With a booming agricultural export business in Latin and South America, the need for skilled refrigeration technicians continues to grow. To meet those needs, Carrier Transicold triple-teams training with a dedicated instructor, Andres Catalan, supported by two field service engineers, Jorge Bazan and Jose “Pepe” Alonso.
Industry veterans, Alonso is a former Carrier training instructor and currently serves customers in the northern “cap” of South America, while Bazan handles customer needs in the continent’s “cone.” Catalan is based in Chile, where he previously managed the Carrier Parts Depot before finding his calling as an instructor. The three are fluent in English and Spanish and also have Portuguese language skills.
When it comes to training, the three collaborate to plan each year’s training locations, then work jointly to provide the classroom and hands-on instruction. Additionally, Bazan and Alonso provide countless one-on-one tutorials and educational product demonstrations as part of their ongoing customer support.
ContainerLINE caught up with the trio to discuss the challenges and rewards of training.
CL: How do you support each other on training?
Catalan: The relationship has to be very close, personally and professionally. We spend a lot of time on the road together, as the field service engineers typically support the schools that we teach. They see the every-day issues, and know where they need support from us. So we prepare what they need and make sure to deliver the information to the students taking our courses.
Bazan: I join Andres for scheduled training courses within my region and sometimes outside my territory. We communicate regularly so that we both are up to date with anything happening in the field.
CL: How has training changed over the years?
Alonso:It has evolved tremendously. Our programs have become even more focused for the international schools. The material is presented in the native tongue whenever possible. That’s a credit to the emphasis Carrier has placed on educating customers. And the schools keep evolving because the technology keeps changing.
CL: What are the greatest challenges in teaching reefer technology?
Catalan: To make it interesting to technicians who are not used to classrooms. We need to make sure we reach and engage them in all aspects of the training program. One of the ways we do this is by constantly updating our audio/visual material and adding new information. Also, many in Latin America learn based on recommendations passed on by the older technicians. That information is not always accurate, safe or effective. So we have to change habits and teach the proper ways to service the equipment.
CL: What changes have you seen in the market?
Alonso: A lot of the locations where we trained when I began as a full-time instructor were basically new ports. It’s amazing to see the changes. Ports, like Itajai in Brazil, went from non-existent to the second biggest port in South America in just a few years. San Antonio, Chile, was a village that saw a few reefers per month, and now it’s a massive port with hundreds of reefers per day.
CL: What aspects of training do you most enjoy?
Bazan:Besides the relationship that grows with the students, there are two things that I enjoy most: First to be able to answer questions and solve problems, and second, to learn from the students about the overall field situation and their concerns.
Catalan:The rewarding feeling at the end of each course. You feel that you made a change for the better, and you feel the appreciation from the students. You see the happy faces when they get their diplomas, and you know you did a good job.
CL: What is most important for South American customers to know about Carrier’s training programs?
Catalan: The ultimate goal is to ensure reliability in the field, and to have a well prepared team of technicians servicing our units to keep them operating at peak performance levels, which helps to lower costs for their companies and keeps warranty costs down for Carrier too.
Bazan:The training programs are a “must,” based on the content. Carrier training is the best in the industry … At least, this is what Carrier students say at the end of every class.
Alonso: Technicians who attend a Carrier training program leave equipped with the knowledge and ability to troubleshoot equipment. While we’re always improving, we believe our training is without equal in the industry.
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