Meet the Experts

Our Skilled Trades Experts

Our SkillMill  online skilled trades courses are built by trusted industry experts and instructional design professionals who understand what top technicians need to know. These experts cover the foundational elements – tools, measurements, codes – and also provide real-world use cases.

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Plumbing Expert

Frank Garro

HVAC Expert

Tim Smith

Electrical Expert

Chad Soucy

Multi-Family Expert

Krista Washbourne

Solar Expert

Mark Mrohs

In Memoriam

Jeff Hazel

Plumbing Expert

Frank Garro

"Over the years, I've learned a lot of lessons by doing things the hard way, making mistakes and going back to fix them,” he says. “Interplay Learning is the best way for me to reach the most people and train them how to do their job without learning the hard way."

About

Frank began his career in the plumbing trade. He worked for a company that also did HVAC work. A chance to visit the ASHRAE trade show in Chicago gave him the unique chance to explore the inside of a rooftop unit on display that was large enough to literally walk inside. Immediately, he was hooked. The experience inspired him to begin studying HVAC at the local community college and 18 years later he became the Program Chair of the HVAC department at the Fort Wayne campus of Ivy Tech.

As an educator, Garro is a firm believer in teaching the fundamentals, or as he says, “the science that supports the mechanical systems we interact with every day,” adding that, “If you understand the how and the why behind the way mechanical things work, there are no limits to what you can do and your value (earning potential) will continually increase.” Over the years, Frank has taught in a variety of situations, from one-on-one apprenticeship training to classroom and lab environments, and has even developed his own course materials. But he feels that the biggest thing a technician can gain from training is confidence – something Interplay Learning’s unique training experiences instill. “In my early days as a technician, when I would approach a piece of equipment I had never seen before I would stare at it like a deer in headlights,” he reveals. “I believe we can take the intimidation out of learning complex concepts, accelerate the productivity of new employees and also expose the more seasoned technician to things they have not yet encountered in the field.”

 

Accreditations

  • Associate Professor and HVAC Program Chair, Ivy Tech Community College
  • Owner, Consolidated Mechanical Services
  • Licensed Mechanical Contractor
  • Licensed Plumbing Contractor
  • Licensed Electrical Contractor
  • Six Sigma Yellow Belt, 2016
  • State Curriculum Chair, 2017-20

Education

  • BS, Building Construction Management, Purdue University
  • MS, Career and Technical Education, Purdue University

Projects

  • Removing Barriers in CTE Courses for Special Needs Learners.
  • Reaching High School Students with CTE – Construction Trades Education.
  • Setting up college based and high school based dual credit for Mechanical Construction Trades in the greater Fort Wayne, IN region.
  • Developing a Program Website to Encourage Student Involvement and Increase Retention Rates.
HVAC Expert

Tim Smith

"I authored an entirely new curriculum, one that reflected current changes and technology in the industry. I believe Interplay is on the cutting edge when it comes to technical education, and I love being a part of it."

About

  • 32 years in the HVAC Industry
  • BPI Certified Building Analyst, Heating Professional and AC/Heat Pump Professional
  • President of Smith & Associates, specializing in tech training and certifications

Tim Smith, an Interplay Learning HVAC Expert fell into HVAC work a bit by accident. After losing his job as a hotel and restaurant manager, he leaned on a lifelong love of (and talent for) fixing electrical and mechanical systems to fuel a career shift, enrolling in an HVAC/R program at Hudson Valley Community College. He found the work interesting, challenging and he was great at it. Twenty-nine years later, after working in the field for a few decades, he returned to teach at his alma mater, serving as Senior Professor. Now helps shepherd techs through our VR and 3D HVAC learning modules as well.

 

Tim believes that HVAC professionals that truly excel are those who are at their core good communicators, able to relate to customers, have good reading comprehension and math skills, and are consummate professionals. Most of all, he believes that great techs are at their core problem solvers.

 

Connectedly, he’s a big believer in up-to-date training as a key step to becoming a better technician. “When I came to teach at Hudson Valley Community College, the HVAC Refrigeration program was very dated,” he says. “I authored an entirely  new curriculum, one that reflected current changes and technology in the industry. I believe Interplay is on the cutting edge when it comes to technical education, and I love being a part of it.”

 

Accreditations

  • President of Smith & Associates, providing HVACR Technical Training, Certification Testing and Residential Energy Audits 1993 to Present
  • Assistant Professor Heating Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technical Services, Hudson Valley Community College, Troy New York August 1990 to Present
  • BPI Certified Building Analyst, Heating Professional and AC/Heat Pump Professional

Education

  • B.S., Technical Education State University of New York at Oswego
  • Accredited, AOS Heating Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technical Services. Hudson Valley Community College
Electrical Expert

Chad Soucy

"My role here at interplay learning is to build robust electrical training experiences with all the tools & technology available, it’s a dream come true! I believe my field experience enhances my ability to deliver self-directed learning."

About

  • 30 years experience in the electrical trade
  • Master Electrician
  • Licenses; construction electrical, Industrial electrician, Industrial Instrumentation technician trades
  • 5 plus years as electrical instructor and Online course developer
  • Experienced Electrical safety Instructor (NFPA 70e, NEC)

Chad serves as the Electric SME for Interplay Learning.

