Sustainably Speaking
Contractors — make sure to sign up for a manufacturer seminar this year!

Contractors — make sure to sign up for a manufacturer seminar this year!

Steve Schmitz reviews the different types of centrifugal pumps, and what pumps should be used in specific applications.

If you are reading my blog, chances are you are a plumbing and/or hydronics contractor, and chances are you have attended some manufacturer seminars regarding technology and products during your career. If you haven’t attended a course in some time, I suggest you make that a priority this year.

I know, I know… there just isn’t enough time in a day! It’s easy to become focused on running a business (if you are an owner) or going on service calls or visiting jobsites (if you are a contractor), not to mention just getting wrapped up in what we all do on a day-to-day basis. Yet, it’s so important to make time to expand your technical knowledge, plus, attending seminars is a great way to network with your peers and exchange ideas, etc.

Just yesterday I was reminded of the benefits of manufacturer courses. I visited the Grundfos Technical Institute, located in Aurora, Ill., to participate in an introductory training session that provided foundational training and information regarding commercial pump products.

What is neat about this seminar is that the first day is all about centrifugal pump theory, pump hydraulics, centrifugal pump types, centrifugal pump components, mechanical seals, etc. This overview of pumps in general is necessary knowledge anyone starting out in the industry or anyone wanting a refreshers course in pumps needs, regardless of the brand of pumps they will be working with.

Steve Schmitz from Grundfos explained to me that the second day of the seminar dives more into the company’s product offerings, which is usually included in all manufacturer seminars. However, the lesson plans were organized and taught in a way that gives participants great knowledge about the pump industry, which is why it’s so important for contractors to make the time to attend such courses. Plus, they will find out about some new products too!

While driving home from the Grundfos Technical Institute yesterday, I remembered what John Barba, who was part of the Mechanical Town Hall panel, had to say about training during this year’s Mechanical Town Hall, which was during the AHR Expo back in January. Barba is director of training and education for Taco Inc., Cranston, R.I.  

Barba pointed out that all manufacturers offer training and application courses and they are most beneficial for contractors to attend.

“When you take training, filter out the sales pitch material and focus on the application, so you have good useful information you can apply,” explained Barba.

After my experience at the Grundfos Technical Institute, I couldn’t agree more with this statement. And even though I realize I only attended Day 1 of the seminar about Grundfos commercial pumps, I learned about pump theory, component, mechanical seals, etc.  This proves a point – that attending training courses is extremely beneficial – you will always walk away with some new knowledge that can be applied.

Back to the topic of time constraints that keep all of us from taking seminar courses, and expanding our knowledge. If you just can’t find anytime at all to get away from the business and your job, you should look into taking courses online. Many of the manufacturers offer e-learning courses too. This way you don’t have to go anywhere, but to your office or home to learn something new.  

For example, Grundfos Ecademy is a digital training tool and information platform, tailored specifically to what your needs are. This training tool offers training videos, downloadable presentations and in-depth articles that a contractor can work through at their own pace. There is also a test at the end of each module, so you can see how much knowledge you are retaining.

Other pump manufacturers offer e-learning, such as Taco and Bell & Gossett. Also, besides learning about pumps, contractors can also take courses from a variety of water heater and pipe manufacturers too.

Just pick the technology you want to learn more about, and I’m sure you will be able to locate a manufacturer that offers courses for you to dive into.    

You may be interested in reading some of my past articles, mentioned above under recommended readings, regarding training opportunities.

If you are a manufacturer reading my blog and would like to be included in my next article about industry training opportunities, please e-mail me at [email protected].

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