New director of training brings education, entrepreneurial spirit to position

FAIRFAX, Va. – Chris Ruch has joined the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) as director of training.

Ruch, studied education at Sonoma State University in California and taught for two years in the Sacramento City Unified School District before deciding to change careers in 2004.

“I realized that teaching just wouldn’t afford me the ability to comfortably raise a family. I knew I wanted a union job,” Ruch said. “In college, and even in high school, I read and studied labor unions, so I knew what they could offer me. I set out to find the right program for me and eventually applied to the Sheet Metal Workers Local 162 apprenticeship.”

As NEMI director of training, Ruch is tasked with training at the supervisor level. He also is responsible for developing curricula; upgrading current curricula to meet and exceed industry standards; and participating in industry committees to seek out and open new market opportunities for members of SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

As an apprentice, Ruch won first place in the testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) category of the International Apprenticeship Contest during his third year. After completing his apprenticeship, Ruch became a TAB manager/foreman at Airco Mechanical in Sacramento. During his tenure there, he implemented a fire life safety (FLS) program and obtained Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (TABB) certification for the company.

“At Airco, I saw workers being laid off because the work wasn’t there. In an attempt to solve the problem, I started to train our technicians in FLS so the company had a larger scope of work they could perform,” he said.

Ruch created a training program for technicians new to TAB and developed new departments, procedures and marketing for Airco. Ruch also serves as a guest speaker around the country about FLS, dampers, smoke control systems, TAB and new market opportunities. He also has developed training sessions for the Sacramento County Fire Chiefs Association.

“I feel like this is my dream job,” Ruch said. “I have been doing a lot of this on my own for years. Now I get to do what I love, what I am passionate about. I’m energized and excited to move our training forward and continue to grow the NEMI market share.”

The National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) is a not-for-profit organization jointly funded by the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association). NEMIC identifies opportunities, seeking to create or expand employment for SMART members and programs that assist SMACNA contractors.

For more information on emerging market opportunities in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, contact the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) at www.TABBCertified.org call 800-458-6525.

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