APPLE VALLEY, MINN. — Uponor hosted a grand opening for its newly remodeled Factory Training Center here. The firm has long had training facilities at its Minnesota headquarters building and factory, but the facility has undergone an extensive remodeling.
Featuring space for two classrooms, the main room has tiered seating, flat screen monitors and modern audio-visual capabilities. Hands-on space includes a controls lab, a hands-on PEX tubing lab where students can practice installing radiant floors, plumbing and combination plumbing/fire sprinkler systems. Ceiling height applications, such as fire sprinklers, in the hand-on areas have been lowered to about 6-1/2-ft. so students don’t need to stand on ladders or scaffolding to practice.
Uponor invited members of the trade press and local dignitaries to the grand opening, as well as Radiant Panel Association Executive Director Ted Lowe. Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland was effusive in her praise of Uponor’s economic contribution to her city. The mayor later participated in a “tubing cutting” ceremony to open the facility. Local contractors, distributors, vendors, manufacturer reps, government officials, building industry leaders and media toured the facility and nibbled on Uponor’s hors d'oeuvres.
As visitors walk in the front door, they’re greeted by a steel I-beam cut out with the words “Strong Products – Strong Partnerships.” The I-beam is suspended from Uponor PEX tubing and fittings.
The facility, located next to the Uponor North American corporate headquarters in Apple Valley, is an 11,000-sq.ft. teaching and learning hub dedicated to educating professionals in the radiant, plumbing and fire sprinkler industries. Now boasting 50% more space, the revamped training center features various new improvements such as stadium seating, a second classroom, a trainee business center, sophisticated audio/visual technology, a hands-on applications lab, enhanced controls learning station, self-serve refreshment area and a new cafeteria.
“When designing the new factory training center, we kept the contractor at the forefront of our minds,” said Steve Lockridge, senior product manager, Channel Marketing at Uponor. “We wanted to offer our business partners a comprehensive training experience that included knowledgeable instructors, the latest technology and hands-on opportunities.”
In addition, the training program also offers an expanded class curriculum to provide attendees with greater access to the most current, up-to-date knowledge in the industry. Taught by senior trainer, Wes Sisco, and customer trainer, Steve Swanson, the factory training courses offer attendees everything they need to know to properly design, install and troubleshoot Uponor systems and applications. Sisco has extensive field experience. He had worked at Uponor, then left to work as a service technician in Florida for several years before returning to Uponor as senior trainer.
Uponor’s training program is part of a long legacy of commitment and support to the building professional. Since 1993, the program has educated more than 100,000 radiant, plumbing and fire safety professionals either at the factory or onsite via local manufacturer representatives.
“We realize the building landscape is changing with the introduction of sustainable new concepts and changes to building codes and standards,” said Sisco. “By offering new and advanced courses to navigate the contractor through existing and emerging technologies, we are making a concerted effort to support the industry professional and improve the building market.”
The training classes typically last for two days. The 2010 expanded course offering includes the following classes:
- Radiant Hydronics and Design (2 Days)
- Advanced Radiant Hydronics and Design (2 Days)
- Advanced Design Suite (1 Day)
- Geothermal Design and Application (2 Days)
- Climate Cŏntrol Network System (2½ Days)
- Climate Controls (2 Days)
- AquaSAFE Levels I and II (2 Days)
- AquaSAFE Level II (1 Day)
Click here for additional information on class details, training dates, and online registration.
Uponor Inc. is a leading supplier of plumbing, fire safety and radiant heating and cooling systems for the residential and commercial building markets in the U.S. The company employs 380 people at its North American headquarters.