At HVAC Comfortech 2010, North American Technician Excellence (NATE) recognized six "Top Techs" who hold multiple NATE certifications. This month, Contracting Business is pleased to introduce you to Tina Coop, service & installation manager, Rockville, MD.

The mechanical side of the HVAC business comes easy to Tina Coop. After all, the service & installation manager for the Rockville, MD location of CroppMetcalfe built her first car when she was 15 years old, with the help of an uncle. In HVAC, Coop has done everything, from parts running to duct cleaning, to dispatching and customer service. Whatever’s needed, she's able and willing.

"The best part of this industry is that you get to go in and talk to people, and help people, right inside their own 'castles,'" she says. "It doesn't matter if their homes are mansions or low-income housing, it's their castle."

Coop holds NATE certifications in gas furnace installation and service, heat pump installation and service, and air conditioning installation and service, and she takes a personal and professional pride in her NATE certifications.

"NATE certification makes you stand out," she says. "This industry really needs certification so that customers know they're dealing with a qualified individual. Coop also counts herself lucky to have been employed at CroppMetcalfe for the past 18 years.

"You go in the field and see shoddy work, and you know people aren't doing it because they love doing shoddy work, they just don't know any better. They've never been trained. That's why I can't say enough about CroppMetcalfe. We have constant training here. We get our techs NATE certified and we make sure they stay NATE certified."

One thing Coop would change about the industry is the number of women who join its ranks. "There's no reason any woman can't get into this industry and be successful in it," she says. "The mechanical side isn't rocket science, and the rest of the job is really all about talking to customers and being sensitive to their needs."