Meet Gavin: HVAC Graduate and Herzing Cup Winner

Each year, Herzing gives an award to the student who delivers the best oral presentation on a topic of their choice. That award is called the Herzing Cup.

President Henry Herzing says the goal is to recognize students who show that they can convey information effectively.

“I advanced the idea of the Herzing Cup to recognize the communication skills of our students. Technology comes and goes, processes come and go, but good communication skills are always valued.”

The latest winner, Gavin George, just finished the Heating and Ventilation and Advanced Gas Technician program in Toronto.

We interviewed Gavin this week to get his reaction to the award and learn more about his overall experience at Herzing.

Here’s what he had to say.


Q. Gavin, can you share a bit about your background? What were you doing before heading back to school?

Gavin: I’ve done a bunch of different things. I got a degree in graphic design, but didn’t want to be a starving artist. So I worked as a server and bartender and went up the ranks in the hospitality industry.

I got a little bored of restaurants, so I went into IT sales for a while. After a couple years I jumped back to hospitality to see where that could go.

Then COVID hit, so I had to make a change. I needed something sustainable for my future.


Q. How did you come to look at the trades? And HVAC in particular?

Gavin: My mother had always wanted me in a trade so I could obtain a skillset I could own and build on. I had an uncle who did small appliance repair and had built a business out of that. And my mom said I could do that as well.

In terms of which specific trade, I thought about what it is that people need. Heating and cooling are the basics of life, and it seemed like I would always have a job.

I explored that a little bit more to find out how sustainable it is. I did the research and went to the government site to see the outlook for HVAC compared to other trades. And of course I looked at the pay rates.

The main thing for me was just being able to be in a trade where I would always have work.

I also did a lot of research on alternative energies. I thought if I get into HVAC I can kind of explore those from there.


Q. What made you choose Herzing?

Gavin: I liked the fact that I could get the certifications in just one year. All the other places I checked, it was three or four years. Time was of the essence for me.

I read the student success stories and asked the admissions advisors a lot of questions. I felt like I was harassing them after a while, cause I’d keep coming back and saying, “Can I ask you another question?” And they’d say, “Yes, you can.” So that was very encouraging.


Q. What was your overall experience in the program? How was the instructor, course material, and general vibe in class?

Gavin: It was definitely a great experience. I kind of miss being in class because it was such a great environment.

We were welcome to bring things to the table. I brought in a couple of AC units and asked if we could do anything with them. I also brought in a microwave that was broken. That was encouraged.

I learned more than I realized—not just about the trade, but about life. My instructor had real-life experience as a business owner, and he taught us about things like how to gradually acquire the tools you need and how to weigh different job offers.


Q. What challenges have you had to deal with in continuing your education?

Gavin: I tried applying through Second Career, but they said I didn’t qualify. And I thought that was the weirdest thing in the world because my situation seemed to fit their criteria exactly: I was displaced because of COVID and I was changing industries, from hospitality to the trades.

To have that kind of support would have helped. But I did end up going through OSAP.


Q. What does receiving the Herzing Cup mean to you?

Gavin: I haven’t really grasped it yet. I didn’t realize how important the Herzing Cup was. I just wanted to represent the Toronto campus and be involved in the community.

I wanted to absorb everything that was available to me.


Q. What advice would you give someone who is considering Herzing College?

Gavin: It’s the best choice you can make. When I was researching schools, I read other student testimonials and asked all the questions I needed. I felt confident in my decision to attend.

I would absolutely recommend it to everybody.


Q. What do you plan to do next?

Gavin: I want to build my career as an HVAC and gas technician. I’ve already acquired a job and I’m on the road to apprenticeship.

I’d like to become a journeyman, open my own business, and give back to the trade.



Herzing’s combined HVAC and gas technician program runs for 52 weeks. It’s available at our Toronto and Cambridge campuses.

Students learn the fundamentals of heating and cooling and earn their G2 gas technician certification.

Want to learn more? An admissions advisor can guide you through the details of the HVAC program and answer any questions you have about costs, financial aid, how to apply, and more.

Click below to get complete details on the program and chat live with an admissions advisor. We’re here to help!

Explore the Combined HVAC & Gas Technician program



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