ClimateMaster sources report that the company's inaugural “GeoFarm” event in rural Indiana was a huge success.

GeoFarm is a hands-on, multi-station outdoor workshop and training arena for geothermal contractors. Held August 30, GeoFarm’11 drew more than 120 geothermal professionals from across the Northeast and Midwest regions.

The event began on a mountaintop overlooking the Ohio River. Attendees started each day with three one-hour work stations while being moved about on mobile hay bales. The work stations that included:

  • “Pond loop installations” with Sean Hogan, a ClimateMaster training expert
  • “Tranquility 22 Digital Series” with Mike Hammond, also a ClimateMaster trainer, where contractors got a working demonstration of the manufacturer’s latest technology
  • “Unit setup and performance” with Richard Hiles, ClimateMaster’s residential district region manager
  • “Horizontal loop & pipe heat fusion” with Joe Fish, residential district manager
  • “GeoDesigner software” with Rich Gibson, district manager for ClimateMaster
  • “Vertical Drilling” with Dave Pergel, a ClimateMaster applications engineer.

Tom Gray, commercial projects designer for Central Carolina Air Conditioning based in Greensboro, NC said, “GeoFarm offers a great experience through hands-on learning. Everything is in one place and it’s a fun, friendly environment. We fused pipe, jumped into a trench and sunk a prefabricated pond loop.”

“The instructors were all great,” commented Luke Weiden from Tonica, IL-based Town & Country Services. “They were entertaining, insightful, and had no trouble holding anyone’s attention.” Dave Esoldo agrees.

“The trainers provided valuable experience for contractors. It’s how they taught that makes such a big impact.” Esoldo is product-marketing manager at HVAC Distributors in Mt. Joy, PA. Attending GeoFarm with him were three of his customers from Total Heating & Cooling Inc. based in Harrisburg, PA. Foreman of that company, Keith Rummel, said “There’s nothing like GeoFarm. The atmosphere is incredible; it’s away from all distractions. We gained a lot of knowledge from each station. Geo is really happening in Pennsylvania and we’re in the thick of it.”

Rummel said their firm wants to keep employees sharp because geo has risen to become 85 percent of their total business. Many of their calls are to fix existing geo thermal jobs-gone-wrong by other installers.

“Our customers have learned that we’ve worked hard to develop geo skills and expertise.” John Bailey, ClimateMaster’s senior vice president of sales and marketing said, “The goal of GeoFarm is chiefly to let dealers who aren’t actively involved in geo get hands-on, visual introductions.”

“In order to sell geo, professionals need to develop a comfort level with it, and that’s what we provide,” added Fish, who coordinated many of the day’s events. “Once a person goes through the training sessions we offer, they’ll never forget it.”

“GeoFarm is a rewarding opportunity that can only help an installers’ performance and knowledge in the geo world,” added Esoldo.

“The experience and the rewards just get better and better.” ClimateMaster’s Residential Marketing Director, Raj Hiremath concluded, “At GeoFarm, the attendees learn intuitively. I believe that trade professionals learn more when training is offered in a hands-on setting. We’ve done our best to make it memorable.”

ClimateMaster sponsored an equally successful "GeoDay" during HVACR Week/HVAC Comfortech in Indianapolis, on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Watch Contracting Business.com for news on that event in our November show review.