As a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) instructor at Florida Career College’s Tampa Campus, Jorge Hernandez Velazquez has always tried to bring something unique to his students but recently he became a part of an elite group of less than 150 instructors in the country as he earned the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator (CMHE) from HVAC Excellence.
“I have always loved to teach others my knowledge and my experience,” Jorge said. “Even when I was working in the field, whenever I was out with an associate and we had a complex problem, I don’t only fix it, but I teach the reason we have to do it that way. I have always had a passion for teaching. My mother was a primary school teacher for her entire professional life. My sister is a medical doctor so she’s always teaching. It’s in our DNA”
To earn this title instructors must pass seven Certified Subject Matter Educator exams with a score of 80 percent or higher including courses on teaching methods, electrical, air conditioning, light commercial air conditioning, light commercial refrigeration and electric heat. Earning the title places Jorge’s name on a public list of the only instructors in the country to have gone through the certification.
It’s another feather in the cap for Jorge, who already has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a masters in automation and more than 30 years of experience working in the field.
“He is extremely well-educated. He is one of those extremely brilliant guys,” said Laura Williams, associate director of education at FCC Tampa. “He is constantly changing the way students learn. He brings new stuff and new ideas to his labs. You go in one week and they are building tubes and you go in the next week, and he’s got a simulation going on. He goes above and beyond consistently. He’s trying to pass his love of learning on to them and it’s working.”
Jorge said his teaching style is “by the book” with a little extra thrown in. He likes to push his students by offering additional projects to each course that are not on the syllabus.
“I have vast experience and a lot of years working with different equipment. I always try to connect the theory with the hands-on skill. They love it that way,” he said. “I like to push them in the program. I do not make it easy to pass the program. I make it hard. By the end they are very grateful with the way I teach because they get a lot. They have to work hard to pass, and they are happy.”
As a Cuban immigrant, Jorge has never taken for granted the opportunity to work hard and improve himself.
“I decided to get a better life not only for me but for my daughters and that is the reason I moved to the US, to have the opportunity to give to my family a better life and a better future,” he said.
Jorge has been teaching HVAC for about seven years. He enjoys learning and being prepared for his students and that’s what drove him to getting this certification.
“To see the letter of gratitude, the plaque and then his name and the school’s name on a list like that is amazing. It’s good for everybody,” Laura said. “This is something really impressive for our students to see no matter what age you are, you can continue to learn and it’s important. He deserves every bit of recognition. He works really hard at learning and bringing that experience to his students. It’s a very nice distinguishment that he deserves.”
“I like sharing knowledge, sharing experience,” Jorge said. “I like teaching the new generation to take on their shoulders a big responsibility to build a better world, a better life or better humanity.”