CVCC HVAC Students Provide Services to New Momentum Tire Facility

College partnership allows students to experience real-world training.


HICKORY, N.C.—Second-year students from the Catawba Valley Community College HVAC program offered their time and talents to service long-time college partner, Momentum Tire, at their new facility.

Momentum Tire & Car Care is a locally owned and operated automotive service center founded in 2017 by Tim Lail. Momentum has grown to include two additional centers, one in Morganton and one in Gastonia. Now, a recent purchase on Highway 70 will serve as the fourth Momentum facility.

Through the years, Momentum has been a valued partner of the CVCC Automotive Systems Technology program. The company has worked alongside our instructors and students to give them educational opportunities outside of the classroom—six Catawba Apprenticeship Network (CAN) students have been hired as Automotive Systems apprentices for their Morganton and Hickory Locations. 

“We are very glad to be a partner with Automotive Systems Technology at CVCC for several years,” says Tim Lail, current owner/operator. “Our partnership has been a great thing for our business. We are excited to be expanding and hiring more people at Momentum, and we plan on hiring more Automotive Systems Apprentices from CAN as well.”

When he learned that the Highway 70 facility was in need of maintenance services, Lail saw another chance to partner with our college. He reached out to the CVCC HVAC Program—and our students were quick to assist.

“[The HVAC program] is trying to do as much community work as we can,” shares Scott Wilson, instructor and director of the HVAC program at CVCC. “I believe students learn best when they learn in the field, outside of a lab-controlled environment. Momentum Tire has been a great partner in providing this kind of opportunity.” 

With Wilson’s guidance, students worked together to remove the facility’s existing units, take down several mini-splits, and reinstall new equipment. By applying their technical skills outside of the classroom, students gained a greater understanding of the benefit their work brings to the community.

This is not the first time that the CVCC HVAC program has assisted community partners. One semester, Wilson received a call from a local resident who found himself unable to afford heating installation. Wilson spoke with Aden Cranford, Dean of Career and Technical Education at CVCC about the prospect of providing services free-of-charge.

Using their classroom and technical knowledge, students arrived at the residents’ home and successfully installed the HVAC equipment. It was a win-win scenario: students gained field experience, and the residents’ home had heat to last through the winter.

When asked about the experience with Momentum, students were just as enthusiastic about servicing a partner facility as they were about helping community residents. 

“I think that’s one of the great things about CVCC is that we have that reputation in the community to care about our residents and give back,” says Aden Cranford. “When people have needs, they get in touch. We reach out to the right person and do what we can to make the service happen.” 

If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about the HVAC program at CVCC, please contact Scott Wilson, program director, at or call (828) 327-7000 ext. 4237. To learn how you can SOAR with a degree from Catawba Valley Community College, please visit our website,

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