They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but for Huntington Station, NY-based Electronix Systems, training and education are what keep the staff on top of their games – and on top of the industry.
According to Ron Petrarca, Director of Operations and an NTS instructor, somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the company has been there for more than 15 years, making them well established in the region and in the industry.
That experience has given them the knowledge to know that the industry is constantly changing, and that they need to constantly be training to continue to excel.
"You don't have to tell them [the industry is changing], says Petrarca. "They can see the change."
When there is a new technology or product on the market, they go out and buy it, play with it, train on it, and share it in meetings so everyone knows about it.
"These guys see if they don't keep up with it, they're going to become obsolete. The company is moving forward and they need to keep up with it all," he says.
Electronix Systems, which was incorporated in 1978, handles it all, from installation, service and central station work. "We’re at every end of the trade,” says Petrarca.
When Petrarca started with the company in 1986, it was "the infancy of NTS,” and as NTS grew, so did the company’s training and education. "Having worked with NTS since the beginning has helped us immeasurably," says Petrarca.
Every quarter, the company has a half-day training for employees to keep them updated on new technologies and installation and service methods. And whenever there's new equipment from the manufacturers, they go to the training for it.
Electronix Systems breaks down training by division, with each division having a specialist who does the training for the group. "It has come from where one guy was doing all the training here and now it's broken down by division," Petrarca says.
When Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) came out from NTS, Petrarca told all the service personnel about it, and after one employee went and shared his experiences with the team, everyone else wanted to take it.
While the company has an experienced staff, newer employees have a breaking in period to make sure they’re completely prepared. "If we hire a person new to this industry, we'll run them through the basics so they have a starting point,” says Petrarca. "Then they work for 18 months to 2 years as a helper and they learn from a person who's being doing this for a while and has sound training."
You won't know if the guy has the experience until he goes out there -- unless he has the training and the certification, he says, and there’s a lot of companies who do trial by error.
Pay incentives for employees are based on the education they've gone out and done on their own, and continuing education is a must.
"All too many businesses hire an individual, give him basic training, and they never continue the education," he says.
"You can't survive for any period of time without continuing and updating education," he says. "If every business did this, they would have a much more educated staff."