Graduate is a ‘Turnaround Expert’
Posted: December 20, 2012
An MHCC graduate uses his education to turn the recession of 2008 into success in a growing new field.
Jeff Catlin is nothing if not versatile.
In three decades of work experience, he’s held 22 jobs with 16 different companies. Takeovers, buyouts, layoffs—all have kept this U.S. Navy veteran learning new skills and managing to stay positive. He’s owned businesses as well, and the sale of his combination brewpub/computer store (an interesting way to improve the user experience!) in 2002 led him to MHCC to improve the math and writing skills he knew would be needed in the next phase of his career.
Down Economy Pushes Him to Seek New Career
Using what he learned about market signals in his MHCC economics class, Catlin saw trouble coming, and began to think about what to do next. He was doing well in sales with a major appliance manufacturer, but that industry depended on housing, and he could feel the bubble bursting. Soon after, he found himself pushing 50 and jobless.
He had been involved with energy conservation at his company, so he decided to retrain as a certified home energy auditor (the consultants who inspect and assess homes and businesses for energy use and efficiency, then design plans for improvement). Catlin quickly hit a Catch-22.
“You just couldn’t get certification training unless you already had a job in the industry,” he recalls. “The training agencies told me they wished they knew of an independent training source for people who wanted to get into the business.”
A bit of energy was efficiently used when the light bulb came on for Catlin. “I didn’t really want to start another business,” he says, “because I knew how hard it was. But I realized I had to move quickly.”
Receives Help from MHCC’s Small Business Development Center
Catlin got help from the Small Business Development Center and sent his business plan to the president of MHCC, who passed it on to WorkSource Oregon, the agency that eventually gave Catlin his first training contract. Demand was great, and his business, Energy Conservation Training Company (ECONTC), grew rapidly. So rapidly, in fact, his company was purchased by Applied Proactive Technologies just 18 months later.
Today, Catlin serves as director of education services at ECONTC which has guided more than 900 trainees to more than 1,200 professional certifications since 2009. The company is one of the real leaders in the industry and serves as MHCC’s training partner for building performance classes. MHCC utilizes ECONTC’s experts and facilities to offer Building Analyst & Envelope Professional (a dual certification through the Building Performance Institute), Weatherization Technician, Performance Tested Comfort Systems, and Heating Professional.
“MHCC is fortunate to have access to the ECONTC training center for our classes,” says Jarrod Hogue, manager of the college’s Workforce and Continuing Education department. “WorkSource Oregon often provides grant money to help dislocated workers pay for re-training.”
“Virtually every student we’ve trained is working in the industry,” says Catlin. And none of this would have happened without MHCC. Without my MHCC education I couldn’t have achieved the reboot I have - it’s a cliché to say that it was life-changing, but that’s exactly what it was. I’m very lucky - and going to MHCC was one of the luckiest things I ever did.”
For more information on training for the fast-growing energy efficiency industry, call 503-491-7235.