In order to compete on the wrestling mat, Zach Whitman knew the training regiment to condition and train himself for his next match. At the same time, the 2021 Checotah High School graduate has been training to prepare himself for life through the HVAC program at Indian Capital Technology Center
With 1,050 hours of classroom training now on his resume, Whitman has mastered all the challenges in his two-year match.
“For me personally it’s been a great experience. I’m getting training for a lifetime of opportunity,” said the Wildcats 132 pound wrestler who has followed in the footsteps of other family members in the HVAC program. “Once you understand how the systems work, it’s learning how to diagnose what’s not working right and then be able to fix it.”
The ICTC program on the Muskogee campus involves students in residential service technician training through electrical and mechanical troubleshooting for gas and electrical systems including heat pumps.
“Our program is hands on, learning by doing,” confirmed David Mabry who has been at the Muskogee campus as the HVAC instructor for 48 years. “Its one third classroom and two-thirds shop time to train our students and prepare them to pass the competency exams required to become a residential HVAC service technician.”
The final nine weeks of the two-year program puts students including Whitman in a professional on the job training experience.
“That’s where the training gets real life,” said Mabry. “Zach has been on the job with Mullin Plumbing to further enhance his training and develop confidence in dealing with customers when in many cases they’re not happy because their system isn’t working properly.”
The OJT experience has put Whitman in the gold medal match.
“You have to be willing to listen to their concerns and let them know I’m there to fix the problem,” said Whitman. “There’s no doubt you learn more through real world situations.”
As Mabry explains customer relations are a must, requiring students to gain the soft skills desired by contractors today.
“As a wrestler, Zach enhanced his competitive efforts to learn the tools of the trade as well as life skills to succeed,” said the veteran instructor who has been at ICTC since 1973. “Completing his on the job training has given him the confidence to handle customers as well as fix their problems.”
Acknowledging that Science and English have been his favorite subjects in the traditional classroom, Whitman would encourage all students to put their talents to work through courses at Indian Capital Technology Center.
“Classes here give you the opportunity to find happiness and success in so many different directions,” said Whitman. “For me, ICTC and HVAC have given me my gold medal to pursue a career that will always be needed.”