Meet Our Instructors

Meet Our Instructors


Rob Falke - NCI President & Master Instructor

Rob Falke entered the HVAC Industry in 1983 in his family's HVAC business. Soon he opened a small commercial air balancing company and began to include air balancing into his daily HVAC sales activities. From then on, the two industries were inseparable to Rob. In 1990 he became a certified NEBB supervisor. Over the next 10 years his company balanced thousands of residential, commercial, and industrial systems. Not happy with the typical "match the numbers" balancing that is still prevalent in the industry, Rob decided to make it his life's work to develop a new measured performance approach to testing and balancing. In 1993 he founded a national training and certification organization now known as National Comfort Institute where he is currently co-owner and president. Rob is a widely recognized industry speaker, trainer, and a true visionary in air balancing and diagnostics.

Casey Contreras - Field Coach, Quality Assurance Technician

Casey joins NCI with 10 years of residential, light commercial installation and service experience. He is NCI's newest field coach based in Southern California, where he will be working alongside southern California Edison's Quality installation contractors.

Casey entered the HVAC industry thru his father's HVAC company in 2005. The company's main focus was residential new construction and that is where he learned the basics of installing and commissioning and servicing HVAC systems.

When the market crashed his father decided to change the dynamic of the company to more billable service and add-on-replacement. With the new change in direction he went through sales and customer service training along with technical training, becoming NATE certified and attending NCI's residential and light commercial air balancing classes and system performance training classes and obtained those certifications.

He was responsible for the add-on-replacement and commissioning through the SCE QI program along with the CQR program. He also managed the service department, were he had the opportunity to implement NCI's test procedures into every service and preventive maintenance call, which resulted in being very affective in sales growth and in technician knowledge and professionalism. In recent years he's developed a passion for training others and seeing their growth in the industry.

Fun Fact:
Casey says he enjoys working on cars, trucks, and home improvement. He also loves fishing and being in the outdoors.

Jim Davis - Senior Instructor

Jim has a long and storied career in the HVAC Industry. That career began back in 1971 when he went to work for an HVAC contractors (which lasted for six years), before moving on to work for an HVAC distributor in 1977. That is where he became involved with selling the first digital combustion analyzers.

"I discovered a lack of knowledge, including my own, on interpreting combustion readings and overall mechanical operation of industrial, commercial and residential systems," he explains.

So he set out to learn and ended up dedicating himself to increasing this knowledge by spending thousands of hours in the field with customers collecting data. Eventually those customers ask him to write down what he'd to share with them. They also wanted him to TEACH them by conducting training classes.

"Overcoming my lack of confidence to speak and train, I developed the first combustion testing protocols and field diagnostics using a digital combustion analyzer. I am so fortunate and grateful for NCI for embracing the same values and allowing me to continue my combustion crusade. 100% of the combustion taught at NCI is based on hands-on field experience and actual results. I continue to research new information and seek out additional accomplishments and feedback from the field. This contributes to the continual update of knowledge to be shared with everyone."

Fun Fact:
Jim claims he has a fear of small containers and dirt on top of him. He also says that he enjoys doing things with family which isn't always as often as he'd like.

"I also like to play golf," he adds, "but there are worms, birds, fish and frogs that wish I wouldn't. It seems that bowling is the only sport left I can still beat my brother and nephew."

Scott Fielder - Director, National Balancing Council

As the director of the National Balancing Council (NBC), Scott's responsibilities include vetting and approving all applicants for certification, developing and modifying course and exam material, providing both technical and administrative support to NBC Certified Professionals, promoting NBC to future applicants, contractors, design teams, and facilities owners. Furthermore, he instructs and provides support for course development on the NCI side of the house.

Scott has more than 16 years of experience in the testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) field. Much of that time was spent in Texas working for one of the largest TAB firms in the country. His responsibilities included TAB, commissioning and retro-commissioning office manager, field supervisor, training Supervisor, Estimator for both Austin/San Antonio Area and National Military/Federal Government, National Accounts Manager and more.

He's a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Defense Language Institute & John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. And if that's not enough, Scott has 12 years in the US Army serving in both intelligence and special operations.

"Aside from being owned by Ft. Bragg for that entire time, duty stations include Berlin, Turkey and Haiti," he says.

Fun Fact:
For fun, Scott belongs to the American Legion (PUFL), and has held offices at both Post and District levels. When not doing that, he says he likes fishing, hunting, and cooking. "I especially enjoy cooking with my teen-aged daughter and passing down family traditions," he says. "It's like a living photo album that someday I hope she passes along as well."

Despite being located in Cleveland, OH, Scott has the nerve to be a rabid Steelers and Penguins fan. "That's why I don't own any winter gear that isn't black and gold."

Scott enjoys movies, particular 1930s Weimar-era German Cinema and the 1970s American wave that brought us Scorsese, De Palma, Coppola and Spielberg.

"Also," he says, "people are not wearing enough hats."

Brad Higgins, Instructor

Brad has over 20 years of residential and commercial HVAC and commercial refrigeration field experience. He is NCI's newest instructor based in Southern Florida.

