In January, Terre Haute, IN became the first city in the United States to specifically adopt North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification as a mechanism for awarding a license to a contractor operating in that city.
Contractors in Terre Haute are now required to have at least one technician NATE-certified and to recertify every five years.
That was a significant milestone for NATE, and the momentum isn’t slowing. In March, International Comfort Products (ICP), LLC Lewisburg, TN, administered 477 NATE certification tests to 230 ICP Technical Service Advisors (TSAs). ICP Technical Service Advisors are factory-trained distributor employees who are designated to provide local technical and troubleshooting support for ICP products.
The 204 core and 273 specialty NATE certification tests were administered at an ICP national TSA meeting held in Biloxi, MS.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Tom Casey Jr. is building a new company with NATE as the foundation. Casey, who was general manager of Climate Engineering when that company was named Contracting Business magazine's 2001 Residential Contractor of the Year, is now president of his family's new firm, Climate Partners. Casey says all employees who deal with the technical side of the business are required to be NATE-certified in all the modules appropriate to their specialty.
"We're working our way through all the specialties for 100% certification across the board," Casey told CB. "That means service technicians will be certified in the core and all six service categories, and the installers, shop people, salesmen, and dispatcher certified in the core and all six installation categories."
Climate Partners, based in Milford, CT, has 20 employees. The company's sales volume in 2004 was $2 million. Lennox is the company's partner in NATE, and administers the training and testing in Climate Partners' facility.
"This will only give us a competitive advantage for a short period of time," Casey admits, "because once we do it and make a splash with it, the other contractors in the area are going to have to do it, too, in order to compete with us. But there's nothing wrong with leading the way."