John Kjell earns Rees Scholarship

John Kjell, a Blackhawk Technical College student in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration program (HVAC/R), recently continued a honored tradition at BTC when he became the latest student to be awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Rees Scholarship Foundation.

The Clifford Rees Foundation exists to assist in recruiting future HVAC/R technicians. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Air Condition, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) of Arlington, Va.

The scholarship process requires two letters of recommendation from a student’s instructors and an essay on why the student believes he or she deserves a scholarship. The Foundation also supplies separate scholarships to qualified veterans.

“John has the drive and ambition to succeed in the HVAC/R industry,’’ said Tony Jordan, a BTC instructor in the HVAC/R program. “His trade skills and core abilities are evident in his high standard of work performed.’’

The AHRI scholarship has been in existence since 2003. It has rewarded 121 students with more than $200,000 in scholarships.

“These students are a shining example of the qualified, dedicated HVACR and water heating technicians we need to fill good paying jobs that cannot be out sourced,’’ said Steven Yurek, the secretary of AHRI and member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Kjell is the ninth BTC student to win the award from AHRI.

“This is recognition of our program standards,’’ Jordan said. “It is a great honor that a national organization like AHRI recognizes that BTC trains the best and the brightest in the HVAC/R field.’’

Previous BTC winners of the scholarship included Dan Gretchmann (2013), Brian Matijevich (2010 and 2011), Dale Townsend (2010), Anthony Gelander (2009), Steven Lustig and Mathew Tegt (2008), Nguyen Don Mau and Amy Karpes (2007).