Geek Corner: Interview with Appolo Tech Brian Hartman

Our staff here at Appolo Heating is a group of truly exceptional, skilled and thoughtful individuals, which is exactly why we want our customers to get to know them a little bit more. In the first in our series of interviews, we spoke to Appolo tech Brian Hartman about what life on (and off) the job looks like.

Hey Brian! Let’s jump right into the questions. First things first: how long have you been working in HVAC?

I’ve been at it for 22 years. I have an uncle who was a union plumber, and my father and my uncle always noted that I really loved working with my hands, and that sort of planted the seed in my head that a career was something that I could not only excel at but also enjoy. 22 years later and here I am!

So it was your dad and brother who got you into HVAC more or less?

I would say so! They were the ones who encouraged me early on. I kind of had trouble focusing in school and doing schoolwork, so it seemed natural that I would move toward something that was a little more active. I went into the HVAC program at HVCC, which gave me a ton of practical knowledge on what it was like to actually work in the field. Back then I was using my hands more than my brain. The funny thing is that now, I’m actually using my brain more than my hands. Things kind of came full circle!

On that point about HVAC training–how have things changed in the industry since you were first training?

Back when I first started things were pretty straightforward. In the years since things have definitely gotten a bit more…complicated. Nowadays you see a lot more safeties, a lot more control boards, and a lot more troubleshooting. Because there has been such an emphasis put on efficiency as HVAC technology has changed, things are certainly more complicated than they used to be. In my eyes, things have almost become overly complicated, but I can tell you the techs that go out and make fixes for our customers have a ton of skill; I’d say you almost need an engineering degree level of knowledge to work on some of those modern appliances.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

It’s definitely interacting with different customers and getting to see people from all walks of life. I also love traveling locally, which this job definitely provides. In one day I can go from Schenectady to Troy to Albany, and that’s something I really appreciate about the job. I’m also a big fan of being able to teach and guide some of the new techs! It can be an intimidating job at first, and being able to sort of guide the newbies and alleviate a little of that stress through teaching is something I love to do.

What’s the hardest part of the job?

I’d say the hardest part is being on call. We’re on call 24/7 so there have definitely been some late nights where someone is having some kind of serious issue at 2 AM and I’ve had to get up and go. That does get easier once you get used to it and learn more, though.

At the same time, there’s something sort of great about it too, because you know that when you’re helping a customer who’s having an HVAC crisis, the gratitude that they have for that help makes it worth it. It’s a good feeling to help someone get through a tough situation. In a way even the hardest part of the job has a pretty nice payoff.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I have a wife and 2 kids who are 10 and 2 years old, so I like spending as much time with them as I can. Also hanging out with friends, that kind of stuff I really enjoy. I’m also a pretty big sports fan, specifically football and baseball. I’m a Jets and Mets fan so that can be…rough. But I love both sports so when those are going on I like to watch them. Aside from that, traveling is something I really enjoy, so family vacations are always a good time!

Ok, last one. In one word, how would you describe Appolo?

If I could describe Appolo in one word, it would definitely be “family”. I truly believe that we treat everyone here as family, and it’s one of the things I love about working here.

Additional Resources