What Does Training Mean to You?Some professionals take courses for LEED requirements while others sign up to increase their knowledge of propane.
The PERC-sponsored, online continuing-education courses offered through the Propane Training Academy are a convenient and no-cost way for construction pros to train themselves on concepts and practices related to propane systems. Recently, we asked a few of the course takers to tell us what online training means to them.
Kevin Spaulding, the HVAC/Refrigeration Service Manager at H.A. Thompson & Sons, a 113-year-old plumbing company in Bismarck, N.D., took two courses to bone up on his knowledge of propane. "I'm a constant-learner type of guy," says Spaulding, who completed A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems and Community Propane Systems: Economic, Environmentally Responsible Energy Solutions. "We've started working on upgrading some bulk propane plants so I'm trying to gain as much knowledge about propane as I can."
Many people take these courses to satisfy LEED requirements. That was the case with Julia Devine, a LEED AP structural designer with Fanning Howey, an architecture, engineering, and planning firm in Alexandria, Va., that works primarily on schools, libraries, and other community buildings. She took Propane-Enhanced Solar Water Heating. "I'm not sure it applies to what I do on a daily basis, but I thought that I could apply what I learned at home and, perhaps, on a future project," says Devine. "It was a very good course and, even though the subject matter is not in my area, I was still able to understand it perfectly."
Mariam Ameer, a Chicago recycling consultant, took Propane-Enhanced Renewable Energy Systems and Understanding the 2009 IECC Energy Code, Advanced Efficiency Programs, and their Implications for Propane for LEED requirements. She found both courses to be full of good information and loved that neither cost a cent. "Sometimes these [kinds of] courses can be quite expensive, so I appreciated getting an introduction to this topic area without having to pay a high fee," says Ameer. "Plus, having such a uniform, online system was really helpful. It's a very user-friendly site."
Sometimes, people take courses not to satisfy any credentials or broaden their understanding of propane, but to help sell a propane-related product. That was the case with Michelle Sperling, an Inside Sales Representative at Florida Public Utilities in West Palm Beach, Fla. "I sell tankless water heaters but am relatively new to this position," says Sperling, who completed Water Heaters: Retrofitting from Standard Electric to Gas Tankless. "It looked like really good information, and it was. As a front-line employee I'm educating potential customers as much as selling them. They always have a lot of technical questions about how a tankless water heater works. I was educating myself on a particular product in order to sell it."
"Online courses give construction pros an opportunity to really learn about propane applications," says Tracy Burleson, Director of Residential Programs at PERC. "A CEU takes users beyond basic concepts and analyzes the facts and figures that support our claims about propane systems."