Pellet Boiler Boot Camp at Vermont Tech

by Jeff Rubin | July 18, 2018

Pellet Boiler Boot Camp at Vermont Tech

On April 3, after three months of preparation, SHOE rolled out our proof of concept workforce training; pellet boiler Boot Camp (PBBC.) The full day training for heating professionals, architects, engineers, and building facility managers was held at Vermont technical college’s Randolph campus.  The day included seven hours of technical training on best practices for design and installation of pellet boiler central heating systems, and a half hour of sales training. .

The instructor for the technical training was John Siegenthaler who has a thirty-year track record as a thought leader in best practices for hydronic design. In November 2016 Mr. Siegenthaler suggested that SHOE might sponsor a pellet boiler training. It was immediately apparent that this would provide an opportunity to reach working professionals with a vital missing perspective – why pellet boilers matter to our green energy economy.

“Our goal was to give heating workforce professional tools so they could confidently represent why pellet boilers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, incentivize sustainable forestry practices, and support local and regional economic resilience” according to SHOE’s executive director, Jeff Rubin. “So we created a packet of nine fact sheets to help these guys bring the story of sustainable wood pellet heating fuel to their customers.“ At the end of his presentation, 17 companies signed on to partner with SHOE’s cobranded fact sheet packets.


“We learned a lot“ continued Rubin. “We learned which certifications drew the most registrations, which marketing approaches resonated with our target audiences, and most importantly we learned how to run the trainings like a business and operate in the black with sponsorships and in-kind contributions.“


Four sponsors stepped up to join SHOE in supporting the training. Industry players Pellergy and Tarm Biomass were joined by Vermont’s state wood energy team, and efficiency Vermont’s, Efficiency Excellence Network (EEN)—who both sponsored and provided discounted registration for their membership. Burlington electric also offered partial scholarships to registrants. Vermont technical college bartered the venue in return for student admissions, and catering was donated by


In addition to certifications by American Institute of Architects (AIA), Building Performance Institute (BPI), and EEN it’s worth noting that the Vermont Department of Public Safety offered six hours towards professional licensing continuing education credits—the highest ever awarded for a single day training in the history of the department. “John (Siegenthaler) and I were laser focused on providing the highest quality training“ said Rubin.  Attendee evaluations indicate a high level of satisfaction with the material presented.


The two training tracks were evaluated (poor, fair, good, very good, excellent) by the attendees on 10 realms of training content and instructor aptitude.  These graphs represent the rankings.

Evaluation summary for John Siegenthaler’s technical training.
Evaluation summary for Jeff Rubin’s marketing training.

Here is a sampling of comments:

(John) applied engineering in layman‘s terms.

Very good class!!

Great presentation!

A little bit of schematic overload, otherwise top notch!

Great presentation, John didn’t excellent job of laying out a lot of information.

Great presentation, liked it a lot, thanks! You are very knowledgeable with controls and schematics. A lot to digest at once but the PDF will be a big help in the future.

Good stuff wish there was more time.

Very good, great presentation

Thanks Jeff, extraordinary, appreciate your knowledge!

Good visuals and information. I think Jeff nailed the sales angle and the way to sell green pellet energy.

Good presentation. Liked the handouts.

Nicely done

Nice job, thanks Jeff!

Very clear information

Very effective and clear, well targeted.

What’s next?

Pellet boiler Boot Camp will be rolled out in Massachusetts in the fall of 2018. For more information contact Jeff Rubin at