Jason Church, lead trainer for The Unico System, began his HVAC career in 1990, working for an HVAC service company. He later served in the Marines, and then returned to the HVAC company. He started and ran his own company for 12 years, after which time he worked for two years as an HVAC instructor at a St. Louis trade school. He joined Unico to provide technician phone support, and training for technicians in using the Unico I-Series outdoor inverter system.
He continues to provide phone support for field technicians, and has revamped Unico’s training center and website.
Unico offers training through in-person visits, online and in the field. Factory training exists for contractors who are just beginning to install The Unico System.
“I highly suggest they come in for training at some point. We review how the products work, and the problems that arise from improper installation, as well as the benefits provided when they’re installed correctly. It’s not a difficult product to install, but it is different from what people are used to,” Church advised.
Church said Unico is staying in step with changing technology but also in changes in how technicians find information and how they learn.
“It’s a totally different mindset today, with the onset of automatic settings and variable speed. It’s very focused on computers, so I cover that in my class, because we use a computer to adjust airflow on our EC blowers. Not only do I explain the basics such as amp draw, refrigerant charge and subcooling, I also get into detail on how to fine tune the machine. I help them understand the importance of adjusting airflow. If the ductwork is not set up correctly, the customer will not get what they paid for,” Church said.
Unico’s online training is modular. Full courses can be found online, for technicians to study on their own time. Most are narrated, with explanations for each section.
Church is designing a app that will take the place of books, and which will eventually be available on a flash drive, which will appeal to younger technicians.
“Older technicians want information on paper. But things are changing, with everything made available on a phone or other mobile device,” he said. “If they’re on the job, they can scan a piece of equipment and learn how to set the dead switches on that circuitboard.
Unico also provides webinars as an effective way to help technicians learn within a question-and-answer format. The most recent webinar offering was provided in June.
“A webinar is the next best thing than being here, and is better than “online training,” because you can get an answer to a question ‘now’ and have a conversation about it,” Church said. “I like the webinar format because I then have a chance to explain something two, three or four times differently, to where someone else can understand it. Oftentimes, someone has a question, but feels like it’s not worth asking, or they are intimidated. This way, I’m sure there are those cases where a question gets answered without having to speak up because, someone else had the same question.”
The UniConcierge Customer Care Center is staffed by three customer relations professionals — Cyndi Bauman, Lee Ann Schuble, and Theresa Carter — who can help provide referrals to local distributors of Unico equipment, navigate HVAC techs to the various training programs offered by the manufacturer, on-board HVAC professionals to the Unico Preferred Contractor program, and update the contractor’s information on Unico’s dealer locator.