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Ex-chef cooks up new career in HVAC

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Rob Mott

For Rob Mott, his life had been a cruise until Sept. 11, 2001. That’s when his job as a lead chef on the Louisiana-based cruise liner "Delta Queen" was terminated due to the downturn in the cruise ship industry in New Orleans and worldwide.

"Sept. 11 happened and it hit our industry hard," Mott recalled. "I had nothing to back me up."

But now, Mott, 40, has plenty backing him up. He found a whole new life since returning to his native Portland and discovering Portland Community College’s Facilities Maintenance Technology program. He started by getting valuable math and computer instruction through the Skill Center at the Cascade Campus, and then found the HVAC lab next door.

"It was a good thing," Mott said. "It was a good idea to come to PCC because it has helped me upgrade my skills and I’ve learned a lot. The instructors at PCC are phenomenal. If you say you don’t know, they’ll spend extra time and show you personally until you do."

Facilities Maintenance Technology offers an associate’s degree, and one-year and 11-week employment skills training certificates. The facilities maintenance technician installs, maintains and repairs HVAC/R (heating, venting, air conditioning and refrigeration) and other equipment and systems where environmental quality is essential. They work in the semiconductor industry, large health care facilities and other heavy industry organizations.

The hands-on approach has helped Mott understand his coursework better. Besides a team of instructors with more than 40 years of real-world experience in the field, the PCC program features state-of-the-art HVAC systems that are available for students to take apart and put back together.

Rob Mott"When they show you how something works and then I get to do it myself, it makes all the difference in the world," Mott said. "In the workforce you have to know what to do. If you know what kind of tool to use in a certain situation it makes a difference."

And that’s why Mott is having the time of his life in the Facilities Maintenance Technology program. With small classes, state-of-the-art labs, and instructors and staff that care about the success of their students, the program is a "can’t-miss," according to Mott.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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