Nexstar Network is developing an online technical training program, NexTech Academy, which is designed to take a person with no experience in plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical work and educate them to become a highly proficient technician.

NexTech Academy’s curriculum integrates Nexstar best practices with step-by-step technical training, testing, and hands-on skill demonstration to be approved by a supervisor in shop. The training program will provide one solution to the recruiting challenge facing the skilled trades.

“Over the last 25 years Nexstar has focused on successfully developing an operating system for the service replacement contractor,” said Jack Tester, Nexstar president and CEO. “We are now moving into technical skills development for the service/replacement technician and installer, and the training content we are building can help our member companies onboard and train new technicians quickly. The technical content, combined with our outstanding customer service training, will make graduates of NexTech Academy world-class technicians and installers.”

Nexstar has hired two technical training coaches to help develop curriculum and work with students in the program after launch.

Jeff Atwell, who is now Nexstar’s plumbing technical coach, has worked in plumbing for more than 30 years. He has worked in commercial and residential plumbing, and most recently was teaching at his local technical school.

Nexstar Vice President of Operations Julian Scadden said Atwell is a passionate and driven plumbing professional and that Nexstar is fortunate to have someone who was already invested in the education of the next generation of plumbing professionals. Atwell said he couldn’t turn down the project once he heard more about it.

“What we are creating is unlike anything else in existence and has the potential to impact thousands of lives; who wouldn’t be excited to be a part of that?” Atwell said.

Brett Sumpter has joined Nexstar as HVAC technical coach. He grew up in a family of tradespeople and spent the last few years working as a trainer for a Nexstar member company.

“Brett is someone I have been aware of for years due to his professionalism and performance,” Scadden said. “He was even named in the ‘Top 40 Under 40’ by the ACHR News in 2016. He has been an advocate and leader in technical training for years.”

Sumpter said helping someone get into the trades or perfect their craft is the most fulfilling part of being a trainer, and he is excited to help members grow their businesses and improve the lives of their technicians.

Nexstar will be offering a preview of NexTech Academy at Super Meeting, Sept. 13 in Washington D.C.

Atwell and Sumpter join a team of 43 dedicated coaches, trainers and support staff who work with plumbing, HVAC and electrical residential service contractors to help them improve their businesses. Nexstar is conducting an open search to hire the best person to help develop content and support students within the electrical technician track. If you think this could be you, visit