ACCA/CF Chapter Holds 2021 Apprenticeship Program Graduation Ceremony

The Air Conditioning Contractors Association Central Florida (ACCA/CF) chapter held their 2021 Apprenticeship Program graduation ceremony at the Altamonte Hilton Hotel on May 1, 2021.
Twenty-two apprentices graduated from the 3-year program while thirty-seven students advanced from 2nd year to 3rd year and thirty-two advanced from 1st year to 2nd year.

2020/21 Gary MacLeod Achievement Award recipient Thomas Dunworth with 2020/21 Chris Bright Graduate Apprentice of the Year Award recipient Terrance Tillman
2020/21 Gary MacLeod Achievement Award recipient Thomas Dunworth with 2020/21 Chris Bright Graduate Apprentice of the Year Award recipient Terrance Tillman

Two keynote speakers were featured this year, Orange County Chief Inspector and ACCA/CF instructor Ray Pearce and ACCA/CF 2020 Apprentice of the Year Chris Schulz.

Ray described his career path in the industry, comparing some of the challenges faced by his generation with those of today. One example is the improvements manufacturers have made in protecting the wiring diagrams provided with their units. Another is how the learning curve for installers and technicians has shortened today. “In my day, you would still be crawling around in attics after two years of being in the field. Now, students in my second-year class are doing start-ups and things of that nature.” Ray’s advice to the graduating class and advancers was “Never stop learning. If you run across something you don’t understand, call someone for assistance. One thing you don’t want to do is search YouTube videos for answers while you’re at a jobsite. I hope you continue in your careers and become the leaders of tomorrow. You are the future of air conditioning. Congratulations on your graduation!”

Chris Schulz is an example of someone finding direction in his like by keeping an open mind. ‘Before entering the HVAC industry, I worked in retail sales and security, hating every minute of it,” Chris began. “My father knew how much I hated my job and talked me into attending an ACCA luncheon where I met Brian Hastings, the owner of 4 Seasons AC and Heating. I started my career at 4 Seasons delivering parts to jobsites. I advanced to being a helper on installs and quickly moved up to doing installs. After 8 months in the industry, I moved to the service department and am currently training technicians on properly servicing and troubleshooting systems. Without the fundamentals I learned here I wouldn’t be where I am now. This isn’t just an apprenticeship program, it’s the foundation for a long-term career.”

Apprenticeship Coordinator and instructor Emery Cary followed the speakers at the podium, recognizing the program instructors: Andy Brunkala, Keshay Davis , Tony Duncan, Ellen Logue, John Nazarchyk, Ray Pearce, Don Shehane, Jim Walch, Mark Wesson and Ken Zalk. Don Shehane received a special recognition award for 10 years in the program.

The following students scored the highest grade point averages for their respective classes:
1st year (3 classes): James Puebla, Daniel Copley and Kenneth Ramsey; 2nd year (2 classes): Kelvin Gomez and John King; 3rd year (2 classes): Jorge Cossio and Shawn Jessmore.
Graduate Terrance Tillman was presented the 2020/21 Chris Bright Apprentice of the Year Award. Named after one of the apprenticeship program’s founders, the award recognizes Terrance’s dedication, positive attitude and willingness to do the work to succeed. He also had perfect attendance for all three years of the program. Terrance received a set of Fieldpiece Digital Gauges donated by Johnstone Supply, $200, a certificate and Trophy and $100 for the perfect attendance for 3 years.

The Gary MacLeod Achievement Award, Always Striving for Success, recognizes a graduate who faced numerous challenges yet never stopped his studies, achieving perfect attendance for all three years. 2020/21 Recipient Thomas Dunworth received $100 for the Perfect Attendance for 3 years, a certificate and Trophy.

ACCA/CF Executive Director Paula Huband concluded the ceremony by congratulating the graduates and thanking the instructors and sponsors.  See photos from event here.

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