You're In Good Hands With MTTI's HVAC/R Technician Instructor Team
Michael Siravo's, Asher Marshall's and John Barbosa's industry experience spans all of the areas taught in MTTI’s program: residential, commercial and industrial HVAC plus Refrigeration. Mike holds Rhode Island Master Refrigeration and Master Pipefitter Licenses plus a Massachusetts Journeyman Refrigeration License. John has Massachusetts Master Sheet Metal & Oil Burner Licenses. Ash holds Rhode Island Master Refrigeration and Master Pipefitter Licenses. (Top Photo: Ash (left), John (center) & Mike (right).
Mike has been in the HVAC/R industry for 33 years.
“Like many of our students, I started out in a different career—working in the jewelry tool industry, making tools for stamping. When that industry started to disappear, I wanted a stable trade. As a skilled HVAC technician, you can always find work. I worked first for my uncle’s company, as an apprentice to my younger brother. After 3 years in residential and light commercial, I moved into commercial and industrial work. “
For 10 of those years, Mike taught for the Rhode Island Union.
“After I retired from the Union, I supervised the HVAC Department at Rhode Island Hospital, managing a $3 million budget. My work experience has given me a wide knowledge of the industry, starting with houses and an ending up with big chillers.”
John has worked primarily in residential HVAC for more than 25 years.
He came to the US from the Cape Verdean Islands when he was only 14. “My Dad had a heart attack while I was still in high school. I had to support the family—including 4 brothers and 2 sisters. I attended a Trade School for plumbing and did well. When an opening in HVAC came up, my teacher gave me my first opportunity. During my Junior Year, I alternated between going to school for two weeks and working for two weeks. By my Senior Year, I was working full time in HVAC.”
John’s company had him train students from a Vocational School.
“The students I trained became good at their work—and then moved on. I was teaching at the same time I was doing the work. I started thinking that maybe the next step in my career would be to become a teacher. For a year before coming to MTTI, I worked with a service company on Cape Cod. I wasn’t looking for work. My daughter saw an advertisement for an HVAC/R Instructor, while she was looking for a job after completing college. She thought it would be perfect for me. I interviewed at MTTI and was hired as the Shop Skills Instructor.”
Ash has more than a decade of experience in residential and light commercial work.
“College didn’t work for me. My father was a truck driver, and I had been a truck driver’s helper, so I knew that life wasn’t for me. I was fortunate to have a family member in HVAC; my Uncle gave me the opportunity to work with him and learn the Trade. I looked at working in HVAC as a rare opportunity to learn something that not everyone can do—most people aren’t going to work on their own boilers. I consider myself fortunate that the HVAC/R field ‘picked’ me.”
Ash learned about MTTI when the company he worked for took on an intern.
“That connected me to Roland, who was teaching at the school. The program was growing, they were looking to add Instructors. I decided to try teaching and found I liked it. It is gratifying to see people come into the program and get a job in the industry. I consider myself a vessel for the information. I am able take an advanced concept, put it into words and communicate it. Teaching feels like the best job for me and the best thing I can do for the industry.”
Mike also finds teaching very rewarding.
“When you go to a customer’s home or a commercial job, you don’t feel you’ve changed someone’s life the way you do when you are teaching. There are some students you think aren’t going to make it—but then they surprise you. Maybe they don’t ‘get’ air conditioning, but suddenly the light turns on for them during the refrigeration unit. They get a job and do well in it. It’s a great feeling towards the end of the program, when a student comes up to you and says, ‘Thank you—I got it’.”
John describes teaching at MTTI as ‘the best job ever’.
“Instructing in the shop feels natural to me. I have lots of experience doing the job—almost everything we teach is something I’ve worked on in the field. I’m a people-person. I enjoy helping different people in each class.”
All the instructors instill in students the same work ethic that made them successful in the workforce.
John appreciates students who show respect and have discipline. “I try to teach them how to present themselves—to have the customer service skills that will encourage employers to hire them. I believe in teaching with patience, kindness and respect for each student. My former boss taught me how to work hard and be productive—now I can pass that on.”
The instructors like that, as teachers, they have the latest technical information available to them.
Ash explains, “I understand concepts now that I didn’t when I was a Technician in the field. Teaching takes the knowledge accrued from experience in the trade and sharpens it.” John agrees that, “The industry is always changing—things become more efficient. You have to keep up with the information. What I like most about teaching is that I am always learning.”
