Peter Schwartz, the new president/CEO of North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is thinking big, as he settles in to his post as the leader of the technician certification organization.

In a November 10th keynote address to the annual meeting of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) in Tucson, AZ, Schwartz said NATE will engage in a series of marketing initiatives to expand awareness and importance of HVACR technician certification across the U.S. He also pledged to maintain uncompromising work and ethical standards, and to give his full commitment to NATE’s purpose, core values, and goals.

'Certification of HVACR technicians will evolve
to become a mainstream requisite and
competitive edge in the marketplace.'

“Every person on a team is critical to its success. We’ll work to facilitate an environment and culture that breeds opportunities for everyone to evolve. We’ll help develop more competent, proactive professionals,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz — who comes to NATE after a long career as an association executive — wants to make NATE “easier to do business with,” by improving upon administrative tools and resources, and by finding ways to standardize and simplify NATE certification exams. Those steps will include increased online testing capabilities, and increased use of the Internet to help technicians prepare for and acquire certification and recertification.

“We want NATE to be more customer driven, with high touch, personalized service,” Schwartz said. “We want to become a safe harbor for our certification candidates, and support technicians in their professional development, by making certification and recertification less intimidating and more user friendly.”

The HVACR industry faces a severe shortage of qualified technicians, which Schwartz says has placed NATE at a crossroads in its evolution. He said the organization has done an exemplary job of solidifying its base of NATE-certified technicians, with solid buy-in at all levels. Now, however, with an increased emphasis in the industry on sustainability and energy conservation, he said NATE is in a unique position to assume a standard-setting role.

Schwartz said he wants to improve upon the NATE brand, to fuel an increase in the number of certified HVACR technicians. Those plans include a value-added strategy, and pull-through marketing campaigns to increase NATE brand awareness. That strategy will include electronic marketing, an increased presence at industry trade shows, and increased direct marketing to HVACR contractors, manufacturers, and distributors.

Marketing Support, Inc., Chicago, IL, has been retained to redesign the NATE website, and provide assistance with developing a new advertising and public relations campaigns.

“We’re going to explore more print, electronic, and broadcast media campaigns, to highlight our media message,” Schwartz said. “The NATE consumer website needs to be a destination site related to HVAC system energy efficiency, and should highlight NATE-certified installers as the best of the breed in the marketplace. Schwartz said he wants to leverage the collective efforts of a united HVACR industry.

According to Schwartz, HVACR contractors need to know the financial benefits of investing in certification. “Technicians need to see NATE certification as a rung on the ladder to financial success,” he said.

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"Serving NATE and the HVACR industry will be one of the most engaging and rewarding assignments of my life," Schwartz said.


"I’m thoroughly excited about future for NATE. I believe that through our collective efforts, certification of HVACR professional technicians will evolve to a become a mainstream requisite and competitive edge in the marketplace."

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