Luis Juarez Chamorro graduated from TMCC’s HVAC program in 2011. He found his way into the program thanks to his employer at the time, who wanted Chamorro to expand his skill set beyond performing basic maintenance. He had been a TMCC student years before, taking primarily Architecture classes, but he did not complete the degree. “My plan was always to graduate—to get something—to not just quit. My plan was always to have something to fall back on,” he said.
Chamorro had always been drawn to subjects that required a certain degree of hands-on work: art, architecture, working on electrical circuits. “When I found the HVAC program, I looked forward to going to class, to the atmosphere, to the people I was able to interact with. Once you find that, you’re happy to learn more and you want to learn more, and you make education a part of your life,” he said.
These days, Chamorro is the lead HVAC technician for a property management company where he is responsible for both residential and commercial properties. “We manage about 200 apartment units in town, so if anything happens... it’s my job to make sure everything is running smoothly,” he said. This could mean assisting his technicians through a difficult troubleshooting process or ordering cranes to service the larger HVAC units for their commercial clients. “It’s a lot of responsibility….but I wake up and it’s never the same thing. That’s what I enjoy. I think if I was in an office all the time, I’d probably go nuts. I enjoy going to different places, talking to different people. I’ve met so many interesting people through this trade.”
Overcoming Barriers to Education
Chamarro always knew he wanted to continue to get a college degree, the problem was that he didn’t know what kind of degree he wanted. A graduate of Spanish Springs High School and a long-time Nevada resident, Chamorro was a first-generation college student. “I had no idea what I was going to do,” he said. “In high school, they show you some career choices, places you can go… but for me, it was always very difficult. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it,” he said.
The youngest of ten siblings, Chamarro grew up with role models across several hands-on careers including construction, carpentry, landscaping, plumbing, culinary arts. “I’ve always seen my siblings as great role models growing up,” he said. “They have been my motivation to become my own person.”
So too, his Spanish-speaking parents told him that it was important for him to continue to study so that he could find a career that he could enjoy for the rest of his life. And yet what that would be--Chamorro had no idea. “We didn’t have college funds, so I had to work and my parents didn’t know much about college. I had to research everything about college and career choices on my own.”
Despite these struggles, Chamorro believes that higher education has not only helped him discover a fulfilling career, but also helped him to develop lifelong friendships and social skills that are a necessary part of his day-to-day job. While the journey wasn’t always easy (at one point Chamorro and his wife started a family, which forced Chamorro to put his education on pause), but with support from the HVAC program and HVAC Professor Wes Evans, he nonetheless persisted.
Words of Wisdom
These days, Chamorro has a nephew who is attending TMCC with whom he shares the lessons he learned nearly ten years before. “It’s really important not to give up. A lot of times you might feel kind of stuck, like my nephew. He thinks he wants to be an engineer and then he thinks he wants to pick up some kind of trade… But I keep telling him, ‘don’t give up, because in the end, you’ll find something.’”
Chamorro remembers spending years wondering the same question as he completed his core requirements: will I be an art teacher? An architect? An electrician? To some extent, exploration is a part of the journey. “It’s never going to be easy,” he said. “When I was a student, I also became a parent and that was difficult. A lot of times I had to sacrifice the number of classes I was able to take during the semester. But, I never gave up—so, if something comes up in life, just make sure you don’t stop.”
Thanks to his perseverance, Chamorro is succeeding in a stable, hands-on career that is in demand no matter the time of year where he is constantly meeting interesting people. “It’s never boring,” he said. “Continuing with your education will be beneficial in the end, even if you think it won’t.”
TMCC 50th Anniversary Celebration
As a part of TMCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration for the 2021-2022 academic year, we will be highlighting the success stories of our amazing alumni. Check back with our anniversary website for more details of the ongoing celebration or send your alumni success stories to our Marketing and Communications team.