Lopez Named Best in the State

DACC instructor Edward Lopez is the New Mexico Post-secondary Teacher of the Year, as named by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE®).

Lopez began teaching at Dona Ana Community College (DACC) in 1988 and was hired as a full time instructor in 2008. He is an Associate Professor in the Heating, Ventilation, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) discipline. He has been an active in the trade for 38 years and was one of the first graduates of the DACC program. He and his wife Liz Ramirez Lopez have owned and run a HVAC/R business for the past 30 years.

In the classroom he uses traditional and modified lecture techniques and applied laboratory methods for instruction, plus he has incorporated the use of an on-line teaching platform into all of the courses he teaches.

Under the guidance of Lopez, a commercial prototype ducting system was installed in the DACC HVAC/R lab.  His students are able to access data that tracks the efficiency and operation of the system from their cell phones. This prototype heating and cooling system is the only one in the state and gives DACC students extensive experience in operating and maintaining a large commercial system by analyzing heat and cool loads and energy efficiencies.

“I have worked in the HVAC/R industry for many years,” Lopez said. “As a teacher, I wanted to pass along what I had learned to the next generation of technicians so they would know how important it is to do the job right the first time.”

The ACTE® Member Awards recognize excellence and dedication within the field of career and technical education. The Post-secondary Teacher award recognizes the finest career and technical teachers at the college level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.

“The climate in New Mexico creates a demand for skilled technicians in both heating and cooling,” said Saundra Castillo, Dean of the Technical Studies Division. “Every new home, school, public building, shopping mall, or office complex requires installation and service technicians, operating engineers, maintenance foremen, and trained crews to keep complex environmental systems operating efficiently.”

HVAC/R is a very stable industry. The supply of qualified, trained people has not kept pace with the demand, and new opportunities are constantly developing. The DACC program has certifications in HVACR that can be earned in as little as a year.