You know that thing we all say—“Are policemen getting younger?”… Well, one or two customers have been asking, “are your technicians getting younger?” And, honestly, no, they’re not, but Josh Purdy does help to lower the average age!
When Josh graduated high school he wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do. He was living in North Conway, the town he and his family had moved to from California when he was 12, and had a love of electronics, engineering, computer programming. His father was an HVAC technician, but it would take him three years to convince Josh to go into the field. In the meantime Josh worked a number of fast-food jobs—both serving and cooking—and helped out in local non-profits. Eventually, he enrolled at the New England Technical Institute in Portland, Maine, and graduated in 2015 fully licensed to work as an HVAC technician in Maine and New Hampshire. Next stop? Lamprey Energy.
I saw an ad, applied, and got the job. Two weeks after I qualified, my family all moved back to California, so I moved down to the seacoast to be nearer to work.”
When he arrived at Lamprey Josh had all the right qualifications but none of the experience and so, for the first eight months he worked alongside veteran tech, Rick Yemma, doing preventive maintenance work. Next came preventive maintenance on his own, then service work, and now he’s working on installations with lead tech, Eric Pelchat.
He’s come a long way since his first day in 2015. He remembers his first stint as the “on-call tech” in 2017. “My first call out was for a gas leak!” It turned out to be nothing more than a septic tank smell, but knowing that he could deal with it meant a lot to Josh.
“It’s really the best thing about the job,” he says, “Walking into a service call not knowing what the problem is but being confident that I’ll be able to figure it out.”
There’s not much Josh doesn’t like about the job indeed, when pressed all he could really think of was “Crawl spaces, but we don’t see many…I think there’s only two properties that I’d really prefer not to go back to. I guess some people might worry about unruly dogs, but even 99% of the dogs I meet are nice.“
On his days off he spends much of his time helping others. “I help the Lions Club with their eyeglass assistance requests,*” and he supports a Christian camp in Raymond where he helps with the maintenance during the pre-season Work and Worship week. “It’s great because with my HVAC skills I can help with the plumbing and frozen pipes. I’d do more if I had more time; I’d really like to work with Habitat for Humanity.”
If he didn’t have to work, Josh says, he’d spend more time helping other people and also working on his electronic projects. Back when he was working in the fast-food world, he’d often spend time between shifts sleeping in his car, “Especially after a late shift on a Saturday night, when it’d make no sense to drive home before heading back out to go to church.” That experience led him to design an electronic system that would automatically maintain the car’s interior temperature. “You can fall asleep in the car at 7am when it’s really cold but by 10am, when the sun’s beating down, it’s super hot! I got it working, but no interface…I had to use my laptop to control it. Then I got the job at Lamprey and didn’t need to sleep in the car anymore so I didn’t finish it. I will one day, it’s still on my desk.”
He’s also working on a home-automation system. “It’ll do things like open the blinds when the sun comes up, make sure the stove’s not on, the doors are locked, that sort of thing.”
When Josh first came to Lamprey, he was the epitome of the “new kid”: still in his early 20s, tall and thin, quiet, a bit shy, a tad awkward. Today he’s still tall and thin, but he’s grown into his role in the company, is valued by his co-workers, laughs along with the best of them, knows that he has good technical skills, and is confident in what he does. And, on top of it all, he seems to genuinely enjoy the job that he does. Ask him what he’d do if he no longer worked at Lamprey Energy or, indeed, didn’t have to work at all and he says, with a grin, “I’d probably come back to work!”
*To find out more about the Lions Clubs International eyeglass programs, click here.