One might say that it has been a long climb for Eric Kaiser to make it in the HVAC service business, but in reality it all began with a climb down. Eight years ago, Kaiser was working in the commercial tower industry as a climber/technical specialist when the invitation came from a close friend to join Heuman Heating and Air Conditioning in Sparta, IL.

It was the learning experience he had at this first HVAC-industry job that set the tone for Kaiser to become one of North American Technician Excellence’s (NATE’s) “Top Techs” in 2012.

“The owner was very big on training and knowledge, and he sent me to several of International Service Leadership’s week-long focus courses,” Kaiser says. “He wouldn’t even let me touch a gas furnace by myself until I sat through the National Comfort Institute’s combustion analysis classes.

“I found that I will never know close to everything in this field, and the learning must be continuous,” he adds. “Several online forums, such as HVAC-Talk.com and HVACPROTech.com, have been very instrumental in my ongoing learning, as has the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES). Through these resources I now have friends and colleagues around the country and world in the HVAC field, and continue to learn more every day.”

Today Kaiser holds NATE certifications in air-to-air heat pump service, air conditioning service, gas furnace service, and air distribution service. He is planning to take the hydronics gas test this year. Kaiser sees NATE certification as a benchmark of his knowledge in an industry that — unfortunately — often lacks benchmarks. “Plumbers and electricians are often tested and licensed, but HVAC technicians are not, he says. “That doesn’t make sense to me, so I would love to help play a role in changing the future and creating new higher standards for HVAC technicians.” Kaiser has already begun by previously serving as educational chairman for a local RSES chapter and continues to look for other avenues to help teach others.

If Kaiser sounds confident, it’s because he’s passionate about what he does.

“It’s a challenging industry, but I really enjoy going out and taking good care of customers, making them happy, making them comfortable, and giving them confidence in my company and myself that the job is done properly.”

Read Eric's Tech Tip article in this month's issue.