 

Throughout Chad’s career, he has been fortunate enough to work in several aspects of the electrical industry. Starting out rewiring houses with his dad and uncle, Chad’s early experience led him to become a contractor; rewiring apartment buildings, stores and offices. Chad then went on to join the IBEW. In his earlier career, he spent a lot of time traveling throughout the United States; Pickney High School in Ann Arbor MI, Hy-Vee grocery store in Lincoln NE, apartment complexes in St.Paul MI and commissioning electrical systems and instruments at a local refinery. Chad continued on with his training and actually ended up traveling for most of his career as an electrician. Eventually, all that travel landed him a great new opportunity in 2012 as an electrical apprenticeship instructor.

 

Chad prides himself on always being his best and bringing the best out in his co-workers and students. He’s a dedicated, hard worker; consistently improving, and practicing adult learning theories combined with NFPA 70(E), NEC and trade practices. Chad continuously adds to his skillset and is committed to electrical safety and sound adult learning theories. These are what represents his core values, grounded with a growth mindset of a lifelong learner.

 

Accreditations

  • IBEW Training Trustee
  • IBEW Health & Wellness Trustee
  • IBEW EEAP Trustee
  • Mike Holt train the trainer

Education

  • Grande Prairie Regional College Online Course Developer
  • Grande Prairie Regional College Master Electrician
  • NBCCSJ Construction/Industrial Electrician
  • NBCCSJ Instrumentation technician
  • NBCCSJ Maine state electrical license
  • ATS computer programming
  • Vancouver career college Adult Ed
  • York University MEAE

Projects

  • Founder of IBEW local 502, Training center
  • Developed a dual credit program for Northern Lights College
  • Developed the E&I training program for Northern Lights College
Multi-Family Expert

Krista Washbourne

"Nowhere can things be going so well one minute, then be complete chaos the next. Rarely does one job encompass community outreach, quick repairs, financial analysis, maintenance diagnosing and sometimes childcare worker all in the same day. It is that very thrill that keeps so many of us within apartment management for the majority of our careers."

About

 

Krista Washbourne joined Interplay Learning as a multi-family and training consultant in 2020.

 

Her 20+ years of apartment management experience has encompassed corporate marketing and learning roles, most recently as the Vice President of Learning & Talent Development for Lincoln Property Company, the second largest apartment owner/manager in the country.

 

Her passion is helping companies create a modern learning and engagement experience that embraces the individual’s unique talents and teamwork to drive the company forward.

 

She partners with executive leadership, departments, and on-the-ground teams to identify, create, and champion needed culture initiatives; talent management; HR tech; Software/Ops initiatives; and soft/hard skill gaps. By linking culture and learning outcomes to business, she aids companies in directly improving their leadership and coaching, hiring decisions, time to proficiency, promotions, turnover and overall company engagement.

Solar Expert

Mark Mrohs

"I think solar technology is one of those few things in our modern world that inspires everyone."

About

  • 40+ years in solar PV
  • Degrees in Physics and Educational Psychology & Instructional Technology
  • Instructed 1000+ installers and engineers in 26 countries

A photovoltaics expert, experienced instructor and accomplished mime, Mark Mrohs serves as Interplay Learning’s Solar SME, working with our team of designers, programmers and 3D artists to create a full curriculum on residential solar. He’s been working in the industry his entire life. As a matter of fact, ever since a love of physics in high school led to a summer gig as a technician at Spectrolab—in the company’s burgeoning solar cell R&D department. After high school graduation, the company hired Mark, and the rest is history.

 

Mark brings unbridled energy and a passion for solar (which he enthusiastically describes as “magical, awesome physics,”) and its benefits to consumers to the Interplay team. “I think solar technology is one of those few things in our modern world that inspires everyone,” he says.

 

“There’s just something so great about seeing a house electric meter spin BACKWARDS, and a homeowner’s eyes going wide with delight and wonder and satisfaction.”

 

He’s also a huge proponent of the benefits, but moreover promise of VR training for technical trades like solar installation and maintenance. “I love the fact that Interplay decided to jump all in to doing everything in VR as well as for computer screens, and that we are right at the front of the wave of this VR revolution,” Mark says. “For me, having done years of training in specialized classrooms with heavy, expensive equipment, I immediately see the benefit of being able to simulate hands-on activity in the virtual world – you can do it anywhere in the world, you can update to the latest equipment easily and inexpensively, you can train on dozens of scenarios that you might never get to see in a training class, you get to use your whole body and mind and so you really ‘get it’ much better than through lecture, and it’s super fun!”

 

 

Accreditations

  • Training Director for ARCO Solar, Siemens Solar, Astropower, SunPower and SunEdison
  • Member of the NABCEP Exam Review Committee
  • Program Manager and Lead Instructor, 1st World Bank-funded national photovoltaic training program in India

Education

  • B.S., Physics, Harvey Mudd College
  • Masters, Instructional Technology and Educational Psychology, USC

Awards

  • Institute for Sustainable Power Mark C. Fitzgerald Memorial Award
  • SunPower Corp. Excellence in Training Award
  • IREC Special Recognition Award
In Memoriam

Jeff Hazel

"Education is the backbone of life and empowering people through knowledge makes me feel good as a person. At the end of the day, we’re not looking for people to just fill a job, we’re looking for them to have a rewarding career and feel better about themselves."

About

 

Jeff Hazel (1968-2021) joined Interplay Learning as a multi-family and training consultant in 2020.

 

He is the Service Training Manager at Edward Rose & Sons and a top multi-family training and development expert with decades of experience.

 

With an unmatched ability to optimize the bottom line, Jeff skillfully creates and implements highly effective corporate training programs that not only greatly increase revenue, but meaningful decrease operational costs.

 

Jeff prides himself in his ability to foster a deep culture of learning among his maintenance staff and is trailblazing the industry with his unique approach to talent and career development.