over a conventional circulator. The 0026e circulator is available with cast iron or Read more

Taco Comfort Solutions has expanded its family of easy to use, high-efficiency ECM circulators with the addition of the 0026e.  With a maximum of 26 feet of head and 44 GPM, the new variable-speed circulator offers up to 85 percent energy savings over a conventional circulator.

The 0026e circulator is available with cast iron or NSF/ANSI 61 & 372 certified stainless steel volutes, ideal for either closed-loop heating systems or domestic hot water systems.  It also offers a convenient, rotatable control box for a professional look, no matter the orientation of the installed circulator.

The easily-installed, easily-programmed 0026e circulator features five simple settings; low, medium, high, Taco’s exclusive activeADAPT® self-adjusting proportional pressure, and 0-10v control. Its variable speed performance curves are equivalent to Taco’s 0010, 0011, 0012, 0012 and 0014 models.

Hydronic system designers and installers will find that the new circulator is ideal for large residential and light commercial heating, chilled water cooling and domestic hot water systems.  The 0026e is dual-voltage 115V/230V, and the 6.5” rotated flange-to-flange dimension retrofits most circulators in its class.

The new circulator includes exclusive features that make Taco’s ECM high-efficiency circulators easy to use, including SureStart® automatic unblocking and air purging, BIO Barrier® black iron oxide protection, dual electrical knockouts, and recessed flange nut-grabbers for easier fit up.

For more information, visit www.TacoComfort.com