The 1998 I=B=R school got off to a rocky start when its Canadian instructor was denied access into the United States this past July, according to the organization’s education committee chairman.

Bill Benson, an instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Canada, did not have the proper documentation to enter the country. Benson was not allowed to board a plane to teach his first class in Minnesota.

“I believe there is a legal way to get into the United States,” said Benson, who has been to the United States at least 25 times. “I’m determined to find it.” The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association, the parent association of the Hydronics Institute, has hired immigration attorneys to help Benson get into the country.

Substitute teachers have taught several classes for Benson, according to Joe Ross, HI’s education committee chairman and manager of marketing programs at Weil-McLain.

In the meantime, GAMA has hired a new instructor to finish teaching the courses.

Benson is currently flagged on the entire customs network, so he isn’t able to come to the U.S. until next March, even for leisure travel. “I want to do this properly,” said Benson when commenting on why he attained a business visa instead of posing as a traveler. “I’m not trying to pull any strings.”

“What’s really sad is that Bill took a leave of absence for a year from his own job to do this,” Ross said. “Now he’s unemployed, and he can’t get down here to work.”