Flow Tech Supports Local Trade School with VFD Donation

Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic site, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) is the only technical community college in Massachusetts. Offering a variety of career programs such as Biotechnology, IT Security, Laser Electro-Optics, Nursing and Robotics, STCC has something for everyone. STCC’s highly-regarded transfer programs in Business, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Science and Technology continue to provide the most economical option for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of over 9,000 day, evening, weekend and online students, Springfield Technical Community College is a vibrant campus rich in diversity and a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts.

In terms of HVAC education STCC has an excellent Energy Systems Technology program and is the only school in the region with a specialized HVAC BMS Controls program. Graduates of these programs have gone on to work for companies like Siemens, Automated Logic, Johnson Controls and SNE Systems. Flow Tech is also a big fan of STCC as we’ve hired two of their graduates. Our field technicians Brian Dugre and Tom Halgas both successfully completed these programs.

Having graduated from Springfield Technical Community College’s HVAC BMS Controls program and after working with ABB variable frequency drives (VFDs), Tom Halgas quickly realized how widely used VFDs are in the HVAC industry. He felt that having a functional VFD in the STCC lab would provide students with first-hand experience of application, control functions and integration within a BMS system. The addition of a VFD would mean a valuable upgrade to the STCC lab.

Halgas ran is thoughts by Flow Tech’s upper management and marketing department to see if providing a VFD to Springfield Technical Community College at a no/low cost would be a possibility. Rich Harper, Flow Tech’s president thought donating an ABB VFD to STCC was an excellent idea. Especially with the hopes that STCC would continue producing even more knowledgeable graduates and potential future Flow Tech employees. After receiving approval, Halgas reached out to Michael Sicilano, STCC’s Energy Systems Technology department head and told him the good news. Sicilano jumped at the offer!

Michael Sicilano and Tom Halgas
Left: Michael Sicilano, Department Head of Springfield Technical Community College Center: ABB VFD Right: Tom Halgas, Field Technician, Flow Tech, Inc.

The class installed the ABB VFD under his supervision. Control wiring was completed by some members of the class along with Tom Halgas. Sicilano and Halgas were able to demonstrate to the class how VFDs save on energy by varying equipment speed based on demand, and by reducing the energy draw on the grid. The VFD is currently operating a fan on a 10 ton package unit, and is integrated with the control system for that unit.

Sicilano and STCC are very pleased with the donation made possible by the generosity of Flow Tech and Rich Harper. They’ll continue using the VFD during lab hours and plan to work it into the curriculum moving forward. Hopefully this will help many Springfield Technical Community College graduates have a leg up on other technical schools’ graduates by providing them a real-world experience working with variable frequency drives.

For more information about our VFD donation, or variable frequency drives in general feel free to contact us, or visit our website. Like this post? Please share this with a friend, connect with us on and follow us!

1 Comment

  1. Stan Halgas on July 24, 2015 at 5:55 PM

    Well done Tom. You are putting your talent’s to good use. Your proud DAD.

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