Technician: Ernesto “Ernie” Martinez | HVAC/R | Hunton Trane Services | 20+ Years
What brought you into the industry?
My first summer job at 16 years of age in 1992. The very high school I was attending was undergoing an infrastructure upgrade. This included a changeout of chill water piping and air handlers. I’ve never looked back since! It would appear that job has sealed my fate.
What was the first thing you learned on your first day?
Nothing is free. If you want it, go and get it. By that I mean, nothing professionally is handed to you. The costs may be monetary, however, it may come at the price of desire and effort instead. Those costs, regardless of their “currency” are always worth it!
Over your years, what is the most important lesson you have learned?
Trust is key. There are many ways to establish that quality. Communication is probably at the top of the list, with honesty sharing the number 1 spot. That being said, professionalism is necessary to display these critical attributes. When these aspects are put together, the relationship between you and the client, is a successful one.
What advice would you give to a kid just starting out in the industry?
Stick with it! It’s a tough trade, but the rewards definitely outweigh the difficulties. Be hungry. Definitely annoy your mentors with a barrage of inquiries. Your hungry mind is an asset to this industry, and provided your initiative and hunger for knowledge are met with what you need, you’ll be a successful tradesman. There’s a great deal of pride to be had in that title.
Why do you love the trades?
After all these years, at the end of each successful repair, I still feel the same degree of satisfaction I felt on my very first one! That feeling of pride never fades with me.
Not everyone is cut out for other career avenues. I definitely, am not.
The trades allow people like myself to provide excellent service and skill sets to those who need them for their daily operations. It’s a major contribution to society as a whole.
I believe as a whole, the stigma that comes with the trades, in times past has not been a good one. However, knowledge and exposure to what our trades entail has turned things around. There is a definite difference. The reputation of the trades is changing for the better and continues to rise. I believe there’s a lot to be proud of. I can easily say I couldn’t do anything else professionally, with greater pride.