The National Oil Heat Research Alliance (NORA) has used money funded by Congress for continued education and the research and development of new oil heating equipment. However, the programs are in grave danger of extinction because Congress has not approved the funds necessary to move the industry forward. What will happen now to a program that has been providing successful training aids along with new equipment technology for several years? An example of such recent technology: a U.S. manufactured high / low fire residential oil burner that offers a 50 percent turn down ratio and supports the goal of better efficiency and less oil consumption.
The Silver and Gold certification programs are also at risk. These programs through the NORA recertification requirements help to assure that service technicians are moving ahead in training in order to service the new equipment entering the market place.
Let me now offer my own opinion. First of all, NORA or some support program is a must in order for the oil industry to continue moving forward in providing the ongoing research necessary to develop products. These products will not only support more efficient systems, less oil consumption, but also help to keep the air that we breathe clean for generations to come.
In the area of education, if we do not continue to provide continuing education and recertification, we will fall victims to our own demise and the competition. I wonder how many of us could have survived today with the training we received on servicing the GE boilers, the Williams Oil O Matic, or the Winkler burners? So what is the answer? A quote expressed to me many years ago, “When you’re living in the past, you’re dead in the present and have no future.”
We have always found a way to overcome adversity, and I’m sure we will survive even without NORA funding if necessary, once a plan of tactics and strategy is in place. I would begin by enlisting some of the best business minds available and there are many from within this industry. They should come from areas such as marketing, manufacturing, financial and education, to name a few.
The National Oil Heat Service Managers Association has been mentioned as being a possible successor to NORA. I think with the success NAOHSM has demonstrated for many years in supporting continued education and with financial support, ongoing education can and should remain in place. Next, band together the manufacturers, possibly through the Oilheat Manufacturers Association to provide support for Brookhaven’s R&D programs.
I’m also sure much of the NORA material already in place is usable, even with future updates. In the years to come, we may see more online education and recertification. Finally, I ask everyone to support both NORA and join a NAOHSM chapter in your area. Never give up!