Maynard, 60, born and raised in El Paso, Texas, is an HVAC Instructor at RSI, currently teaching Phase 8 – Advanced Troubleshooting. Maynard joined RSI in spring 2020 and has been in the HVAC field over 30 years.
Thanks for your time, Maynard. Tell us a little about your background and experience?
I was 17 years old when I joined the service. I wanted to get out of the situation I was in, so I joined the United States Air Force. The military gave me a very, very good education in electronics that really paved the way for me for the rest of my life. I worked on aircraft while I was in the Air Force. After four years I got out and did as much as much work as I could in the maintenance field. Eventually, I got a job at Honeywell as an electrician working on aircraft. I was really fortunate. I got to work on the Discovery space shuttle at Cape Canaveral in Florida which was pretty exciting, and I got to work on F-16 aircraft. But I was part of a rover team, and that required a lot of traveling. I didn’t want to do that job for a long time.
Working on the space shuttle looks cool on a résumé, though. What did you do next?
I went to a refrigeration school in El Paso. After I graduated, I moved and did maintenance work at a hospital in California. Then I got a job at Thrifty Drugs [a chain similar to CVS]. I did a bit of everything: air conditioning, refrigeration, anything to do with maintenance. I did that for a while. I got laid off when they sold to a company called Payless. I moved back to El Paso and worked for a great refrigeration company. After they sold to Honeywell and got rid of my department, I moved to Arizona a little over 15 years ago. I continued working in air conditioning and refrigeration until my knees gave out!
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Sounds like you’ve done a little of everything in the field.
I did, but I’d say 80% of my work was commercial. I was very fortunate to be able to delve into a little of everything really, which made for an interesting career. I really enjoyed it.
Other than your knees giving out, why did you decide to go into teaching?
Honestly, I really felt like I could make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. I’d never done any formal teaching, but I did have the opportunity to do a lot of training over the years, on the job, the same way I was trained to do a lot of things. So, teaching kind of just fell into place. It comes fairly natural to me.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I never truly had anything specific I wanted to do. This may sound corny, but just because of the way I was raised, all I wanted to do was grow up, find a good job, have a family and be a good provider. I never specifically wanted to be a policeman or a fireman, I just wanted to let life pave itself for me. I was named after an uncle, my name’s sake Maynard, and he went to refrigeration school. Maybe that’s what caught my eye and why I took the path I did. Fortunately, it worked out really well for me.
What do you enjoy best about teaching at RSI?
Like I said, I do it because I really feel like I can make a difference. I like sharing my personal experiences of the business and the experiences I had with customers, I really like sharing that information with students, to give them a truly realistic view of what it really is like out there. If I can share tips or insights from my experience that could help them avoid the mistakes I made, it all helps.
Why did you choose to come to RSI?
A friend of mine, John Horn, is an instructor here. He asked me if I’d be interested in teaching. John’s a great guy. He is really passionate about teaching.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
I don’t want this to be corny and I don’t ever preach, but I have a very clear understanding of what it is to have God in your life. It’s very important to me. I think it helps guide you. I think it helps keep you focused. It helps you keep things in perspective, and you learn how to deal with people in a better way. To me that’s the most important thing, everything else kind of comes hand in hand. That’s just the way I feel!
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
This one is dear to my heart. A couple of days after my dad passed away about 15 years ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to me in a dream with a very peaceful message. It was an amazing experience for me. Although it was a dream, it was very powerful, and I’ll never forget it. It had a lot to do with changing my life in some ways. I would love to be able to have a conversation with her.
Tell us about your family Maynard.
My wife, Irene, and I have been married for a little over 34 years. We have a son and a daughter. Of course, I’m biased because they’re my kids but they are very good kids. Each of them has given us one grandson each. Oh my gosh, having kids is one thing, but having grandkids is particularly special! It’s amazing. I just wish everybody could live long enough to be able to experience being a grandparent!
If money were no object, what would you do with your time?
If I had enough money, I would donate money and time to help orphanages, just to help others. Until you’ve gone through some sort of tragedy, or certain types of experiences or rough times in life, I don’t think people understand. Sometimes those experiences take a lifetime of healing. There are always people that need some kind of help or assistance. I’d be really happy if I were able to do that.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to new students considering RSI?
Just like life, relationships, marriage, etc. the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. There’s really no way of sugar coating something like that. That’s the way I really feel. If you really apply yourself like you should, you will get a lot more out of this school. Success just goes hand in hand with how much you apply yourself. There’s nothing complicated about it. I just feel like that’s what life is all about. The more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it.
You get an unexpected afternoon to yourself, what would you do with that time?
Go fishing. Fishing really relaxes me. I often I carry my fishing poles in the back of my truck. If I see a pond or something, I’ll just stop and throw a line, and relax.
What was your favorite tool in the field?
For me, my meter. Probably 85% of the work you do will involve electrical. Believe it or not, a meter can save your life. It doesn’t lie to you. It tells you whether there’s power, whether there’s current, whether there’s continuity. You need to rely on that meter because it can get very dangerous, very quickly!
What was your favorite part of your time in the field?
Probably my accomplishments, and knowing that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish whatever you need. I was very fortunate to work on a lot of different equipment. I enjoyed that. I never really specialized to a point where I spent my whole career on one thing. I was intrigued by so many different things that I really did enjoy working on chillers, boilers, hot food equipment, everything. I was just happy to be able to do all the different things I did. There’s a huge range of things you can get into in this career.
If you were to tell someone “thank you” for making you the person you are today, who would it be?
Well, there’s been quite a few people, but two men come to mind right away. Men who mentored me during different parts of my career. The way they talked to me, helped me, guided me; it meant more to me than I ever had the opportunity to express to them. These two guys, I believe, should have been doctors, they were so smart. But not only were they smart, they were so loyal, so genuine, and so caring. I just found those traits really unusual in people who were as smart as they were.
The first is a guy named Lloyd, who worked for Thrifty Drugs in California. He took care of all our energy management. I used to call him “the genius.” I would call him just to hear him talk; the way he expressed himself was amazing. The other gentleman was John Anaratone. He was my service manager at a company called ThermoControl in El Paso. A man who was very true to his word. If he told you he was going to do something, he did it. They were truly men if you will.