At 17, I worked in the underground mines of Werner Lake Ontario. Although I worked there for six years it did not take long for me to realize that mining was not my life-long ambition. In 1971, I left the mines and moved to Winnipeg to seeking employment that would help support my family. My brother Donald thought I would make a good oil burner service technician.
I accompanied Don on many service calls on gas and oil furnaces in the early 70s. Many a night, I cursed the HVAC business — the long cold winter nights (-30°C, tired, cold and hungry at 3 or 4 a.m.) driving the streets of Winnipeg to provide a service for $2.00 an hour to customers without heat. The pay was all at straight timeÑno overtime. I know it put food on the table and a roof over our heads, but it was not easy, what an experience! Under DonÕs direction, guidance, Love and patience I entered the HVAC trades as a natural gas/oil burner mechanic.
Working as an oil burner mechanic (two years as required by law), I passed the exams in 1973 and received the Manitoba Department of Labour Oil Burner Trade Licence. Within the next two years, I received my Manitoba Gas Fitters Licence "B" Ticket. These two licences allowed me to be steadily employed throughout the winter heating season, but I needed to find year-round work.
It was then I applied to Red River Community College (RRCC) for the pre-employment course in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, I apprenticed for the next four years, graduating in 1984 with an Interprovincial Journeyman Certificate. The following year, I passed the exam for the Manitoba Department of Labour's Trade Specific Limited Electrical Licence.
Based on my somewhat limited knowledge on hot water and steam boilers, I enrolled in the 4th and 5th class power engineering evening courses at RRCC. I was employed at Accurate Heating and Air Conditioning Co. Ltd. at this time, working indirectly at the Royal Bank of Canada central processing centre as a Building Systems Technician (BST).
It was during this period that I decided to take the Building Owners Managers Association of Manitoba (BOMA) educational courses, and completed the Systems Maintenance Technician (SMT) and Systems Maintenance Administrators (SMA) exams over a five-year period. I highly recommend these courses to anyone considering or already employed in the area of building management.
In July 1987, I commenced work with the Department of National Defence as a Journeyman Refrigeration Air Conditioning Technician, (RM Tech). Within two years I transferred to Air Command Headquarters (now known as 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters) as a building systems technician.
In 1994, I was selected as the Internal Coordinator for the 17 Wing Construction Engineering Social Technical Systems project (four years). During this period, I enrolled in the Human Resource Management program at the University of Manitoba (U of M). I received my certification June 2000. Currently I am enrolled in the Certificate in Adult Continuing Education Course (CACE) at the U of M (excellent courses). I returned to 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarter (1 CAD HQ) as the Building Systems Manager in 1998. Since that time, I have trained several individuals to manage this complex.