Faculty Appreciation Month – Meet Nathan Hill

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Nathan, 34, from Oklahoma City, is an HVAC instructor at Tulsa Welding School. He has been with the school for about seven months and has worked in the residential HVAC field for about 11 years.

Thanks for your time, Nathan; what did you do before going into HVAC?

I was in the United States Marine Corps. I joined right after high school and served for four, technically five years. I went into heat and air when I came home. 

Thank you for your service. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Well, I wanted to be a chef. It was just a childhood thing though; it came from cooking with my mom! I still cook all the time for friends and family. I enjoy it.

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What made you decide to come into teaching last year?

So, I work two jobs. I work about 85 hours a week. In my second job working for a residential HVAC company, I am the trainer who takes new guys to service calls. I train them, break them in, and send them on their way as service techs. I train all the apprentices for our company, so I figured why not go ahead and make a profession out of it and do that full time too!

What’s your schedule?

So, I teach at TWS from 7:00 AM until Noon, and then I do HVAC calls from Noon until 6:30 PM. Then I come back to school to teach from 6:30 PM to 11:30 PM. I also work about seven hours a day on the weekends.

That is a lot…you must have an understanding family?

Yeah, I work a lot. But it all works out, I’m single with no kids. 

What do you like best about teaching?

When I get a student who doesn’t know anything, I like to see their progress, to see the light bulbs turn on in their head. Does that make sense? I can see them learning, developing, and it makes me feel good. It’s kind of like when you fix an AC or even a squeaky door at your house, it’s a sense of accomplishment. I like knowing that I have taught these people things that they will take with them out into the field, knowledge that they will carry with them for years, forever, and be able to use to improve their own lives.

Tell me something most people don’t know about you.

I have a 2000 Elo rating in chess – most people don’t know that! Elo is a chess rating system that measures the relative strength of a player compared to other players. I play a lot of chess. What else? I’m a huge fight fan. I do play a lot of video games when I get time!

If you could choose to have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would that be?

I’d say an Egyptian pharaoh because I really want to know how they built the pyramids! I’ve never been to Egypt, but I plan on going in October 2025.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for new students just starting out at TWS? 

Ask a lot of questions. One thing I’ve noticed is many new students don’t have any confidence. So, I’d tell them to be confident in themselves and ask a lot of questions. Don’t be shy. A lot of them know what they’re doing, but they just don’t have the confidence, so they’ll stand there and second guess themselves. You know what to do. Just take a deep breath, do it. Let’s go. 

That’s what the instructors are there for, right?

Yeah, we love it. It’s awkward when no one asks questions! It’s like, alright, I don’t believe that I’m that good of a teacher that not one of you has a damn question. Put your hands up! Breath, ask questions, and be confident and we’ll be alright.

You get an unexpected morning off, what would you do?

I’d go play golf. I’ve got my clubs ready right now. As soon as we get done here, I’m going to go play golf actually. It’s perfect golf weather in Tulsa today – 70f, light wind!

You still work in the field every day – what’s your favorite part of the residential HVAC trade?

I like the challenge of it. Just showing up to a job, it’s like, “Alright, here we are. Bring it on.” Because if it was easy, you wouldn’t have any pride in what you do. Residential, commercial, refrigeration – all HVAC work in general, has its own challenges. That’s what I like about this trade. I’ve got a pretty big ego, so I like to think that I’m the best. When I show up, especially to a job that another tech has called me in on, I’m like, “All right, what have we got?” That’s what I enjoy about it. It’s like a puzzle. You’ve got to put the pieces together; you’ve got to figure it out. Then, the next thing you know, the homeowner has AC or heat again, and the puzzle is solved. So, I like the challenge. Bring it on!

If you could tell anyone “Thank you” for helping you become the man you are, who would that be?

I would definitely say my platoon sergeant from the Marine Corps – Ramiro Olguin. He was my high school best friend, but he went into the Marine Corps about a year and a half before me – he was a senior, I was a junior – and he told me all about how great it was. So, he’s the one who got me into the Marine Corps, and he got me into this field when I came home. He said I’m doing Heat & Air, are you interested? I said, “Sure, let’s check it out!”  So, he was my platoon sergeant and my HVAC instructor.

How was taking orders from your best friend in the Marine Corps?

Well, I told him I love his mama, and his mama loves me, so he better be nice! But he wasn’t nice, ever! It’s the Marine Corps! He’s a good man. We visit twice a year. He lives down in Eagle Pass, Texas. He comes up here and I go down there. There’s no friend like an old friend.

Thank you, Nathan for your contributions to TWS!