Interplay Learning Skilled Trades Experts
Mark Mrohs
THE Solar Expert
  • 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 Spectrolabin 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!”

Accredidations

  • 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
  • Mark Mrohs The Solar Expert
    Frank Garro
    HVAC Expert
    • 30 years experience in the trades
    • Holds professional licenses in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades
    • Owner/Operator of a Small mechanical contracting business in Northern Indiana

    Frank serves as one of our duo of HVAC Experts, a job he approaches with a great deal of instructional experience, and a down-to-earth perspective.

     

    “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.”

     

    Frank began his career in the plumbing trade. He worked for a company the 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

  • 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, 2017-19
  • Education

  • BS, Building Construction Management, Purdue University
  • MS, 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.
  • Frank-Garro
    Tim Smith
    HVAC Expert
    • 32 years in the HVAC Industry
    • BPI Certified Building Analyst, Heating Professional and AC/Heat Pump Professional
    • President of Smith & Associates, specialing 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 andResidential Energy Audits 1993 to Present
  • Assistant Professor Heating Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technical Services, Hudson ValleyCommunity 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 ValleyCommunity College
  • Tim-Smith