A.O. Smith University’s campus is uniquely designed with multiple classrooms that provide examples of properly installed units and the history of water heater development. A.O. Smith staff provides in-course demos and teaches technicians exactly how to troubleshoot their units. We typically send all technicians who have not received said training prior to hire and/or do not have experience with commercial units or boilers. Technicians are sent to Ashland City for a week’s worth of training which they are then able to deploy in their respective areas. Ryan, one of our Wisconsin-based technicians, attended A.O. Smith University last week to prepare him for upcoming work on commercial units in the Wisconsin Dells area. A.O. Smith provides state of the art training workshops which have been developed thanks their historical experience as innovative leaders in the production industry, of which Ryan noted: “The atmosphere was very welcoming to learn in.” There are various stations inside the facility which demonstrate the growth of water heaters from 1950 to the present.
Brief History of A.O. Smith
A.O. Smith Corporation was originally founded 1874 by Charles Jeremiah Smith as a hardware manufacturing company, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1936, A.O. Smith patented their glass-lined water heaters and expanded production of residential and commercial units until World War II. During the war, the company began producing bomb casings, aircraft propellers, landing gear, and other materials. In 1948, the company began their journey with coil-type “instantaneous” water heaters (an example of a modern unit’s interior coil system is pictured on the right; image credit: Tech Jack at A.O. Smith University last August). Since then, A.O. Smith has worked with various companies (both across the United States and worldwide), beginning with its official push to focus on water technologies in 2010. A.O. Smith has since acquired Lochinvar (water heater and boiler manufacturer), Aquasana (producer of water treatment products), and Hague (producer of water softeners). In addition, A.O. Smith has also become the primary supplier of residential water heaters for Lowe’s home improvement stores. More details about their history can be found on their website.
With over over 140 years of business experience, A.O. Smith has set the standard for excellence around the world; we have had the privilege of working with them heavily within the last six months to provide service and install various units, as an official warranty service provider.
A.O. Smith University | The Takeaways
Our technician, Ryan, recently attended A.O. Smith University to receive his commercial water heater and boiler start-up certification. The university does have various online resources, but their hands-on operational lab takes our technicians’ skills to the next level. Ryan, like our other technicians, attended the 4-day Full Product Line Workshop, followed by the 1-day Boiler Startup Training. In regard to these hands-on training sessions, Ryan was very happy to learn in this style: “The instructor were very knowledgable, and it was nice to be able to get hands on all these heaters. Refreshing skills and having any questions answered on the spot [was] helpful as well.” The training covers various units, from residential to commercial and tankless. Attendees also have the opportunity to tour the A.O. Smith factory. Ryan was invited to stay for the 1-day Boiler Startup Training which provides hands-on training for Genesis, VF, and XP Plus boilers. These boilers models are well-known for their attempts to be as thermal efficient as possible (Genesis units with up to 85% efficiency and XP Plus models with up to 98% in low temperature applications). One of the most interesting things Ryan learned “was how the reverse plumbing works with multiple tankless units running on the same system.”
As a result of this training, Ryan will officially be able to confidently takeover water heater services far beyond the Camp Douglas area, alongside Waukesha-based tech, Kevin. He said that this training opportunity: “has brought more confidence to [his] tech skills for the commercial application. The class has also given [him] a greater understanding of A.O. Smith tankless heaters.” In terms of service, Ryan’s “main goal is to be as knowledgeable as [he] can be to supply the best customer service possible. [He does not] give service [that he] does not want to receive. The folks at A.O. Smith were great, and their striving for quality stands out.”
U.S. Water Heating Solutions is proud to have an established relationship with A.O. Smith and we are working to continue educating our technicians, thanks to these amazing training opportunities (which have even included a local on-the-job training!). As for our Wisconsin technicians, they are both looking forward to providing optimum service. Ryan continues to provide top of the line service and in addition to thanking A.O. Smith, he also wanted to thank our President for investing in his education and continuing to help him grow his commercial skills.