By Paul DeGuiseppi, MACS Manager of Service Training
While MACS delivers training classes any time of year, I define our traditional training season as early March through the middle of May. It’s usually within that time frame that we see the highest demand for classes. But for me, this year’s been different, not only concerning time frame but also the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, and happenings at the classes I’ve conducted. It sure has been interesting.
Here are some of my experiences so far this year. I conducted many more classes than this – these are just a few of the memorable highlights (or in the case of May 19 and 20, a lowlight).
Things kicked off on Monday January 3, when I flew to Charlotte, N.C. and that afternoon, and over the following three days, delivered six Section 609 certification training classes at the CSX Railroad training convention.
March 4 and 5 brought students to MACS HQ for our second Mobile A/C Training Boot Camp. We held the first one last October, and my esteemed co-trainer both times was Peter Orlando. Reactions told us that a splendid time was had by all. I did a private Boot Camp on May 6 and 7 for Waste Management. They brought one of their Freightliner roll-offs, and during refrigerant recovery we pulled a crazy amount of oil out of this relatively new truck’s system. We had to assume that somehow, too much was put in during assembly.
On April 27, I went to Bound Brook, N.J. to conduct an all-day, hands-on class at STS Tire’s newly refurbished training center. It was thoroughly enjoyable, as this class was populated with extremely eager students. While I’ve usually found that to be the case at STS, there was just something special about this particular group.
May 19 and 20 were thoroughly not enjoyable. The downhill slide began when I was subjected to the naked scanner and a TSA agent’s fingers deep into my skivvies and a full luggage search at Philly International. Afterwards, the plane pulled onto the tarmac and sat for two hours and 40 minutes before taking off on our one-hour-shorter-than-the-delay flight to Toronto. The setback forced us to cancel the class I was going there to conduct, so I spent a night in Canada for no reason. The following morning, the security line at Pearson probably could have spanned Lake Ontario clear south to Tonawanda. In most aspects, air travel these days is a horrendous experience. I have grown to loathe it.
May 26 and 27 took me to Harleyville, S.C. to conduct a class for the Giant Cement Company. Most everything within the confines of this facility was covered in layers of white dust of varying thicknesses. The condenser on the Deere loader we worked on looked like it had just been chipped out of the concrete at Yankee Stadium along with the Red Sox jersey. Mystifyingly, even with that, on this 96° very humid day, the Deere’s A/C was blowing 45°.
On June 6, I conducted a certification training webinar for the California-based chain Certified Tire. I didn’t mind that we couldn’t start until 9:30 PM eastern, because I did it from my home office, barefoot, and in lounge boxers and a T-shirt.
I drove to Old Forge, Pa. on June 21 to deliver our Mobile A/C Update to about 90 people. The seminar was put on by LKQ/Keystone Automotive, and they did a great job with setup. They rented a tent and huge box fans so they could hold it outdoors. One of their employees is a weekend DJ, and he provided a PA system for me, and tunes before and after class and during break. It was the hot, humid first night of summer, and to me, the event had a carnival vibe. It was another really enjoyable one.
I spent July 11 and 12 at a company called Arcelor Mittal. They’re a rolling mill that reshapes steel slabs into plates. I trained the techs that work on their mobile equipment, which includes the machines used to move the plates around. These monsters are about 15 foot square, and their Red Dot systems are way up top. We used a forklift to raise the R/R/R machine up to reach the service ports, and carried the rest of our tools up a ladder.
The following week, on July 19 and 20, I commuted to Brooklyn to conduct classes for techs that work on vehicles used by the NYPD. I always have fun doing classes in the New York area. The students are different than anywhere else, and this group did not disappoint. Somehow, political correctness seems to have skipped over most of the five boroughs that comprise the city. How refreshing! Plus, when I was leaving, my hosts gave me a cool souvenir, an embroidered NYPD patch specially made to hand out as a token of appreciation.
As I’m writing this in late September, I still have four more classes on my schedule, running into November. It sure has been an interesting and long season.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.