CoolSys Refrigeration Tech Enjoys His Busy and Rewarding Career
You’ve probably heard of “Where’s Waldo?” — but what about “Where’s Derek?”? Though he doesn’t have his own puzzle book series (yet!), Derek Meehan stays just as busy as the fictional Waldo in his role as a service tech 6 — refrigeration for CoolSys.
Most days, you’ll find Derek within a 30-minute radius of his home base in Jacksonville, Florida. But as a specialist in new-store setups, he may be called to a job anywhere in the Southeast U.S. That could mean deeper south into Florida, north into Georgia and South Carolina or west into the Florida panhandle.
His branch’s “bread & butter,” Derek says, is the refrigeration side of major retailers. In Jacksonville, that includes customers like BJ’s Wholesale Club, Trader Joe’s, Target and Publix Super Markets. He also often works with smaller retailers and has done projects for such diverse customers as Jacksonville’s Duval County Public Schools; several naval bases in northern Florida; and Golden Peanut Company in Georgia, one of the largest peanut processors in the country.
“As soon as I’m up in the morning, I’m on the clock,” Derek says. When he’s not specifically working on a new-store setup, his assignments vary widely. “On any given day, I could be dealing with anything from a drain overflow or a water leak to a full-store power outage, where all refrigeration is down,” he says. With big changes in regulations for traditional refrigerants, he has also been involved in retrofitting systems for major retailers, including — most recently — a new transcritical CO2 system for a Publix store in St. Augustine, Florida.
One Door Closes — But a Career Window Opens
When Derek’s attempts to get an early start on an education in engineering and architecture during high school were blocked, adult friends pointed him toward refrigeration. “They recommended it as one of the highest-paying and most rewarding trades,” he says. He has worked with the same company for 20 years — although it has changed names four times during that period, most recently when it was acquired by CoolSys. “I enjoy the trade and the people I work with,” he says. “It’s a very rewarding career.”
Derek is proud to work for CoolSys and appreciates the caring and positive team environment the company inspires. “Everyone I’ve met has been very employee- and family-oriented,” he says. “If I’ve had an emergency and need to pick up my son or spend an extra day with him, it has never been a problem. It’s also great that we can engage with the CEO through email, so it doesn’t seem like the head of the company is that far away from you when you’re in the field.”
The Pathway to a Bright Future
Young men and women looking for a solid future with a reliable company don’t need to look any further than CoolSys, Derek says. He’s especially enthusiastic about the way CoolSys supports its technicians. “We get a company vehicle, gas is paid for and travel time between jobs is paid,” he says. Another big benefit for new techs, Derek says, is that CoolSys provides tools that other a/c companies require their employees to buy on their own.
In terms of education, “our CoolSys University in Brea, California, is amazing,” Derek says. “There are better teachers and equipment there than you will find at any independent a/c school.” However, Derek adds that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for an aspiring HVAC-R tech to attend an outside a/c school for six months to gain some basic skills and make sure they enjoy the work.
Derek highly recommends HVAC-R to young people who are looking for well-paying, stable employment with ample opportunities to move up the career ladder. “There is always going to be work in this career,” he says, declaring it recession-proof. “With HVAC-R as a trade, and with CoolSys in particular, you can have a great, steady career for your entire life.”