Sparky’s Current Events

In News by Virginia Technical Academy

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August 2021
Volume 1, Issue 3

Trade in the High Heels for Steel Toe Boots: Women in the Trades

American women have been making their way into the labor force since WW2, when they went to work in place of the men who had gone off to war. Women’s participation in the labor force increased during the 1960s through the 1980s, but then started to decline in the beginning of the 21st century.

With the current trends and demands in construction trades, the opportunities available to women, and the more equitable pay, maybe it is time for more women to seek a career in the trades! Of course, there has to be an aptitude and desire to work in the trades, just as with any other job. Read more…

Hydrocarbon Refrigerant

So, what is this new refrigerant, R-600a? It is a natural isobutane refrigerant and has been in use around the world for many years. It has only been in use in the U.S. since 2018 but is gaining wider use because of the phaseout of R-134a. R-600a is one of three flammable refrigerants approved for use in household refrigerators/freezers. The other two are R-290 (propane), R-441a (a hydrocarbon blend).

Virginia Technical Academy offers a two-day safety course on hydrocarbon refrigerant with Lokring technology. This course has been available since 2016 and over 150 students have attended to date. VTA is one of only a handful of schools to teach the hydrocarbon refrigerant with Lokring technology class where compression fittings replace brazing.

This course is highly recommended for appliance technicians and light commercial refrigeration technicians. For residential and commercial HVAC, hydrocarbons will be replacing the current refrigerants soon and training will be required by 2023. Read more…

Instructor Highlight ‐ Mike Grow

Early on in his work life, Mike Grow was faced with an opportunity…to stay where he was at, moving furniture and doing deliveries, or transfer to the maintenance department and enter an apprenticeship in either electrical or heating and air conditioning. He chose the apprenticeship in heating and air conditioning and hasn’t looked back. As a youngster, our HVAC instructor liked to tinker around with cars with his father. Mr. Grow had the desire to know how things worked, so he thought a career in heating and air conditioning would suit him well.

Mr. Grow completed his four-year apprenticeship and proceeded to get a job with Damuth, working on commercial equipment and also on building control systems. In the eleven years he was with Damuth, Mr. Grow became more experienced in his work, and decided to start his own HVAC company, B&M Services, LLC. Read more…

Scholarship Raffle Winners!

VTA is pleased to announce the winners of the $1,500 and $2,500 raffle. The drawing was held on July 5, 2021. The winner of the $1,500 prize was T. J. Andrae, who graduated earlier this year from VTA. He donated his prize to Camrron Fowler, who will use his scholarship for Building Maintenance. The winner of the $2,500 prize was Dameon Hargrove, who will also use his scholarship for Building Maintenance. Congratulations!

Want to Learn More?

Read our full August 2021 newsletter here! Or give us a call at (757) 586-5322 to learn more about our hands-on technical training courses.

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