You may (or may not) have noticed your October PM Engineer digital edition copy looking much different than previous issues. Your eyes are not deceiving you! PM Engineer is one of two BNP Media brands testing out a new digital edition platform to make the user experience better for you — our readers.

Switching to a new digital platform meant our Plumbing Group team had to undergo training to learn how to navigate and use the new tools available. And, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic plaguing the world, and the fact our team is spread out across several states, this training was conducted via video chat. While having the ability to meet virtually has been a real game changer — especially during this era of COVID-19 — it doesn’t necessarily replace the benefits of hands-on, in-person training. While the training the team gave us was informational, it was sink or swim when it came time to actually put the October issue together.

Hopefully, by now, you have adapted to this “new normal” we are all living. Chris Winnie, P.E. CPD, our 2020 Mechanical Engineer of the Year, certainly has. Winnie was actually ahead of the game, being part of the firm, SmithGroup, which has 14 offices located around the United States, and another in China. Winnie works with colleagues in the Detroit office, and as such, has been using video chat, Bluebeam Studio and OneNote to stay collaborative on ongoing projects.

Winnie was chosen as our Mechanical Engineer of the Year in part because of his never-ending drive and excitement to learn about new products and technologies and then share that knowledge with his colleagues and students at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Click here to read more about Winnie.

During these uncertain times, we should all be striving to be more like Winnie. This is the perfect time to better educate yourself and your team, and use that knowledge to differentiate yourself from the competition.

AHR Expo show management recently announced the 2021 show was cancelled. Other industry conferences and tradeshows have been moved to virtual events. And many manufacturers have ramped up online training offerings for engineers, wholesalers and contractors.

In the Radiant Comfort Report winter edition, included with this issue of PM Engineer, Dave Holdorf, wholesale training manager, East region, Taco Comfort Solutions, says COVID-19 is impacting the industry in a positive way. Taco offers 400 different webinars, virtual office hours and trade shows, and in the past several months, it has connected with more than 14,000 people, Holdorf notes.

And a quick glance at shows Watts, Caleffi and the Water Quality Association all have webinar training sessions starting this month on legionella solutions, hydronic systems and commercial industrial RO sizing, respectively. 

There are countless remote training and educational opportunities available in the industry. What are you waiting for?