Military Veteran Leaves Oilfield and Starts New Career in HVAC

Eric Phillips said being laid off from his job in the oilfields in the spring of 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic was probably the best thing that could have happened to him.

“I graduated from Stanton High School in 2007 and went straight into the Marine Corps,” Phillips explained. “When I was in the Marines, I worked in supply and logistics for four years at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. When I was discharged from the Marines in 2012, I came back out west from Texas and got a job in the oil and gas industry, where I was employed for eight years – first for Key Energy, then for Great Plains Drilling.

Phillips said when he was laid off he was ready for a change and tired of the cyclical employment trend in the energy industry.

“My cousin is an electrician,” he said. “He makes a decent living and is not at the mercy of the oil field, so I did some research to see what opportunities there were in the same direction. That’s when I found out about the technology program air conditioning, heating and refrigeration at Midland College.

Phillips began taking classes in the program in January 2021 and within a year had earned a Level 1 certificate. The following month, January 2022, Bosworth Company hired Phillips as a residential HVAC technician-in-training. He continues to take classes at Midland College in the evenings for an Associate of Applied Science degree, which he is on course to graduate in December.

“My mother passed away last March,” he said. “She was my motivation to get a degree and pursue a career in HVAC.

“Bosworth is a great employer. They have an excellent reputation and were the company I always called when I had air conditioning or heating problems. So after getting my certificate last year, I decided to apply to Bosworth and was immediately hired. I don’t think they would have given me an interview if I hadn’t gotten a certificate from Midland College. Even if I had to sacrifice my evenings to attend classes, in the end it will be worth it. I really like the work I do. »

The demand for air conditioning and heating technicians is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for HVAC technicians is expected to increase 15% through 2026, representing 48,800 new job openings. Additionally, the increased complexity of residential and commercial air conditioning and heating systems will create more employment opportunities for the service. Environmental concerns and new government regulations will require replacement of older units that are no longer compliant.

“Technology is constantly changing,” Phillips said. “That’s one thing I love about HVAC work. I like to learn new technologies in order to stay one step ahead. Fortunately, when I graduate from Midland College, Bosworth continues to provide professional development opportunities to help its technicians keep up to date with the latest technological advancements.

Phillips will continue to be a technician in training for Bosworth until March, when he will be promoted to technician. He is currently working and making calls with another technician, Levi Garcia, also a graduate of Midland College’s HVAC program.

“Several of us at Bosworth were educated at Midland College,” Phillips said. Jaroy Roberts [Midland College’s lead faculty member for the HVAC program] is an excellent instructor. He really knows the industry and the technology. I learned a lot from him which helps me in my job at Bosworth.

Phillips lives in Midland and has two children – son Diesel, who is 10 and in fifth grade at Fannin Elementary School, and daughter Ava, who is 13 and in eighth grade at Goddard Junior High School. In his spare time he enjoys watching movies with his children and riding and working on motorcycles.

Rebecca Bell is the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Midland College

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