Billy Chappell, a self-described hillbilly and mountain boy, is training the next generation of HVAC technicians in Columbus County as one of Southeastern Community College’s new full-time HVAC instructors. Born in Kings Mountain near Charlotte, Chappell moved around the Appalachian Mountains as a child before moving southeast and graduating from South Columbus High School in 1992.  

Chappell started as a part-time instructor at SCC four semesters ago, and he became a full-time instructor in February 2023. For the fall semester, he teaches courses in advanced comfort cooling, introduction to electricity, introduction to refrigeration and a night course.  

Chappell’s favorite part of being an instructor is watching a student’s transformation from not knowing anything to becoming a technician. He said it is rewarding to see the growth. Chappell likes to watch students build things in class and know how they work.  

“Just knowing that I’m putting students out here into the workforce who can really diagnose and fix an air conditioner versus just telling everybody to get a new one,” Chappell said. “It means a lot to me because when I was out in the field working, that was a lot of my service calls. I want techs out here that can actually fix something and not just replace it.” 

Chappell advocates for the HVAC industry because “it’s something that’s always going to be here,” he said.  

“No matter how bad the economy gets or what happens, if people can round up the money somewhere, they’re going to get their air conditioner fixed if it’s 100 degrees out there,” Chappell said. “Some jobs may fall off in a bad economy, but people are going to make sure their air conditioner works. You’ve always got a job with air conditioning.” 

Chappell advised that a good education in HVAC is key to being an efficient technician. Understanding how electricity and freon work will allow technicians to keep up with newer technology when making repairs.  

In 1994, Chappell joined the United States Marine Corp, where he learned and worked in HVAC technology. After finishing his service, Chappell earned his associate degree in HVAC from SCC. From there, he went to work for a heating and air conditioning company, Acosta, in Myrtle Beach. After gaining two years of work experience, Chappell decided to open his own HVAC business. Chappell’s company, C and C Heating and Cooling, has been in operation for more than 20 years. 

Chappell has one son and three daughters.  

Air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology offers five program paths with a degree, diploma, certificate, CTE diploma or CTE certificate. Click here to learn more about opportunities in the HVAC program.