Monthly Coach Highlight Joe Delong, Workforce Development Coach

Newsroom | 5 min read | May 3, 2024

- by Elsa Chase, Digital Marketing Specialist

This month, we’ve chosen to highlight Joe DeLong, who’s a Workforce Development Coach with NexTech Academy. Joe has been with Nexstar for the last five years, helping members build their Workforce Development programs
within their own businesses. We took some time to sit down with Joe this month to ask him a little about himself, find out what brought him to the trades, and chat about his career up to this point.

Q: Where and when did you get your start in the trades?
A: I started in the trades back in 1997, as an install apprentice for an HVAC company in Naples, Florida. I met my wife after living in Florida for 10 years and moved back to Colorado in 2007. I’m a native Coloradan and I’ve been back here ever since!

Q: Is there someone who inspired your journey into the trades?
A: My brother is how I got into the industry in 1997. He was a sales manager for an HVAC company and helped me get hired as an install apprentice. He knew I was good when it came to working with my hands, and he pushed me to go further and further in my career. I also had a field mentor, and he really took me under his wing. He taught me a lot of the trade knowledge and best practices that I use today, and continue to pass on to our membership. I feel very grateful for the multiple companies who also pushed me to succeed throughout my career.

Q: What are some career milestones that have been important in guiding you to your role as a coach?
A: The technical side of HVAC is my passion, and it’s what I’ve always loved. Working at Nexstar gives me the opportunity to pass on my knowledge to the next generation. Getting my contractor’s license and other credentials in the trade has also given me more confidence in my training and coaching on a technical level.

Q: What brought you to Nexstar?
A: I took my first Service System class as a technician, in California, in roughly 2004, and I have used Nexstar’s processes as a technician and a manager. I heard of a role that opened up to train technicians. 5 years later, here I am!

Q: What does your typical day look like as a coach?
A: My mornings consist of getting coffee, eating breakfast, and watching the news with my wife while getting ready for the day. I usually work 7 AM – 4 PM MT (8 AM – 5 PM CST), aligning with Nexstar’s HQ. The beginning of my day includes checking emails, looking at my calendar, and preparing for member coaching calls, NexTech team meetings, and content development.

I’m currently building out mini-split training courses in NexTech Academy. The content development I’m doing for that typically blocks off the second part of my day, usually after lunch. I’ll recap everything I’ve done every afternoon before finishing up for the day. This includes taking notes and maybe writing down work that I need to follow up on the next day.

Joe leading an onsite visit at Roth Heating & Cooling in Oregon.

Q: What’s the best part of your job, and why?
A: That’s a tough question! One of my favorite things about working at Nexstar is the freedom I’m given to get my work done. It took me about 6 months to get used to that! Now, I know what work needs to get done, and my supervisor knows what I need to do. I’m able to complete my work in a way that’s best for me! The freedom is amazing!

The other important part of my job that I absolutely LOVE is training technicians in-person with content I’ve written. I also love seeing those technicians graduate through a program I developed, and teaching technicians at our member shops!

Q: What’s one of your greatest superpowers?
A: I would honestly say that one of my superpowers is my knowledge of the HVAC trade as a whole. The trade changes constantly, so you’ll never know it all. I keep my brain fresh with industry changes by educating myself, so I can educate others. Additionally, I’ve been around the trades for almost three decades, so I’m also a good handyman.

Q: What do you do to relax when you’re not at work?
A: I love being outdoors! About two years ago, my wife, Julie, and I bought a brand-new camper that we’d always wanted. Taking our camper up into the mountains is heaven to me – I just wish we could go more often! I’m a big kid, and I love playing video games and watching scary movies with my daughter. I also love disc golf and cooking!

Q: What are some of your passions?
A: Going camping with the family and cooking – put those together and you get cooking outdoors, which is one of my favorite things! I also love spending quality time with the kids, since they’ve been growing up so fast!
And I love when Julie and I can go on date nights without the kids. My family is my #1

After that, it would be my passion for HVAC and teaching others. I never would have thought in a million years that this is what I’d do when I grew up – but here I am, loving every second of it.

Joe and his wife, Julie, with their beloved camper.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the greatest minds here at Nexstar. I am surrounded by pure greatness, and I thank God every day that I get to work for such an amazing company.

Joe and his family.

If you’re interested in working with Joe to start your own in-house workforce development program, or if you’re interested in having him at your shop for an onsite visit, please contact him at [email protected].

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