At HVACR Week 2011, North American Technician Excellence (NATE) recognized three "Top Techs" who hold multiple NATE certifications. This month, Contracting Business.com is pleased to introduce you to Rob Mullis, service technician, Love Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., Indianapolis.

As a teenager in the late 1980s, Rob Mullis did something that would warm any parent’s heart: he actually took his mother and father’s advice, and checked out the opportunities available to him in the HVAC industry.

“My first step was to go to ITT Technical Institute to get a good basic knowledge of the industry,” Mullis says. “I came out of there not only with knowledge, but with an eagerness to learn about anything I could get my hands on.”

After a stint working on room units at a local hotel, Mullis landed a job with AAA Heating Services in Indianapolis, where he met two mentors. “I worked with two great technicians/installers, Mark Gentry and Walt Mayfield, who answered any question I could throw at them,” Mullis says. “I got a lot of knowledge and quickly realized how diverse the industry is.”

Mullis passed the RSES heat pump exam, then became interested in controls and went to work for a controls specialist. Next came two years of ordering parts for a large HVAC company. “It was a huge help to understand what it takes to get the right parts, from the right vendor, and also realize that it takes a lot of communication from the initial call of the customer to the time we close out the ticket and complete a service call,” he recalls.

Eager to get back into the field, Mullis joined Love Heating & Air Conditioning in 1998. It was at Love that he learned about NATE. “I found out this was the way to prove to my company and to our customers that I have the knowledge to solve most problems in the HVAC field,” he says. “I started with the heat pump exam and realized this is exactly what it takes to separate myself from others.” He also earned the NATE gas furnace and air distribution certifications.

“I’ve really enjoyed working at Love for the last 14 years,” Mullis adds. “I look forward to the challenges of the future. In a few years I would like to get into management to be able to pass my knowledge on to new technicians/installers to help bridge the gap between existing equipment and the new equipment coming on the market today.”