Wow what a long journey this has been, getting all the requisite classes in, the certifications, all the while still taking care of our primary remodeling business. While I have blogged extensively about this process and most of the classes – what would happen if I were to compare them side by side? What happens if we put them all in a ring; who would come out on top? Well let’s find out, and in the immortal words of Michael Buffer – “Are you ready to RUMBLE?”
No animals or people were hurt in the making of this article and they were in no way, shape, or form forced to fight each other. While some may protest about the outcome, tough – get your own blog. This is satirical in nature, based on my own experience & designed to help others learn about the different classes, teaching styles, or maybe even use it to improve their training systems.
And in this corner:
- The Snell Group (IR Level 1 Training) led by Don Thurmond & Jim Fritz – location a Hotel in North Carolina
- The Southface Group (RESNET Training) led by Mike Barrik & *Allison Bailes III – location the Southface Campus
- The Clean Edison Group (BPI Building Analyst Training) led by Thabani Banda – location a Hotel in New Jersey
- The EverBlue Group (BPI Building Envelope & Shell Training) led by Scott Spivak – location the ABC Georgia Chapter Meeting Room
The Support Staff (i.e. Back Office, Registering, questions, etc…):
Overall, anytime I talked to a “live” individual, they were knowledgeable and professional. Clean Edison looses big points for the cancelled classes requiring me to drive to New Jersey, and finally forcing me to cancel my last class with them. EverBlue, if they ever get there computer system problems figured out, I am sure they will do better. It appears Snell, has fixed the issue I had about their web site. As an FYI, when you register with Southface, yes you will be redirected to a place that sells tickets, that is just how they do things there.
Hotel Vs Training Facility
Wow, Clean Edison’s hotel setup just got dropped in the first few seconds, in fact from here… it looks like, yes, it is unbelievable but they knocked themselves out – Problems; lack of places to power up laptops, lack of nearby restaurants, and only one bathroom on the first floor – glad I stayed at the hotel…
Ouch, there goes ABC’s Meeting Room, from a vicious right hooked delivered by the IR guys, maybe it wasn’t fair of them to turn out the lights… hmm, I guess we will have to fix that later. Overall, it is a nice LEED Certified “Gold” facility, but if you are supposed to take a test online, you need the ability to run power to your laptop without worrying about tripping someone or having the cord pulled out – fault EverBlue not ABC.
Wow that leaves the LEED certified Southface Campus & the Snell Group Hotel battling it out for who comes out on top & darn, there’s the bell… Well let’s see how the judges rank this one – and it’s a draw. In all honesty, I have to tip my hat to both facilities for how they set them up per the needs of the class. Snell actually comes out on top in the comfort arena, due to the lounge area to eat lunch, kick your feet up during break, and catch some news. Even though they might be limited due to the hotels setups, they made the most of them. Case in point, we were stuck with small skinny tables for the lecture part, but they were setup so that we each had at least ½ of it to spread our papers out on which was more than adequate for the class. Now if laptops had been required for this class, Southface would have won easily.
Food Delivered Vs Eating Out
I have to be honest, I get nervous when I am eating food delivered, as I have gotten sick from it before. However, when it comes to daylong sessions, unless your location is surrounded by restaurants in walking distance, getting food delivered is a very nice touch. Generally, this gives everyone time to eat, chat among each other, and get back into the classroom on time. Snell & Southface both had deliveries, while EverBlue & Clean Edison made one go out to eat.
Let the Food Battle Begin:
Well, amazingly Clean Edison has not woken up from the first round (probably a good thing) so it appears to be a three-way battle. Man both Southface & Snell just looked at each other & then they both turned and smacked EverBlue out of the competition – while there was good food nearby, it required one to drive to it. Boom, down goes Snell with a humongous roundhouse from Southface –wow, this really was not a fair fight at all. While the food served by Snell was great, you cannot beat the local knowledge that Southface has. I had items there, that I would probably never order off a menu at a regular restaurant & they were superb.
Boot Camp Vs Classroom:
RESNET & ASTM require those trying to obtain certification to undergo a “Classroom” style course while BPI requires uh, nothing really – just you past the tests. Regardless of this, if you do not have a background in the field, I strongly urge you to take a regular classroom style class, and gain some time in the field, before going after your BPI certification. In regards to actual knowledge given, Classrooms win hands-down.
PowerPoint Vs PowerPoint Vs…
Sorry folks, everyone seemingly loves PowerPoint now a days. A few quick items though; if you are going to use them, you don’t have to read directly from them word to word – any monkey can do that. Tell us what is behind it, a personal experience or something. Make sure they line up with the handouts so that we can take notes without trying to figure out what page this slide refers to.
Instructor Vs Instructor:
Ahhh, the part everyone has been waiting for, who will win & what outfit will they be wearing? Before we begin, you might have noticed an asterisk in the Southface team listing. Well, that is because the dynamic duo from Southface has broken up. Allison is now teaching his own classes while Mike is still teaching at Southface. So now what do we do, they can’t fight together as they have their own partners now. Oh, ok that works; we now have a five-way competition for… Wait, what, it’s all over, already?
Reeling from prior knockouts, and despite the instructor being an architect – the team from Clean Edison folded due to a lack of preparedness, reading directly from Power points, trying to teach using different equipment (yes folks, there is a difference between Retrotec & Minneapolis Blower Door systems), and having a book that did not line up with the slides. With that being said, he was the best technical field trainer out of all of them, especially on the CAZ portion. If he actually had a partner to handle the bulk of the PowerPoint presentation and Clean Edison actually had all the equipment there on time, I think their review would have been completely different.
Apparently, EverBlue is still reeling from that double slap down, so even though they are still standing, they appear to be out of this fight. Here in lies another problem with having a single instructor, and that is, one starts to wear down and can start losing their voice. My first day there / his third he was getting hoarse from the prior 2 days of nonstop classroom training. While he has lots of knowledge, a familiarity with the subject can in some cases also be a double-edged sword, especially if you can’t just sit there and really look at someone to see if they actually got it. It appears that he is actually setting up some classes where he will have a partner and I think he will have a winning combo with that.
Now this is interesting, The Energy Vanguard Team with Allison Bailes is claiming 2nd place & both Snell & Southface are claiming 1st. Ahhh I see, and yes, I guess I have to agree, seeing no one is going to throw any punches. Both Snell & Southface point out there many years in the field, core group of respected instructors and ability to work well together, which is further punctuated by a piece that Allison wrote on Mike Barrik.
Below is a quick breakdown of the costs of each class, the day & time they normally start on, the day & time they end, along with how long it takes to get any requisite certifications. The two BPI classes are marked with an asterisk, as that time listed is not the actual finish time. Your finish time could either be later that day, or three days later after you take your 1 on 1 Field Test.
|Group||Start Date||End Date||Cost||CPD||Certification|
|Energy Vanguard||Sat @ 8 AM||Sat @ 5 PM||$1,650||$206||Last Day|
|Southface||Sun @ 4 PM||Fri @ 3 PM||$1,375||$229||3 Weeks|
|Snell||Mon @ 3 PM||Fri @ Noon||$1,695||$357||3 Weeks|
|EverBlue||Wed @ 9 AM||Fri @ Noon*||$1,095||$438||6 Weeks|
|Clean Edison||Mon @ 8 AM||Thr @ Noon*||$1,595||$456||6 Weeks|