Joe Mello - An MTTI Success Story

Success Stories

Joe Mello

2013 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
HVAC/R Service Apprentice, CARJON Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.

“I feel I’ve made the right decision; I’m on the right path. I felt incredibly well prepared for learning as an entry-level Technician in this industry. I heard the same from the other guys who graduated from the program.”

I came to MTTI after working as a meat cutter. I felt I wasn’t going anywhere. My wife and I were just starting a family. On the same day that I left my job, I learned we had a foster placement and potential adoption of a baby girl. That motivated me to move a little more quickly to train for a new career. My brother had graduated from MTTI’s Automotive Service Technician program; he suggested I take the tour to see how I felt about going back to school.”

Because I’m interested in riding motorcycles and fixing things, I first toured the Motorcycle/Power Equipment program at MTTI. I didn’t know anything about HVAC.

The Admissions Rep toured me through the new HVAC/R program. When I saw the new facilities and I observed how much I’d be working hands-on, I thought, ‘I could learn that’.

My goal was to learn and be successful in a career, while still spending time with my daughter.

While I was enrolled in the HVAC/R Technician program, I was a stay-at-home-dad. Some days, after my daughter kept me up at night, I came to class having had only three hours of sleep. It paid off. Now that I am enjoying a career at CARJON, they like that I am a family man; it keeps me grounded.

 

Learning the trade was difficult, but after months of being on the job, it’s making sense.

I was awarded “Best Notebook” at graduation; my notebook is organized, set up according to tasks. I can look up anything I need—and still do on the job.

When I am challenged in the field, I remember things we did in class—Roland talking from his experience about problems we’d encounter on the job.

For example, after I was hired and riding with a CARJON Technician, we answered a no-heat call. It could have been due to an air draft issue or a motherboard (electrical) problem. I remembered Roland saying in class that one leaf can get sucked in and block the intake. Customers might be charged hundreds of dollars for a new motherboard, yet still have the problem. I suggested to the Tech that we check the intake, and sure enough, a leaf had shut down the system.

Before enrolling in the HVAC/R program I was afraid of heights above 4 or 5 feet. During the first week of class we had OSHA training and learned ladder safety. Fortunately, I’ve overcome the fear of heights—now I routinely help install or repair systems on building rooftops.

Starting school, I was nervous. I became more comfortable during the internship, but didn’t know if I would be hired.

After internship, when I first started the job, I was terrified about making a wrong choice. I had to use what I had learned at school and during internship to figure things out in the field. However, I felt incredibly well prepared for learning in an entry-level position in this industry. I heard the same from the other guys who graduated from the program.

When I speak with students who are currently enrolled in the HVAC/R program, I tell them, “Be honest—if I don’t know what the Technician, who I’m riding with, is talking about, I tell him.

I’ll say, ‘I don’t follow you—can you teach me about that?’ It’s never helpful to be a “hotshot”. I was second in the class, but no one at work knows that. If I don’t know something, I can’t fake it—they would know.

CARJON is a great company to work for.

CARJON is family-oriented. The crew members I worked with during internship were great teachers, and very professional. CARJON’s Technicians really want to make the customer happy. John DiMuccio, the owner, used to go to customers’ houses to make the repairs—CARJON has customers they have serviced for twenty-five years—they must be doing something right!

I progressed from intern, to Service Helper and now I am a Service Apprentice.

During School I passed a National Refrigeration test. Now as an Apprentice I am accruing the 4,000 hours (over about two years) to take the test to License as a HVAC/R Technician.

I needed a trade that I like and in which I could excel—and that financially made it possible for my wife to stay at home with the baby. I’m not nervous anymore. I feel I’ve made the right decision—I’m on the right path.