Building on Journeyman Status

HVAC certificate graduate Gordon Ludwick gets the promotion to assistant chief engineer.

Even when things are going well, it sometimes helps to take a moment, take stock and decide how you can take better advantage of your talents. For Gordon Ludwick, his job as a stationary engineer was satisfying, but he knew he wanted more. After a few unsuccessful attempts at securing a promotion, Ludwick asked himself, "What will it take to set me apart from the other people looking for these jobs?"

Finding the Right Fit

What it took was additional training. Happening upon the Certificate Program in HVAC and perusing the curriculum, Ludwick’s curiosity was piqued. In particular, the HVAC Control and Energy Management Systems course seemed like the perfect first step. Ludwick’s on-the-job experience with controls and automated energy-management systems in a high-rise building gave him the confidence to delve deeper into the subject. Embracing his quest for additional knowledge were his instructors, whom Ludwick describes as "some of the most elite design engineers in the industry." Throughout the course—and supported by his own hands-on explorations—Ludwick developed a comprehensive understanding of controls and automated system design by carefully reviewing case studies and examining the theories of system architecture.

Gauging What Needs to Be Done

Having expert teachers and competitive classmates can be exhilarating, but it can also be a bit intimidating. When Ludwick surveyed his classmates’ experience and skills, he had a moment of doubt—particularly in the System Load Calculations and Psychrometry course. “The teacher, Andrew Ostrowski, asked the class to raise their hands if they had designed a pharmaceutical lab,” Ludwick remembers. “Many people raised their hands, and I was impressed but also a little intimidated. I looked around and saw this as an opportunity to go further in a different direction than I had experienced in my career training.

“I have known about air-balancing and psychrometrics for my whole career as an engineer, but it never really clicked all the way,” Ludwick continues. “After this class began, I immersed myself and had all of the resources in front of me. I was able to brush up on my math skills quickly, get into the formulas and understand the physics from a functional perspective. I remember really pushing myself to study extra hard for this class—and it paid off: I was over the moon when I received an A+ on my midterm. I thought back to the first day when I had felt a bit out of place, and here I was sitting at the top of the class. Do I use psychrometry and air-balancing? You bet, and I am able to connect it with other disciplines such as sizing boilers and chillers from the calculations and formulas I have learned.”

45 Fremont Street, Shorenstein Properties

The Proceeds of Persistence

Today, Ludwick is assistant chief engineer at 45 Fremont St. for Shorenstein Realty Services/ABLE Engineering. And he thanks the certificate for helping him get there. Case in point: While he was applying for this position, the engineering managers were aware that he had earned the certificate and held it in high esteem. “Based on the knowledge I have gained through this certificate and my past experience and ability, I was on a different level as a prospective candidate,” Ludwick enthuses. “I got the promotion and am quite content as it is challenging and stimulating.”