Student Spotlight: Brian Anderson
Major: Transfer and HVAC/R
When Brian Anderson first attended College of DuPage, he was the quintessential non-traditional student.
“I was in my early 20s and working full-time,” he said. “I started with remedial English and math classes. The instructors were great. It was their enthusiasm that gave me the confidence to continue on with my studies and eventually transfer to DePaul University to study accounting.”
Anderson earned his bachelor's degree and currently is president of Lee’s Foodservice Parts and Repairs, Inc. He manages more than 70 service technicians in 12 states who provide service and maintenance to clients such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and a Chicago favorite – Portillo’s Foodservice Group. The company recently opened an office in Fayetville, AK, that provides greater access to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club headquarters, for which they provide repair service for approximately 1,400 stores. In addition to their corporate accounts, the company also services governmental and institutional clients.
When the economy began to turn, Anderson made a crucial business decision that led him back to College of DuPage.
“I was in the business of installing and delivering commercial foodservice equipment, but as the economy started showing signs of weakness, I decided to expand our current business by offering the repair and maintenance service for commercial foodservice and HVAC equipment,” he said. “I decided to attend classes at COD to update my skills.”
He enrolled in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) courses to gain a fundamental understanding of the HVAC industry.
“I felt that it was important for me to understand the fundamentals so I could talk with my technicians and clients about their needs and how to best meet those needs,” he said. “I chose COD because of my past experience with the school, as well as its solid reputation of training HVAC technicians. The program allowed me to learn the fundamentals of the HVAC industry. The College has also been an integral part of my success. For the students, it is important to talk with their advisors and instructors about their individual goals and to keep an open mind. The HVAC/R field is constantly evolving and offers well-paying careers that are both challenging and rewarding.”
With the support of his clients with a national presence, Anderson is continually expanding into new territories and is always seeking potential candidates – especially ones who have completed the HVAC program at College of DuPage.
“To this day, I continue to utilize the resources that the College offers. We currently employ two technicians who graduated from COD’s HVAC program and we recently reached out to the school in hopes of finding another qualified entry-level technician,” he said. “I also encourage my employees to utilize COD’s programs. Our parts manager completed classes in COD’s Continuing Education program to improve her skills.
“The company also utilizes the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at College of DuPage. It was through this program that Lee’s Foodservice learned of the many opportunities in the public sector. Every day our sales team receives an automated listing from the bid match program of the public bids that are available in our industry. It’s these types of opportunities that make COD such a valuable asset to its students and the community at large.
“I can say unequivocally that without the opportunities and support that I received at College of DuPage, I would never have earned my bachelor’s degree and certainly would not be where I am at today without my educational experiences at COD.”
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