Two WWCC instructors earn national credentials


WALLA WALLA -- Two Walla Walla Community College instructors are being recognized for earning national awards.

Heating and cooling technology instructor Michael Houdak has achieved the Certified Master HVACR Educator credential after completing a series of rigorous exams. Houdak is one of just 30 instructors who have completed and passed seven required exams to achieve the credential, according to HVAC Excellence, which administers the exams and certification.

The company notes exams given to instructors are different from those given to students and technicians in the field. The purpose of the exams is to recognize that HVAC instructors hold a deeper understanding of the subject and theory than a student or person in the field. The specialized exams are designed so instructors are not being tested on curriculum that might be taught in the classroom.

To pass, Houdak needed to score 80 percent or better in six specific exam areas, as well as a seventh capstone exam covering technical education methodologies, principles and practices.

Carpentry instructor Larry Harding has achieved Certified Green Professional certification and was recognized during this month's Board of Trustees meeting.

WWCC President Steve VanAusdle presented Harding with an award for completing courses in green building and business management. Harding completed the courses through the Building Industry Association of Washington.

Harding is a fourth-generation Walla Walla native who has been in the construction industry all his life, the college notes. He has taught carpentry at the college since 1988, spending the first five years teaching at the Washington State Penitentiary before becoming a carpentry program instructor on the main campus in 1993. Harding's carpentry students build residential homes from start to finish in a hands-on learning environment. Homes are then sold, and proceeds returned to students through WWCC Foundation scholarships.

Through the carpentry program, Harding and students have built 17 residential homes, and also built the Parent Child Center on the college campus.

Students' current house project is the program's second Build Green Certified home, using the Tri-Cities Home Builder's Association Built Green checklist.

"The college is excited to recognize Mike Houdak, HVAC instructor, and Larry Harding, carpentry instructor, for successfully completing respective industry certification trainings and integrating these innovative technologies into their instructional programs," said Mindy Stevens, vice president of instruction and Workforce Education, in an email.

Maria Gonzalez can be reached at or 526-8317.


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