Skip to main content

Achtung! Harbin heading to Germany

By July 13, 2022No Comments
Tanner Harbin, an apprentice refrigeration and HVAC mechanic at Skyline Refrigeration, will be heading to Germany this fall to compete in the WorldSkills Competition after winning the nationals and the provincial this spring. Supplied Photo


Tanner Harbin, an apprentice refrigeration and HVAC mechanic with Skyline Refrigeration in Lloydminster, is brushing up on his German.

The 21-year-old is also fine-tuning his craft before he heads to Germany to compete in the WorldSkills Competition this fall.

Harbin qualified for the Worlds by finishing first at Skills Canada Alberta this spring in Edmonton and first at the Skills Canada National Competition in Vancouver—and is training to up his A-game.

He takes his schooling at NAIT where course teachers are helping him prep for the Worlds.

“It will be way tougher. All the countries will have somebody there. There could be 50 people,” said Harbin.

Since qualifying for the Worlds, he has been on the receiving end of kudos and congratulations from everyone at Skyline, including company owner, Keith Freeman.

“It’s really exciting. He’s had the opportunity to work his way through provincials, then go to nationals and now off to Germany for the Worlds,” said Freeman.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s for sure.”

Freeman says Harbin has been with Skyline for three years and will become a journeyman in two more years.

“He is an outstanding employee—a one in a million. We’re fortunate to have Tanner work with us,” he said.

Freeman says Skyline has a number of outstanding employees who have made the dean’s list for refrigeration and HVAC and also for pipefitting over the years.

He credits the apprenticeship program and on-the-job training with experienced journeymen at Skyline for a lot of his employees’ success, including Harbin’s. 

“Their desire to learn is a huge part of it too,” said Freeman.

 Harbin’s skills relating to the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of mechanical and electrical components and HVAC were put to the test at the nationals.

“I had to make a little dual temp cooler/freezer box project. They give you some parts and you have to build other parts,” said Harbin.

Freeman says contestants are required to pipe it and weld it together and do all the electrical and wire it with controls.

They are also tasked with showing their troubleshooting skills on HVAC equipment.

“They look at how long it takes and the process they use and reading wire diagrams and stuff like that. So it’s pretty intense,” said Freeman.

“You’ve got to be able to think on your feet. There’s people watching you and critiquing what you do.”

Freeman says finding solutions and working under pressure and under tough climate conditions is part of the job at Skyline.

“You really have to know what you’re doing, so you’re not wasting the customer’s time,” he said.

“To be able to have a skilled apprentice who is able to stick around in trades, we’re pretty fortunate for sure.”

Freeman and three partners took over Skyline a few years ago from his dad, who founded the business 45 years ago and has expanded services into sheet metal, pipefitting and boiler work in the oilfield and commercial sectors.

Harbin does mostly service work on heating and ventilation and air conditioning and service on refrigeration in grocery stores and supermarkets.

“We have a wide variety of equipment we work on, so the guys have to be quite well rounded on quite a few things,” said Freeman.

“The guys we have are usually long-term employees. We do our best to treat them well because we know they are hard to come by.”