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National Comfort Institute Welcomes New Team Members


SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio — The National Comfort Institute (NCI) is pleased to announce the addition of new team members to its growing service and training departments.

"Our Southern California office has more than doubled in the past month to help support both Southern California Utility programs and our HVAC and Home Performance contractor training and support effort," said Dominick Guarino, NCI Chairman and CEO. "We are very excited about these new additions."

Mel Johnson joined NCI in April as vice president of California operations. In this role he will spearhead all training and utility support programs in California. Johnson will also be involved in special projects relating to program development in other states.

Johnson was instrumental in the creation of some of the most successful HVAC-related utility programs in the country, including Residential and Commercial Quality Installation, Quality Maintenance, and Quality Renovation programs.

He also helped grow one of the biggest and most successful Workforce Education and Training programs in the US through Southern California Edison. Johnson has the responsibility of creating, communicating, and implementing NCI's mission and overall direction in California.

Gary Hawthorne is NCI's new Southern California operations manager. In this role, Hawthorne will head up day-to-day operations and management of the Southern California-based staff providing training, coaching and utility program management and support.

Hawthorne is a California native and currently resides in La Verne, Calif. with his wife Darlene. He studied engineering at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. and at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Hawthorne is also a business administration graduate of California State University, Los Angeles and received his MBA from Strayer University in Springfield, Pa.

Casey Contreras joins the NCI team as a field coach and quality assurance technician with 10 years of residential, light commercial, installation and service experience. He will be working alongside quality installation contractors involved in Southern California utility programs.

Contreras will focus on helping them apply classroom learning to the field, as well as provide technical mentoring and assistance. He will also performboth field and online Quality Assurance.

Tina Durflinger joins NCI as an administrative assistant for Southern California operations. Her 30-year career in the administrative field includes working as administrative assistant at the Pacific Southwest Christian Church Regional Office which oversees the programs to more than 150 churches in Southern California and Hawaii.

Connie Conklin joins NCI as the new ContractorsIMAGE (CI) manager. Her background includes 36 years in graphic design and editorial layout at Penton Media, Inc., in Cleveland.

Conklin and the NCI communications team are responsible for revamping CI, rebuilding our marketing offerings, and creating a new approach to providing quarterly newsletters for Member Contractors.

For additional information, visit nationalcomfortinstitute.com.