HVACR Service Technician Career is a Family Choice Career Opportunities in Piping for Transitioning Veterans | Spring/Summer 2018 7 had been in the Navy for five-and-a-half years. He had just graduated from the UA VIP HVACR [heating, ventilation, air- conditioning, and refrigeration] Service Techni- cian program in Norfolk, VA, and had arrived in Austin that day. For Brandon, joining the Navy and becoming an HVACR service technician with a union contractor were both decisions based on his family’s well-being. Healthcare was his number- one motivating factor. Brandon joined the Navy to ensure that his wife, Emily, who suffers from epilepsy and is a cancer survivor would receive good healthcare. Today, Brandon’s family has grown to include his son, Benjamin, who is three years old, and his daughter, Juniper, who is four months old. Healthcare and benefits remain ex- tremely important to Brandon. “I stumbled on the VIP program almost by acci- dent,” Brandon said. “I was told about it by my Navy liaison who was helping me explore transi- tion options. I was floored that I wouldn’t have to pay anything. At the time, I was looking into a cyber security opportunity, but it would have en- tailed an investment of $20,000. I am more of a hands-on type of person, and once I read about the program, I knew it was for me. HVACR service technicians are in high demand. I knew it would be a great career. ere was so much more to it than what I had thought of with the little knowledge I had about residential systems. I would be working on large commercial units that service hospitals, universities, and office buildings—things like that. I talked to my dad, who had worked construction for 30 years, and he said to definitely apply. I got in and learned a lot. We learned more than HVACR. Our instructor talked about pipefitting and plumb- ing and problems he had seen over the years.” Upon graduation, Brandon was immediately hired by Johnson Controls. He is thrilled to be in Texas, because his wife’s family is there, and they are currently living with them to help with the transition. “ere is so much camaraderie at Local 286 in Austin,” Brandon said. “ey treat you like family. I really like that, and it will be great for my kids. e healthcare and pension and the pay scale will truly benefit my family. Every time I see a Johnson Controls truck, I get really excited. I just can’t wait to start.” Brandon Hutton “I stumbled on the VIP program almost by accident. I was told about it by my Navy liaison who was helping me explore transition options. I was floored that I wouldn’t have to pay anything.”