The Guerra Brothers: HVAC Alumni Keeping It Cool

Joshua and Jeziel Guerra standing beside each other on stairwell of Red Mountain Building.
Jared Libby

You’d be hard pressed to find alumni who’ve dedicated their time and energy to the College’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Program (HVAC) quite like Joshua and Jeziel Guerra have. Homegrown in Reno, NV, the two were lucky enough to have the opportunity to study the trade together at our very own William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center. With the February celebration of National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month still under way, let’s take this time to highlight these two brothers who’ve made their fiery passions a reality.

Warm in the Winter, Cool in the Summer

Meeting the Guerra brothers was a breath of fresh air, beaming as they shared the exceptional experience they received at TMCC, all thanks to the advantages that hands-on training provides. Reading out of a book just wasn’t their style, and they heard that TMCC offered exactly what they were looking for. After nights of research, and a commitment from one brother to the other to succeed, they settled on none other than HVAC at TMCC.

Joshua, 21, and Jeziel, 22, were pretty green when it came to how trade schools operated. Fresh out of high school, Joshua was conflicted about where his path in life might take him. He was majoring in business, but something didn’t feel quite right. Their father, a man with over twenty years of experience as a tradesman, was a major influence in Joshua’s decision to pursue this career field, encouraged by the thought of running his own enterprise one day. Not shortly after, he was bringing his brother along for the ride.

“I was working at the time, and my brother said to me, ‘Let’s go to trade school at TMCC, but with the mentality that one day we’ll have our own company.’ He pushed me, so I give credit to him. He was like, ‘I’m signing us up tomorrow.’ Next thing we know, we’re in class with Wes Evans,” Jeziel said.

One of the greatest benefits of their college journey that the brothers are grateful for is the preparedness they felt when applying for positions as a certified HVAC technician. Right away, they began making good money because employers knew that they were the real deal. They had a lot of love to show for one of their instructors, Wes Evans.

“What was refreshing about Joshua and Jeziel was their attitude each and every day during the course. As an instructor, it was great to feed off of them because they were always in a good mood, and had that willingness to learn. Their enthusiasm was also helpful when it came to labs, class, or whatever else. It was contagious, in a good way, which made me feel young and full of energy. The boys made those two semesters memorable. It was a pleasure to know that they would be rolling into class ready to be engaged,” Evans said.

Evans challenged them in the best ways, familiarizing them with tools, the handling of units, identification of faults and properly diagnosing systems. There were no shortages of equipment when they walked into a TMCC lab, with a variety of objects, furnaces, and AC fixtures primed to be gripped and examined. Like Joshua says, “I’d rather be green jumping into school than green starting a new job.”

Joshua and Jeziel graduated in May 2020, and as you can probably imagine, were adjusting to a new normal due to Covid. It was nothing they, nor our instructors, couldn’t handle, though. Education often finds a way to reach those who actively seek it, and Evans made it a point to circulate informative videos and an abundance of useful materials with them regularly. He would even bring in professionals from different organizations to help illustrate all the job pathways available for HVAC technicians. It was a valuable connection to that world for them.

Throughout all the trials and tribulations that year brought, the brothers still followed through on their promise to one another. They had grown into stellar alumnus who were now ready to take on the world.

“The best bit was that my brother, uncle and I were all attending the course at the same time. My uncle’s not too much older than us, either. When we entered the room, our instructor asked us, ‘Are you guys in the right class?’ Honestly, in the trades, we were the youngest. I was eighteen, and Jezi was nineteen. We had classmates who were forty-five, some in their thirties. Real nice people, though. It was terrific to learn together with them. The atmosphere in the class was overall positive,” Joshua said.

Will the Next Generation Please Stand Up?

Take on the world they did! Ever heard of a little heating and air conditioning team called Guerra’s Mechanical? That’s right! Joshua and Jeziel achieved their collective dream of becoming business owners some day, and their family couldn’t be more proud of them.

Now that they’re making a name for themselves, their hope is that a younger generation will be inspired to take up the mantle within the trade specialties. The brothers agree that a favorable, more modern approach to the traditional route for college students could be participating in trade settings, acquiring a particular set of talents, and then establishing their livelihood upon certificate completion. By acquiring these essential positions, their abilities are sure to enliven our communities. That’s why we go to college, right? To leave this world a little better than we found it.

Joshua and Jeziel are advocates for this shift, and are constantly telling their younger friends, and those graduating high school, that if they’re unsure of what to study in college, then trying a CTE career could be truly promising for them. The brothers insist you look into one! You never know, you might fall in love with it.

“At the time, I was working at a carwash. I was only making nine dollars an hour. My tuition wasn’t too pricey. Saving those nine dollars I made over time, I was able to pay back my education costs fairly quickly. It’s not as expensive as taking the traditional route. If you’re employed part-time, it’s very accessible, and totally doable. I can’t stress that enough,” Joshua said.

His brother nodded before speaking again.

“That’s a seriously significant thing to consider, right? How much it costs. A lot of students follow the traditional route, but then they rack up massive loans. Not a lot will get millennium scholarships to help them, either. Going into a trade, graduating, and being debt-free is so nice. After gaining more experience in the industry, we were finally able to buy a house together last year,” Jeziel said.

We just love a good success story around here! Joshua and Jeziel have exploded onto the scene with Guerra’s Mechanics, all thanks to their determination in building a better future for themselves. Their graduation from TMCC has landed them solid paying careers of their own creation, and now they are confidently sustaining the best life they can for themselves. At TMCC, investing our time in you can be more gratifying than you know.

“We make sure the equipment that breaks down in peoples’ homes will continue to be running for a long time. It feels good to be that person who helps others in that way,” Jeziel said.

For more information about our HVAC program, please visit our Air Conditioning Technologies page. If you’d like to learn more about Guerra’s Mechanical services, call 775-550-8895.