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Ulster BOCES Alumni Return to Work With Current Students

Current Ulster BOCES Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) students recently got a glimpse of what their future careers could look like as three Ulster BOCES alumni, who are now HVAC clean heat technicians with the New Paltz-based company Rycor Heating & Cooling, demonstrated the installation of a heating system in the program’s lab.

Career & Technical Center 2021 HVAC graduate Jayden Brown and 2018 Automotive Technology graduate Logan Davis, both from the New Paltz Central School District, along with Kingston resident William Peppers, who completed the Adult Career Education Center’s Oil Heat Technician and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration programs, kicked off the project by talking about the heating unit, related equipment, and the execution of the installation.

Brown worked hands-on with the students, believing it would give them a better understanding of both their book work and their classroom lessons. “The three most important things I wanted them to see were flaring pipes, connecting pipes, and then connecting the condenser,” he explains. “I wanted to touch on multiple points about what they are learning in the classroom. I didn’t want them thinking, ‘Why are we learning this?’”

Brown credits his former teacher, Dave Brannen, with building his confidence by challenging him to try new things. “Mr. Brannen had faith in me,” recalls Brown. “If there was something technical, he would throw me into it.” Brown used the same technique with the HVAC students on the day of the install.

Brown has been with Rycor since he was hired in his junior year to work during his senior year in the Ulster BOCES Capstone work-study program. He says his education was seamless as he moved into the professional environment at Rycor. “I took my experience from what I learned at school and I put it together, so I learned fairly quickly,” he reflects. “I had a grasp on things that someone outside of the field wouldn’t have.”

Rycor Heating & Cooling owner Scott Arnold also completed the Ulster BOCES Adult Career Education HVAC program and received his EPA Universal Certification. He started his business in 2003, and provided the equipment and manpower for the install to help today’s students get a glimpse of the opportunities offered by this particular career path. In addition to giving his workers time for the demonstration, Arnold donated a Mitsubishi Mini Split High Efficiency Heat Pump System. “I wanted them to see three individuals–not one but three–who came from the same environment,” he explains. “I thought that would be very compelling.”

With seven employees who have been educated at the Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center and the Adult Career Education Center, Arnold says he wants to give young people entering the field the chance to experience the trade, and he finds it rewarding to watch them grow professionally.

Besides building on his technical knowledge and mechanical skills, Brown says that he enjoys the fact that Rycor’s professional culture focuses on teamwork and on providing a positive customer experience. “There is such structure there,” he says, explaining that the employees are mindful of the way they dress–and that he is even mindful of the kind of music he listens to outside of work. “If I am wearing company clothes, I am going to be professional in those clothes,” he explains. “Everyone there follows that example, because it all goes back to Scott [Arnold].”