HVAC Program Is Preparing Techs for Opportunities


(Pictured above: Christopher Walker and Jose Gonzalez)

“I love the problem solving involved in service calls,” says Christopher Walker of Parksley. He’s an HVAC technician with Thornton Services in Belle Haven.

Christopher says when he graduated from Arcadia High School in 2012, “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I even worked as a chef for a while.” 

But then he entered the HVAC program at ESCC where he found a purpose and then a job. “It’s a great industry where there is always a need for new employees,” he says.

Scott Hall, Workforce & Business Solutions Officer, explains, “Your Eastern Shore Community College offers a wide variety of learning options for those in the professional trades. This includes HVAC, welding, electrical, plumbing, and construction.”  

While most of those are certificate or degree programs, ESCC is also able to help trades professionals who have Commonwealth of Virginia Professional Trades Licenses in Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing and Gas Fitting.  

Jose Gonzalez is employed by A.W. Rayfield as a certified HVAC tech. “My dad is a contractor, so I had learned some basic skills, but I saw the HVAC program as a great way to gain certification. Once I had that, I was in demand and quickly employed!” 

Jose especially credits the instructor, C.W. Savage, for getting him started and keeping him interested. Jose says, “I particularly liked the hands-on experience with duct work and metal fittings.”

C.W. notes that “there are always jobs in the skilled trades. Think about it. You can walk right out of my classes into jobs that pay really well and offer benefits.”

He adds, “And you can choose your own path—want to work for a large company? There are jobs for that? Do you prefer a small, friendly shop? Plenty of openings there too. Or you could open your own business.” 

“Or, like me, you can become an instructor,” C.W. says. Scott Hall adds, “We are always looking for instructors in trades and manufacturing. Give me a call. Teaching is a way to pay it forward on the Shore.”

In addition to teaching at ESCC, C. W. is a local businessman. He says, “These programs are a direct path to really good opportunities, and it can all start at ESCC.”

ESCC VP Dr. Patrick Tompkins sees a huge YES! For the Shore’s workforce when it comes to having access to the skills AND licensing options at the college. “You don’t have to know anything to get started. Bring your dream and your questions—we can help.” 

Call 757-789-1720 or email studentservices@es.vccs.edu for more details.