Sinnce launching their in-house technical training program, Deljo Heating and Cooling has graduated four level-one apprentices in the past six months. We recently caught up with David Ciechanowski, Deljo’s very first NexTech Academy graduate, and Charlie Cotto, Deljo’s NexTech Academy Director, to learn more. In this first installment of a two-part blog series, we’re spotlighting David’s completion of 400+ hours of comprehensive technical training, soft skills development, and hands-on learning. David’s dedication to his studies has earned him his new title – HVAC Maintenance Technician – as well as the respect of his instructor and mentor, Charlie.
A Natural Technician
David grew up admiring the expertise of his grandfather and father, both refrigeration technicians. “They showed me hard work pays off, and that you have to be the best at what you do,” David explained. His family’s influence, paired with his ability to troubleshoot and fix pretty much anything, sparked David’s interest in the HVAC field.
Charlie recalled spotting David’s talents. “As soon as David showed up, I knew he had something special. Not only is he a very nice guy, but he also has a great attitude. He comprehends things quickly and it doesn’t take much to help him understand. He’s one of those gems that when you spot him, you know he’s going to succeed and go big.”
Stepping into His Apprentice Role
With graduation under his belt, David moved to full-time apprentice status, tackling everything from repair and replacement to heating and refrigeration, and he’s gaining experience daily. “I’m rolling right into the field I’ve been training for. I’m still learning, though, and I refer to the NexTech training videos and materials if I’m not familiar with a technical issue. The videos help me with the visual aspect to see how things work, and I continue to complete assessments in the skills lab.”
Charlie confirmed, “Once our students graduate, they’re in the field. Team leads monitor our apprentices’ needs and help identify areas where they may struggle. We meet every Wednesday to talk about soft skills like customer greets and preparation. We’re tuned into their needs and use NexTech to keep them informed and learning.”
As a trainer, Charlie admits he invests a little more time and energy into ambitious students. “You try to focus the most on guys like David because you know the more help he gets, the faster he grows, and the more motivation it gives him to keep getting better – which is what he wants to do.”
David’s Bright Future
In addition to career stability and a rewarding path in the skilled trades, what does the future hold for David? One important piece is continuous learning. “I look forward to advancing my career – especially with Deljo – and learning about the wide variety of HVAC equipment they service,” said David. “I’m studying as much as I can on the equipment I’m not as familiar with, so when I run a call, I can help our customer out the same day. I’m realizing I will never know everything, but I will try to know as much as possible.”
David takes great pride in serving his customers, who rely on him for answers. “I get excited when I hear positive customer feedback after diagnosing problems they’ve had in their house,” David said. “Giving them a solution the same day and fixing their issues is rewarding.”
Outside of work and his studies, David enjoys taking his dogs, Chewy and Axel, to a nearby forest preserve for walks and adventure. He is also a big basketball and football fan and reserves time to hang out with family and friends.