Product Trainers at Rheem: Glenn Morris
September 15, 2022
There is a saying that goes, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” What most usually don’t quote is the words that come after it, saying, “But oftentimes better than a master of one.” Glenn is a product trainer and content developer at Rheem who says he resonates with this. He has worn many hats in his career. He started off in mechanical engineering, then transitioned into high school teaching in subjects like engineering, drafting, audio, video and graphic art and design. Here at Rheem®, he has gone back to his family’s roots in plumbing while doing what he’s always loved to do – being an educator at heart.
Familiarity with the Trade
Glenn is different from our purely plumbing-focused trainers. His plumbing exposure comes from high school when he trained on the job with his grandfather and uncle in their trade companies. Even though Glenn does not have a formal plumbing background, he has always been around trade work. As a former career leader in his county, he has inspired potential students to pursue different careers, including in trade jobs. Now, he is facilitating plumber trainings behind the scenes, where he works best.
Supporting Technical Growth and Development
Q: Why did you get into product training and content development?
A: I have always been in a job where the basic function is teaching an idea to someone whether this be school age or adults. It’s all about getting information to them in a way that they understand. With over 20 years teaching in the public school system, it gave me experience in helping gauge a person’s best learning style and how to disseminate that information. Coming to work for Rheem was very similar. It was just changing one age group for another. I have always liked the idea of helping a person grow and that is what product training and content development does.
Q: What drew you to plumbing and working with plumbers?
A: My experience as a teenager was working with my grandfather who owned an electrical and plumbing business and my uncle who did HVAC, so I have been around the profession. As a teacher, I was in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) disciplines and then ultimately became a CTE director for a county. Being around CTE educators and students, I got to see some of the best in our young adults who went into these types of jobs. So it was a no-brainer for me to want to work with plumbers by not only helping them gain technical knowledge but helping change their perception to those outside of the profession.
Q: What is your favorite memory of a time you helped a plumber?
A: I’ll give you my most recent experience. Right before I was to go on vacation, I got an email from a company in Bermuda asking for help, especially with our heat pump water heater products. It just so happened that our cruise was going to Bermuda for three days, so my wife graciously let me spend a few hours with the company and we talked about their training needs and how we could help them.
Q: What is your proudest moment as a product trainer and content developer?
A: This would be how we handled our transition during the pandemic. In 2020, we left the office in early March. It was to be for two weeks, but everyone knows what happened. So at the end of March, we were asked, “How are we still going to hold training?” The other trainer and I flipped training from completely in-person to all-digital training in a 10-day period. We also added the ability to create on-demand training. This included learning the platform, writing procedures for others to follow, setting up the branding and look, training internal users and setting up the scheduling. We did it. We trained multiple business units and even helped some of our suppliers get set up. It was a hectic, but amazing turnaround.
Q: What course material is your favorite to develop?
A: I like the introductory or 101 material. It gets me back to my roots, creating material for people who are new to the profession who can come in and get that foundational knowledge. Once they grasp the basics, we can expand and make them more technical learners. It’s satisfying to see someone grow like that.
Q: Tell us about a time that you faced a challenge in your product training and overcame it.
A: I would say the biggest challenge is getting people to step outside their comfort zone when it involves technology. By helping them understand why we do something, most people are then receptive. One of our goals is to help people navigate this new world where products do have a technological component and it’s great to see when a person overcomes their techno-fears and truly sees how this is beneficial for them. That is the reward in the challenge, seeing the person have an “Aha!” or “Eureka!” moment of understanding.
Q: One more thing…
A: There are so many new and exciting things coming ahead here at Rheem. Knowing the history we have in the plumbing world, it is exciting to see where we are headed for the future. What we are trying to do is take training to a whole new and different level. Again, exciting things I wish I could talk about now, but with the positive results I see every day in the enhancements we are making, I think everyone will have ample opportunities to grow with us.
Our trainers conduct in-person and online training, develop curriculum, answer plumber and homeowner questions about products, film product informational videos and provide customized training sessions for plumbing companies. We’ve built a team with a cumulative of 350 years of experience as plumbers to make sure that our team can answer questions based on first-hand experience.
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