CoolSys Training Guru Adds Value to Careers in the Trades
“For too long,” says Brett Wetzel, “the trades were looked down upon. It was always, ‘If you want to get a good job, you have to go to college.’” Now as manager of Technical Troubleshooting and Training at CoolSys, Brett has made it his mission to show that the trades hold tremendous value in society and are a great option for a successful, lifelong career.
A level 7 service tech at CoolSys who has worked nearly 20 years in the refrigeration industry, Brett had distinguished himself and demonstrated his talent for training and education even before his promotion into his current position. He was the first employee to receive all five CoolSys Value Coins (earned by nomination for embodying the company’s key values), and he and a colleague gained a worldwide audience with their popular Advanced Refrigeration Podcast. Last year ACHR News, an HVAC-R trade publication, named Brett to its annual Top 40 Under 40 HVAC-R Professionals. Yet his more recent successes are a far cry from his early experience in the industry.
A Defining Moment
Like most people who are passionate about something, Brett’s motivation as an advocate for technical training and education comes from personal experience. “Within three weeks of starting my first job in residential HVAC [not for CoolSys],” Brett says, “my boss told me I was worthless and would never amount to anything. The guy had worked in HVAC for 30 years, so I actually thought he might be right.”
At the time, Brett was in a desperate situation. He was living in his car, and he had maxed out a Home Depot credit card to buy tools for his job. “Now this guy is telling me to get out of the trades,” he recalls. “It was the worst feeling in the world, and I swore to myself that, if I get decent at doing this work, I would never treat anybody the way I was treated.”
That experience lit a fire under Brett, and driven by his natural curiosity, he began to learn more about his craft. He grew in his skill and knowledge and was soon creating his own technical documentation. Brett also discovered an approach to learning that worked for him — an approach he continues to use as he teaches others. “It’s about three-part repetition,” he says. “You see it, you write it down and you listen.” He has also found that infusing humor into his presentations makes learning easier.
The Lifelong Advantages of Continuing Education
Now more than ever, Brett says, HVAC-R techs should be taking advantage of training and education opportunities. “The technology that is driving refrigeration is evolving at a rapid pace,” he says, “so in order to stay up with the times, it’s important for techs to be constantly honing their skillsets.” The hot topics in technology at the moment, he says, include CO2 and the newest case controllers coming onto the market.
Ultimately, Brett says, training and education are all about building a career and a future that can sustain an individual throughout their lifetime. It is a pathway to career growth and increased earning potential. “The more educated people who work in the trades are, the happier they will be in their career,” he says.
The Advanced Refrigeration Podcast is available on YouTube and most major podcast platforms. Also check out Brett’s newest podcast, The Cooler Heads Podcast, which gives listeners insight and tips into navigating life and relationships while working as an HVAC-R tech. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, search for the podcast name in Google or any other search engine to get started.