Ash adds, “We’ve spent hundreds of hours honing the information in the curriculum."
"The notes get better each time around. We do a good job in the classroom of delivering theory—but I like that we emphasize hands-on learning.”
Mike qualifies, “Typically we spend 40% of the day in the classroom and 60% in the shop.”
Ash adds, “Students can take all of the information and skills to prepare themselves for working in the field. It is gratifying when past students come back to tell you about their work in the industry—you’ve helped them progress. A young person comes to school working part-time as a dishwasher, graduates, and a year later is earning a good living as an HVAC/R professional.”
HVAC/R is a good fit for people who like working with their hands, while solving technical problems.
Mike says, “You have to have patience—not get frustrated when something doesn’t immediately work the way you would expect. You need to think creatively about problems—there’s always a way to solve each one. And you need to have good customer service skills.”
According to Mike, “There is a very high demand for trained HVAC/R Technicians right now.”
“Training for the trades wasn’t encouraged during the last 25 years—high school students were pushed to go to college. Older workers are now retiring and there is a real need for skilled workers. This trade rewards you if you are good at your work. It’s not about how long you’ve been in the industry—it’s about your ability to prove yourself to your employer. Work hard and keep learning and you can have a great career.”
Talking about the Instructor Team, Mike says: “We share camaraderie. There’s no ego here. “
“We bring the best training to students by working together. If a student doesn’t understand something I’ve taught, he can go to Ash to hear it explained in a different way. John helps students put theory taught in the classroom into practice in the shop. One way or another, if students maintain focus on learning, they will get a lot out of the program. We have had a lot of successes.”
Ash agrees that teaching as a team serves students well.
“Students at MTTI have the advantage of a team of teachers who bring their collective experience to train them. They have the reputation of the school to sponsor them for employment. Employers don’t hire everyone who walks in the door; I’ve heard them say they’re willing to give MTTI students a shot because of the school’s reputation. ”
Mike says, “We’re a family; when you are a student at MTTI, we are with you all of the way.”
“MTTI’s program is rigorous—but no one here wants to see you fail. We want you to succeed, get a good job and use your knowledge and skills in the workforce. Even after students graduate, if you haven’t yet been hired, we will continue to help you find employment in a training-related position.“
Ash tells students, “The way the industry is now, you have to go to school.”
“Think about what kind of job you want to do—if you want a hands-on technician career, then MTTI will be a great fit. Our primary concern is that you get a job in the HVAC/R industry—so we want to help you find an internship and get hired. That’s what we are about—Education for Employment.”
What Graduates Say About MTTI's HVAC/R Teaching Team
“MTTI helped me greatly increase confidence in working with tools and with my hands—and find a career. Dedicated, knowledgeable instructors, excellent program. One of my best life choices.”
—Dalton Lyons, 2019 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
HVAC Tech, New England Refrigeration & Heating, Wareham, MA
“I just finished the HVAC/R program at MTTI and i could not recommend this school enough. Not only does this school train you to be ready for a real world job in the industry, but they also work very hard to make sure you get employment. I could not be more satisfied with the entire experience. The instructors have extensive experience in the field that they pass along to students; they will bend over backwards to make sure you understand the concepts and they work with everyone, no matter how long it takes. They have many furnaces, air conditioner systems, and refrigeration equipment that we could work on so we got a lot of hands on experience. This is also a very good time to get into the HVAC/R field.”
—Michael Dacus, 2019 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
Facilities Support Tech, Cumberland Farms (Service/Repair/Refrigeration)
“MTTI helped me become a better, stronger person. Our Instructor, Mike, is really knowledgeable and really prepared us for the field we were going into. Great school, great teacher.”
—Pedro Figueroa, 2018 Graduate
HVAC Service Technician R.B. Queern
“MTTI gave me all my skills to make an easy job transition. I highly recommend MTTI and the HVAC/R course. Ash is an amazing, smart Instructor.”
—Mike Lolio, 2019 HVACR/ Technician Graduation
Service Tech at SS Service Corp
"John—You are a great person and teacher. Thanks for helping me through school and always being patient with me while learning. You are a person I will never forget. I really appreciate everything."
—Eli Raposa, 2018 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
Service Tech (Apprentice) at Devaney Energy / Casey's Oil and Propane