Eddie Howl in front of his company truck.Everywhere Eddie Lee Howell looks, he is reminded of Big Sandy Community and Technical College.

Howell, 29, of Inez, graduated from BSCTC in 2004 with a diploma in HVAC. After spending five years working for Alpha Mechanical, he took the plunge, opening Howells Heating and Cooling last year.

I just had to do it, said Howell. This was something I always wanted to do.

Howell started with two employees both BSCTC graduates and his staff has grown to five. And, yes, they all attended BSCTC.

I got a quality start at Big Sandy Community and Technical College, and when I was looking to hire, I was very confident when my technicians said they were trained at Big Sandy, he said.

While attending Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Howell was mentored by Bob Sluss, who works for Collins Creek Services in Martin County.

I was able to apply what I was learning at Big Sandy while working with Bob, Howell explained. It was a blessing, and I knew I was doing what I wanted to do.

Howell, a Sheldon Clark High School graduate, took advantage of the technical education provided at the Martin County Area Technology Center. Thats where he met Mike Vance, an electricity teacher at the school.

Mike taught me that the skills I was learning were in demand, Howell said. I then realized I wanted to explore a career as an HVAC technician.

While working for Collins Creek Services, Howell earned his journeyman license, which allows technicians to work under a master license holder. In 2005, he earned his master license and immediately took a job with Alpha Mechanical.

I learned so much about the industry working for Collins Creek Services and Alpha, and I think it gave me a good foundation in opening my business, said Howell.

The business started as a part-time venture, but Howell left his job in January to focus on his business full time.

It has paid off.

It was a leap of faith, but I was ready, he explained. Business picked up immediately, forcing him to add employees and open a storefront office in early March.

Howell said Big Sandy Community and Technical College prepared him for the workplace.

The education I got at Big Sandy was quality and it prepared me to enter the workforce with confidence, he said. I wouldnt be where I am today, if it wasnt for the college.

Howells Heating and Cooling offers a full-line of HVAC and refrigeration services. For more information, call (606) 298-0367.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Air Conditioning Technology on our Hager Hill campus. They offer diplomas in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Mechanic and certificates in Environmental Control System Servicer, Environmental System Repair Helper, Domestic Air Conditioner and Furnace Installer and Refrigeration Mechanic.

For more information on our Air Conditioning Technology program, contact Eric Campbell at (606) 788-2847 or email