NATE president Rex Boynton (left) with the best HVAC technician in the land, Doug Barnard.


The finals of the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Certified Technician Competition are always a highlight of HVAC Comfortech.

The annual competition showcases the knowledge and skills necessary to install and service today's sophisticated HVACR systems.

This year's finalists were selected based on their scores on the NATE exam. They represent the top scores from a pool of more than 10,000 technicians in the HVACR industry who took the NATE exam in 2005.

Doug Barnard, of Fresno, CA, won the title of Top Tech 2005 following this year's sixth annual competition. He competed against six other finalists in a hands-on, timed competition.

Barnard, a technician with Fresno County (California) Building Maintenance, demonstrated his proficiency by analyzing, diagnosing, and solving heating and cooling problems on HVAC simulators.

Barnard, who has 25 years' experience in the HVAC industry, says NATE certification is important in evaluating technician knowledge. "NATE certification sets the standard for technician competence. Particularly as energy bills continue to climb, it's important for systems to be serviced by technicians who have proven their knowledge of heating and cooling," Barnard says.

Certified Technician Competition sponsors included Lennox Industries, Service Experts/ HVAC Learning Solutions, Penton Media, and Contracting Business magazine. Additional sponsorship was provided by the Eastern Heating & Cooling Council, HVAC.TV, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).