Instead Kauffman earned three, a trip to Las Vegas and new tools for himself and Tidewater Community College’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning, cooling and refrigeration (HVAC/R) program.
“I never expected any of this,” said Kauffman, working toward his Associate of Applied Science in HVAC/R.
The Virginia Beach master firefighter, anticipating retirement in the next five years, plans to make a career in the HVAC/R industry. He decided to return to school to learn a trade he’s always had interest in.
“I’ve been very pleased with the program,” he said. “The knowledge base of all the professors is amazing. They’ve been very influential to me.”
Kauffman earned his first scholarship through the TCC Educational Foundation. He received the Eric Bean Memorial Scholarship, established by Evelyn E. Bean in memory of her husband, a TCC alumnus who worked in the air conditioning/heating business.
Last fall, he was one of 37 students in the nation to receive the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. scholarship, a $2,000 award designated specifically for students in HVAC/R.
In December, Kauffman earned the grand prize in the 2016 Retool Your Future scholarship contest from tool manufacturer hilmor to support the next generation of HVAC/R technicians.
In addition to a $5,000 scholarship, Kauffman will receive a starter set of tools and a trip to the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) at the end of January in Las Vegas. The convention brings together 2,000 exhibitors to share new products, technologies and ideas.
“It will be a great networking opportunity,” Kauffman said.
The bonus for TCC: As a result of Kauffman’s scholarship, TCC will receive a $5,000 set of lab tools to benefit students in the program.
“We’re always in need of new tools,” said Harlan Krepcik, who heads the college’s HVAC/R program. As TCC does not require its students to buy any tools, “these will help enhance the ability for us to provide the hands-on training they need.”
Kauffman anticipates a graduation date of May 2018 from TCC and will either seek immediate employment or work toward his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at Ferris State University.
A graduate of Great Bridge High School, Kauffman and his family reside in Chesapeake.