Internship Highlight: Luke Petaccia

Internship Highlight: Luke Petaccia
Graphic: Student Luke PetacciaInternship Highlight: Luke Petaccia  

Pascack Valley senior Luke Petaccia interns at Temco Heating & Air Conditioning Incorporated located in Hillsdale, NJ. Luke’s mentor is Tim Prusha, the owner. Temco Inc. offers HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) services including service and preventive maintenance, air conditioning installations and replacements, and heating.

Luke hit the ground running and immersed himself in the daily activities of Temco. He went on service calls and observed his mentors evaluate issues occurring with their clients’ heating and cooling equipment and assisted in diagnosing the problem.

“At the start I just watched, I didn’t know what to do. But now, I’m able to assist and make suggestions to see what’s going on and to make my own diagnosis. On a service call, we’ll open up [any heating or cooling equipment], we’ll turn it on, and then see at that point what the problem is.”  Luke said.

Being a mentor with the program for several years, Tim understands the teaching aspect of an internship.  Tim takes his time to teach Luke how to review the situation and gives him the opportunity to make his own assessments.  They discuss the possible issues with the system and how to fix it. During this hands-on experience, Tim also teaches Luke how to properly communicate with customers and provide customer service.

“We've been trying to teach Luke everything such as, how to be in business, how to stay in business, how to really take care of future work,” Tim said. “I try to explain to [Luke] this is how you talk to the customer and talk to them the way you want to be treated because what we try to do is educate the customer.”

Five years ago, Internship Coordinator Laura McSpirit reached out to Tim to see if he would be interested in becoming an internship mentor. Tim said he was excited to take on an intern because he enjoys answering questions and guiding young students into certain career fields. 

“I think it's a great program for someone who wants to be an accountant, or mechanic, or anyone who wants to go into what I’m doing,” Tim said. “How many people pick their majors and halfway through it realize they’re wasting their time? Why not use [their high school experience] to try [their potential career field] and get a feel for it?”

Luke Petaccia
Photo of PV Student Luke Petaccia inside his internship location

Luke’s additional internship assignments include learning how to read and scale blueprints, connecting ductwork, cutting holes in the ductwork and general customer service. As a result,   Luke said his internship has allowed him to strengthen his problem-solving skills. 

“One of the most important things I’ve learned [from my internship] is being able to pick things up and being able to learn as you watch something happen. Being able to figure out what's wrong and then figure out what to do about it is a big thing I’ve learned because that doesn’t just apply to HVAC, it happens throughout life,” Luke said. 

After high school, Luke will be attending The College of New Jersey where he plans to take business management courses to help him understand the managerial aspect of a business. Luke said he eventually would like to open his own HVAC business.
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