MATC HVAC Instructor Earns Prestigious National Certification

Charles Barbour becomes only second educator in state to earn title of Certified Master HVACR Educator (CMHE)

Mark Feldmann,

January 19, 2024

Charles Barbour

Every time I meet with Charles, I leave with a sense of excitement after hearing his ideas for growth in the HVAC program and ways of increasing awareness of the HVAC field.

Dave Stuart MATC director of apprenticeships and special projects

Charles Barbour lives, breathes and teaches in some rarefied air.

The Milwaukee Area Technical College instructor is one of the best heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) teachers in the nation.

Barbour recently earned the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator (CMHE), a prestigious honor attained by fewer than 150 HVACR instructors across the country and bestowed by HVAC Excellence, an industry group dedicated to HVACR instruction.

“I am passionate about providing quality education in the HVACR field and ensuring that my students are well prepared for success in their careers,” said Barbour, who began teaching at MATC in 2016. “Receiving the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator is not only a personal achievement, but also a testament to the dedication and hard work of everyone at MATC who contributes to the success of our HVACR program.

“This prestigious acknowledgment motivates me even more to continue striving for excellence in education and to make a positive impact on the lives and careers of my students,” Barbour added.

“Charles is an energetic instructor with a passion for teaching, learning and the HVAC industry,” said David Stuart, MATC’s director of apprenticeships and special projects. “Every time I meet with Charles, I leave with a sense of excitement after hearing his ideas for growth in the HVAC program and ways of increasing awareness of the HVAC field.”

Since 2004, 142 educators have earned the comprehensive certification, according to HVAC Excellence’s CMHE directory. Barbour is only the second from a Wisconsin college: the first was Leon Charnetski of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in 2015.

To attain CMHE status, instructors must pass exams testing their mastery of teaching methods, electrical systems, air conditioning, light commercial air conditioning, light commercial refrigeration, electric heat and one of the following: gas heat, oil heat or heat pumps.

“Passing any one of the nine exams offered would be quite an accomplishment. To earn the title of CMHE, an HVACR instructor must pass seven exams with a score of 80% or higher,” said Renee Tomlinson executive director at ESCO Institute, which operates HVAC Excellence. “This is the highest credential that HVAC Excellence can confer upon an HVACR educator. Having this title bestowed upon them is a great accomplishment and helps their students know that their career is on the right path as quality training begins with a great instructor.”

Barbour earned an associate degree in MATC’s Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating Service Technician program and took courses at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He completed an apprenticeship and attained journeyman status as a union steamfitter/refrigeration service technician. 

Barbour gained valuable experience in the field, installing and servicing equipment for cheese and sausage makers, ice arenas, along with gas stations and grocery stores in the region.

For achieving CHME status, Barbour received a plaque and is now listed in the official CMHE directory. He also will be recognized at the National HVACR Education Conference in March 2024 in Las Vegas.

“I am proud to be part of a community that values education, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the growth and success of both my students and the HVACR industry as a whole,” Barbour said. “I am sincerely honored and grateful to have been awarded this title. This recognition means a great deal to me.”

Learn about MATC’s Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating Service Technician program

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.