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GemAire and Rheem Donation to result in HVAC upgrades at McDowell Tech
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GemAire and Rheem Donation to result in HVAC upgrades at McDowell Tech

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Front row, left to right, Stacy Buff, Dean of Career and Technical Education; Shannon Setzer, Gemaire Distributor; William Morris, Instructor; Becky Kelly, Rheem Manufacturing; and Rob Flannery Department Chair. Second row, left to right: Shaun Reams, Gemaire Distributor; and Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC President.

Thanks to a generous donation from Gemaire Distributors, LLC and Rheem Manufacturing, the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technologies program at McDowell Technical Community College will soon be getting upgraded equipment for the department’s teaching lab at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Shaun Reams and Shannon Setzer of Gemaire partnered with Becky Kelly of Rheem Manufacturing to present McDowell Tech with a check for $5,000 to be used for the equipment purchases.

William Morris of Morris Heating and Cooling, LLC was recently hired as the new lead instructor for the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technologies program. Morris had previously taught in the program more than 15 years ago and has extensive experience as owner of one of the region’s largest HVAC companies.

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Since returning to the program a few months ago, Morris has networked with colleagues in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) community to generate both scholarship money for students enrolled in the program, as well as funds to begin upgrading departmental equipment as technology changes in the field.

Heating, air conditioning and tefrigeration technologies graduates are some of the most sought-after graduates in western North Carolina. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May, 2020 median wages for HVAC mechanics and installers in the Asheville market was $44,220, with experienced mechanics and installers making substantially more.

Due to both gifts to the college for HVAC student scholarships, as well as the college’s new Learn and Grow Scholarship program, students enrolling in the program for the 2021-22 will receive free tuition and fees, and 2021 NC high school graduates will have two years of free tuition in the program.

To enroll in the program and apply for the Learn and Grow Scholarship Program, visit and click on the banner in the center of the homepage.

For information about giving to the MTCC Foundation, visit

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