Trade Warriors: The DNA of HVAC Training
Maynor Service Company co-owners Brett Chappell and Jake Williamson have been off-and-on partners in the heating and cooling industry for 44 years, starting with Williamson’s dad’s company when they were in their teens.
In 2019, they purchased Maynor Heating and Air Conditioning from Anthony Maynor, who had built a successful HVAC business over the previous 22 years and wanted to focus on his passion for training. And in 2022, the Trane Comfort Specialists became among the earliest participants in Trane’s Trade Warriors program, which provides more than 300 hours of hands-on HVAC training for active-duty service members and current veterans, with the goal of employment as an HVAC service tech or service installer at a Trane dealer.
Building upon Maynor’s stellar reputation in the suburban Raleigh, NC region, Chappell and Williamson have grown the company into three locations, 170 employees, and 108 vehicles. “Anthony was admired and loved by every customer he touched, so we could take that base and expand on it,” Chappell said. “Training is part of our DNA, and as it happens, Anthony is also renowned as a top trainer in the industry—the best I’ve ever seen—so we employ him as our full-time trainer.”
Chappell and Williamson had a long list of people who wanted to work for their expanding business. As they looked into the future, however, they saw an industry that was growing and a service technician base that was shrinking. While trade school graduates were an option, Maynor hinted at an alternative that he was working on behind the scenes.
“He had been working on a government project under strict confidence and said there was something we might be interested in,” Chappell says. “That was Trade Warriors, and once he got to the point where he could talk about it, I was excited. Three of my four kids went the route of serving the country. While that wasn't my path, I knew the value of people who understand discipline, respect, and work ethic.”
In fall of 2022, Maynor Service Company made their first Trade Warriors hires, Michael Nash and Brendon Holloway, and at the beginning of 2023, they brought on a third, Joe Priddy. While Holloway needed to relocate prior to completing his training agreement, Nash and Priddy continue to progress as service technicians. “These guys are top notch, and we get a lot of five-star reviews on them,” Chappell says. “They still have a lot to learn, but I'm OK with that. We can teach people what to do and how to do it, but the things we can't teach them are all the things that the US military helped ingrain in them.”
As one of the premier HVAC companies in the state, Maynor Service Company presents to new Trade Warriors classes at every opportunity. While there may not always be an opening or a perfect match, Chappell is impressed at the quality of the graduates. “You can count on them listening, speaking well, and just being a pleasure to work with,” Chappell says. “They even have great handshakes, which you don’t see as much anymore, so it’s refreshing to see it.”
Trade Warriors: Creating Passion in HVAC Service Techs
“Trade Warriors is valuable for a number of reasons,” Chappell says. “One, the industry is starving for good talent, not just bodies. But the other aspect is that Trane is doing the industry justice by not just helping people learn this trade but giving them some passion for it—that’s what will make them successful.”
From a big-picture perspective, Chappell views the program as a way to help people who have contributed their lives to serving the United States. “Now they're coming back to the civilian world, and they’re counting on us to help them blend in and prosper,” he says. “And that's what we want to do.”