Brad got his start in the HVAC industry by coming in as a helper with a large HVAC and Plumbing contractor in Newark, Ohio. He then attended HVACR Training with CTEC and became certified in multiple areas through the Service Excellence program. Throughout his career, Brad installed and serviced residential, light commercial, commercial, and industrial HVAC/R systems. He also owned an HVAC service company, where he was responsible for engineering, designing, building and installing systems and control panels for a variety of applications. Brad also ran a consulting company teaching other companies service and sales practices, based on system performance, and customer service.

Brad has earned many HVAC certifications from manufacturers and organizations such as NCI, NATE and Service Excellence. Brad also earned a teaching certification from the Ohio Department of Education for adult learning in Trades Curriculum.

Fun Facts:
He loves golf, motorcycles, kayaking, diving, and competitive shooting

David Holt - Business Training and Coaching

David joined NCI in 2011. He tells the story that he was invited to come on board by Dominick Guarino via a Facebook message. Initially his job was to focus on training contractors how to implement the performance-based processes into their business. Today he is still very active in doing that, but is also responsible for content development for a number of the classes NCI develops and teaches as well as the content for the company's in-person training events.

In addition, David is an NCI coach - where he brings his expertise and knowledge in house for contractors who are looking for guidance on how to implement strategies into their business.

He has a storied HVAC career including starting his own company, H2 Solutions, which he ultimately sold, starting a coaching and training business called Ultimate Service Systems, and eventually joined his brother's company, Profit Strategies. When that firm relocated to New York, David decided not to move with them and eventually found his way into the NCI family.

Fun Fact:
David will tell you that he loves technology of all kinds. His personal toy box is full of gadgets like smartphones, a crazy collection of cameras from Nikon, Sony and GoPro, and various computers of all shapes and sizes.

"I even have the original Compaq "Portable" computer my wife bought me after we got married in 1984! It is the same computer I used to start my software company back in 1985," he says.

John Puryear - Instructor

John Puryear had a varied background in the HVAC industry that dates back to 1973 when he helped his family's landlord replace an oil floor furnace with a forced air oil furnace with ductwork. He joined NCI in February, 2011 as an instructor.

John met Rob Falke in 2000 and says "that my life changed forever." He became one of the first 50 members of NCI's membership program. He attended NCI's second "Boot Camp" in 2003 and from what he learned there, developed an implementation process that he used with the first contractor he went to work for. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fun Fact:
John enjoys spending time and playing with his three grandchildren, twins Jaxon & Gauge, and Emory. He is also a fan of boating up and down the James River with his wife, Tina. John adds that he is an avid reader and loves researching answers to HVAC questions.

David Richardson - Curriculum Developer & Instructor

David joined the National Comfort Institute full time in 2010 as a curriculum developer and trainer. In this role, he develops and teaches practical, real-world training focused on the HVAC and Home Performance industries.

He has been involved in Performance-based contracting since 2001. This experience allowed him the opportunity to diagnose and correct many HVAC and Home Performance issues over the past decade.

In addition, David writes monthly columns for various industry publications to help increase awareness on the importance of performance testing. David is a regular presenter at many industry conferences working to spread the message of Performance-based contracting.

Besides holding all NCI certifications, David has held certifications as a HERS rater, BPI building analyst, and is a BPI field and written exam proctor.

Fun Fact:
David is a recent convert to the Macintosh Way and has become a Jedi Knight, working towards the defeat of all things that are not of the Apple Computer persuasion. May the Force be with you.

Jeff Sturgeon - Field Coach & Instructor

Jeff Sturgeon joins NCI with more than 30 years of residential and commercial HVAC and commercial refrigeration field experience. He is NCI's newest field coach and instructor based in Southern California. Jeff will be working directly with dozens of contractors and their field personnel to help insure successful implementation of Southern California Edison's Commercial Quality Installation and Renovation program managed by NCI.

Jeff got his start in the HVAC industry by attending UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout his career, Jeff installed and serviced residential, light commercial, commercial, and industrial HVAC/R systems. He also worked for an HVAC controls manufacturer, where he was responsible for engineering, designing, building and installing control panels for a variety of applications. Jeff also held the position of regulatory compliance auditor for the E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) and the N.R.C. (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), performing compliance audits at military and government contractor sites.

Jeff has earned many HVAC certifications from manufacturers and organizations such as NCI, NATE and IHACI. Over the past decade, he has been actively involved in the field in many Southern California Edison Energy Efficiency programs, including the Residential and Commercial Quality Installation and Quality Maintenance program where he was responsible for the design, installation, service and commissioning of over 1500 HVAC systems.

Paul Wieboldt - Instructor

In 1993, Paul Wieboldt founded Tradesman Heating and Air Conditioning Services in Waco, Texas. In 1999, they had the honor of installing geothermal systems in the Crawford, Texas ranch home of President and Mrs. George W. Bush. That same year he founded Tradewinds Appropriate Technologies. Tradewinds performs home energy analyses, Energy Star HERS ratings, and residential and commercial services. Paul is a licensed HVAC contractor, NATE certified technician and NBI certified residential and light commercial air balancing and diagnostic technician. Paul also holds an NBC TAB supervisor commercial certification. Since 2005, Paul has trained hundreds of HVAC contractors on behalf of the National Comfort Institute in air balancing and diagnostics. He also has been the lead curriculum developer of our Redesign Series.