Reflections – Where HVAC Has Taken Me

IMG_0268.jpgBy Mark Padgett
Account Executive / XOi Technologies

I come from a long line of hard-working, blue-collar people that have influenced my upbringing. My dad is a retired firefighter, and my mom is a nursing assistant-turned-entrepreneur – she now runs a senior care center. My extended family consists of carpenters, electricians, and factory workers. From as far back as I can remember, I have witnessed firsthand the hard work and commitment that blue-collar people put into their careers. These folks aren’t the Rockefellers or the Carnegies of the world’s economy, but they are the keepers, protectors, and stewards of it. Imagine a world without electricians, plumbers, police officers, teachers, or HVAC techs. That world would be incredibly dark, dirty, unsafe, uneducated, and uncomfortable.

That aside, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider other career routes throughout high school. There were valid and honorable options open to me via the college or military route, but nothing seemed to engage my imagination and interest as much as a career in the trades. As a senior, it became clear that I wanted a job that would enable me to work both inside and outside, utilize my hands as well as my mind, work on a variety of projects so that I’d never get bored, help people and society in a meaningful way, and that could provide a slew of potential career paths. As it turned out, the HVAC industry provides all that and more.

Two months post-graduation, I started working as a driver for a mechanical contracting company and was immediately hooked. I’ll never forget the first time I stepped foot on a job site, witnessing a RTU crane lift, or watching a journeyman swiftly troubleshoot a complex cooling issue. When done right, HVAC is both an art and a science, and it fascinated me from the start.

From my first day on, I did everything that I could to get exposed to every aspect of the business, knowing this was the kind of workplace in which I wanted to be and thrive in. I swept floors, cut and threaded pipe, loaded trucks, delivered equipment to job sites, and read technical publications during break-time and after work. I talked with sheet metal workers, pipe fitters, service technicians, and office personnel to get a sense for what each one did and the way in which their work contributed to the whole system. At 19-years-old, I started my apprenticeship to become a service technician. Those first couple years were difficult, but I was eager to learn, grow, and master the trade. My colleagues were incredibly talented and willing to teach me. It took time, but I caught on, and after five years, I became a journeyman.

Over the past 15 years in the industry, I have worked as an HVAC service tech, an in-house facilities MEP tech, a facilities maintenance manager, and as a sales rep for a major HVAC manufacturing company. This past summer, I began a career with XOi Technologies, where I get to help MEP companies overcome the skilled trades labor gap. What I have seen over and over again, not only during my time at XOi, but throughout my career as a whole, is that the growing labor shortage is often the driving force behind a multitude of operational inefficiencies within a contractor’s business.

What I appreciate about my role now is that I am able to help people that are in the same position I was once in. Being a tech is a fulfilling job, but it’s sometimes hard to be isolated on a job site without the necessary resources. I remember having to call my service manager to walk me through a no heat call or struggling to explain to a frustrated customer why a shaft and bearings repair is going to cost so much.

The XOi platform empowers technicians of all skill levels to get the job done right the first time and provide an exceptional experience to every customer they service. I’ve seen the impact that this technology has on the businesses that leverage it, and it excites me to be able to support those folks in the field at scale.

My career in the HVAC industry has taken me places that I never thought I’d go. It has given me opportunities to meet some truly amazing people, to work in thrilling environments, and to provide for my family no matter what season of life we’re in. But what I’ve enjoyed and continue to enjoy the most is getting to help people solve their unique problems day after day.

That being said, if anything here has resonated with you and you want to talk or learn more about it, please feel free to reach out to me directly at mpadgett@xoi.io or (615) 270-2237. I’d love to get to know you and see how I can help solve your business or career challenges in the MEP space.

 

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ACCA is a non-profit association serving more than 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the indoor environment and energy services community. Our member firms are the nation's most professional contracting businesses, serving residential and commercial customers in every state. With roots stretching back a century, ACCA was incorporated in its present form nearly 50 years ago. Today, ACCA sets the standards for quality comfort systems, provides leading-edge education for contractors and their employees, and fights for the interests of professional contractors throughout the nation. Learn more about ACCA here.