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 Michael Schatzer, an estimator and project foreman with Shapiro & Duncan Mechanical Contractors, Rockville, MD.
Michael Schatzer holds NATE service and installation certifications in air conditioning, air distribution, air-to-air heat pump, gas furnace, oil furnace, hydronics gas and hydronics oil. He was introduced to NATE in 2003 through an Air Conditioning Contractors of America program designed to help prepare technicians for the NATE tests — a program that he eventually ended up teaching in himself.
"Education is key," Schatzer says. "You must stay current, you must be willing to learn. It never stops. You will never know everything there is to know about this field."
Schatzer says he would highly recommend the HVAC industry to anyone looking for an interesting life and a skill set that they can take anywhere. "Getting into this industry is the first step toward a career of your choice," he says. "If you apply yourself, you can decide where you want to go and when. NATE certification is an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge. The NATE tests are tough. You can't bluff your way through them."
Schatzer has a jacket on which he has sewn all the certification patches, and it led to a nice compliment in Georgetown one afternoon.
"I was walking down the street after a meeting about a proposed HVAC mechanical system budget, and [NATE vice president] Pat Murphy's wife saw my jacket. She thought it was great that I took that much pride in my certifications. But I've always thought, 'Hey, I've earned them, I'm going to show them off.'"