In 1982, Roger and Onna Lee Ford moved from Danville, IL, to Paducah Kentucky where Roger was admitted to Western Kentucky Community and Technical School to further his education in HVAC/R.
In one of his classes, his professor said; “if someone were smart, they would get into absorption refrigeration”. Roger began researching and found that these refrigerators are in Recreational Vehicles such as motorhomes, coaches, pull behind campers, pop-ups, 5th wheels, horse trailers, off the grid, preppers, and Amish communities. Roger obtained an RV refrigerator from a local RV dealer and began doing research and development on the refrigerator.
For two years, every evening after work and on the weekends, Roger would work until the early hours of the morning, figuring out how these refrigerators work and how to repair the cooling unit that houses the chemical mixture which creates the cooling. Next he started developing the charging formulas, the customized recharging tools and the necessary steps for quality control on the repair procedures.
In 1984, after Roger had mastered all of these, he and Onna Lee decided to go into the RV refrigerator reconditioning repair business. Unlike many in the RV business who usually recommend throwing the refrigerator away, Roger and Onna Lee have been able to provide a quality product while saving the consumer money as well as reducing our carbon footprint by keeping repairable refrigerators out of our landfills.
From 1984 to today, Roger and Onna Lee Ford have been reconditioning and repairing RV refrigerators. In 1990, they outgrew that small shop and moved 30 miles south east to Benton, KY, to expand their operation. For a year or so they shipped their reconditioned cooling units to service centers. However, found that the “one size fits all” idea does not apply to these cooling units. A few technicians would call and complain that the cooling unit did not work properly. When they sent the unit back to the Ford’s, they discovered that the technicians had remove too much urethane when installing it to the cabinet which reduced the quality of the final product.
The Ford’s then decided it would be best to train others in this field. That way, they could do their own reconditioning of these units. In 1994, they wrote the first and only step-by-step manual on reconditioning the RV refrigerator cooling unit known as “The Ford Procedures”. They later wrote, “Average Joe’s RV Refrigerator Troubleshooting and Repair Guide”.
FRVRTC also videos each student, before and after their training. To see an example of this, view the video:
After a few years of training others, they realized they could offer a much better program as a school. For seven years, the Ford’s applied for a school license to the Kentucky Commission of Education. Each time the same two questions were asked and answered.
Question: Who taught you?
Answer: Roger developed what would be included in the training program through his own R&D.
Question: What school can we compare you to?
Answer: No school offers a comprehensive training comparable to what the Ford’s offer.
Since those two answers lead them to no one else, their application was repeatedly denied for six years. Finally, in 2014, Roger and Onna Lee, convinced the Kentucky Commission of Education, that they were the pioneers of comprehensive RV Refrigeration Reconditioning Training.
In 2014, the Kentucky Commission of Education granted the training center a school license. In 2016, the Veterans Administration of Education also recognized them as a training center which opened the door for Veterans who qualify, to utilize their GI Bill® for the Ford’s RV Refrigeration Training program, manuals and customized tools.
Helping veterans is of the utmost importance to Roger and Onna Lee. When Roger tried to enlist in the military, he was denied acceptance in every branch of the service. When Roger was a child, he developed rheumatic fever and therefore could not pass the military’s physical. Since that time, Roger and Onna Lee have been major supporters of our troops. So, when the school was recognized by the Veterans Administration, Roger and Onna Lee were ecstatic needless to say.
Once the Veterans Administration application was approved, Ford’s RV Refrigeration Training Center became eligible to accept the 9/11 GI Bill®. The Ford’s were so happy to know that this not only covered the tuition but everything that is included in the Ford’s training package such as manuals and the customized tools required.
This field is great for Veterans because there isn’t an RV refrigerator repair center on every corner. It’s a career that is unique and in demand across the nation. It’s a job where you can be your own boss and work at your own pace. It can be done on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis to supplement an income.
FRVRTC provides 3 Certification training programs. Students may choose one of the following:
R101-one week- level one Certification
R103-two weeks-level two Certification
R104-three weeks-Master Certification
FRVRTC also provides an informational course, R105, for RV owners, techs who want to know how to do minor troubleshooting and basic repairs.
The Customized Tool Set consists of many items required to successfully recondition the RV refrigerator cooling unit.
Once students have completed their training and are ready to start receiving business, they can advertise on the FRVRTC web site. RV owners are searching for those trained by FRVRTC.
For more information on the training, manuals and customized tools, please visit their website rvrefrigeration.com.