A Second Option Leads a Student to a Future Career in HVAC/R

Western Beaver senior, Brennden Dixon, is currently enrolled in BCCTC’s HVAC/R program. This is his second year in the program but he made quite the impression to his instructor, Mr. Dan Ostronic during his first year. Once Mr. ‘O’ realized Brennden’s hard-work ethic and true desire to want to understand the heating and air-conditioning field, it prompted him to contact, Homer Nine & Sons, Inc. (Homer 9) out of Bridgewater, to see if they would be interested in a summer intern. Guess what? They were. Over this past summer, Brennden went to work installing both air conditioning and furnace units, plus he serviced many A/C units, supervised by experienced technicians of the local company. It may be hard to believe, but this was Brennden’s very first job and he couldn’t be happier!

How did this begin? Eric Nine, Business Manager of Homer 9, joined HVAC/R’s Occupational Advisory Committee (OAC) last year, wanting to see the facility, equipment, and find out what the program had to offer the students of Beaver County. Being impressed with what he saw and heard from our instructor, he and his Service Manager, Doug Geist, who happens to be an 80’s alumni of the HVAC program as well, talked about resuming a summer internship program they had in operation a few years ago and made it a topic of discussion at one of the OAC meetings. Towards the end of the year, Dan Ostronic made a phone call to them that helped resurrect that program into practice with Brennden.

After Brennden’s interview with Homer 9, he was offered to work the internship, which consisted of a paid, 40-hour workweek for 10 weeks. He worked with a few different employees to give him a taste of everything the trade had to offer with multiple techs in the field. His final exam entailed him completing several service calls, overseen by Senior Tech Mark Garcia, and per Mark, Brennden passed with flying colors!

Mr. Nine stated, “This is such a worthwhile opportunity for both the student and the contractor. Like other companies, we want to grow with quality, young talent and this situation is perfect for us. We would like to maintain and continue our summer intern program as well. This is a great partnership with Dan and the HVAC/R program at BCCTC. We hope that Brennden joins our team in the future and we look forward to our next intern from the program.”

Brennden said, “Knowing that I am more of a hands-on learner and my grades starting out in high school were not the best, I knew I needed a change to my education. The funny thing is, HVAC/R wasn’t even my first choice,” Brennden continued. “But I happened to see a Homer 9 truck the day were we scheduling and I marked HVAC/R as my second option.”

Brennden has noticed a significant difference in his attitude towards school and a difference in his grades for the positive. He comments, “I understand now why my subjects at school are so important but more importantly, how they will be used in my profession as an HVAC/R technician. Like English, for example. I had to use an iPad at Homer 9 and type up a ‘Service Agreement’ for one of their customers. That agreement needed to have complete sentences and no misspellings. The use of a tape measure and being able to read one is critical. You need to line things up accurately in the field and be able to read pressure gauges – there is your math. There is science and chemistry too. As a tech, I have to work with refrigerants and understand how the process or the cycle of these units work to heat or cool someone’s home or space. Because of HVAC/R, because of BCCTC, my grades have gone up because I get it now.”

So what now for Brennden? His short-term goal this senior year is to be accepted into the CTC’s Cooperative Education program as soon as possible so that he can return to work at Homer 9. After graduation, he is hoping to be hired on as a full time employee for the local company as he feels so much ‘relief’ to no longer have to worry about plans after graduation. “I found my future,” he said.

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