Borrowing Barba: Taco loans out their ‘Mechanical Maharishi’ again

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Two years ago, Eric Aune of Mechanical-Hub & Aune Plumbing fame, was Taco’s inaugural “Borrow Barba” winner.  So before we share the latest with you about this year’s opportunity, we’ll look briefly at how things went back in ‘11 . . . and perhaps plant a few ideas with you.  Have you registered yet with Taco as a winner?  If not, why not?

It just so happened that, on the very day that Minnesota contractor, Eric Aune, won the services of Taco’s contractor training and trade program manager back in 2011, Aune needed a few things done around the house.  Coincidentally, his lawn, and his wife’s honey-do list, were longer than they had ever been.

“It pains me to say this, John,” said Aune when he fetched Barba at the airport . . .  “but I’m gonna’ need some help around the house before we can get down to the mechanical stuff.”

Before he knew it, Barba assisted with toilet-snaking, a full-fledged truck detailing, lunch preparation with freshly-squeezed lemonade, mowing the entire lawn and live-baiting hooks at the nearby lake.
Borrow Barba
Aune connection with Barba began with Aune’s involvement with Taco’s online community, and taking online courses through the manufacturer’s FloPro University.  This year, contractors across the nation and Canada are going to have the opportunity to ‘borrow Barba’ again.

“And the winner,” quips Barba, “will be th’ boss.  Hey, when the day rolls around, I’m a ship on the sea, or like leaves in the wind – entirely at the contractor’s disposal.  So whatever the need is, I’m all-in.”

“John helped me size circulators for an upcoming job,” said Aune.  “We also went to another jobsite and did some trouble-shooting, and replaced a circ on an existing system.  That evening we hit the lake for some fishing, too” . . . though he glossed-over the lawn and toilet-snaking duties.

It seems that Taco’s “Borrow Barba” contest just gets quirkier and dirtier each year.  According to Barba, the contest has become one of the more enjoyable facets of his job.  The best way to tune into Barba’s recent experience (and plenty of other musical, head-spinning observations) is to become a subscriber to his FloPro Blog.

Not yet a subscriber?  See the “BarbaBlog” sidebar.

Again this year, John won’t show up empty handed. He’ll be carrying a Bumble Bee High Efficiency Variable Speed Delta-T Circulator and a fistful of Zone Sentry zone valves.  How will you put John to work when you . . . “Borrow Barba?”
A recent blog offers insights into the educational and comedic “Borrow Barba” experiences.

Viewers learned that the first winner, Minnesota master plumber Eric Aune, apparently read a lot into Taco’s suggestion that he could use Barba for all variety of need.

After Aune’s experience, Taco’s contest caught on. Taco had 850 entries for 2012.  Oddly, about half of them were sourced from just one guy.

“Ordinarily that sort of response would cause concern, launching restraining orders, body guards and the witness protection, but in the long run winner Terry O’Connell seemed to be a fairly stable and trustworthy dude,” added Barba.

O’Connell heads-up the hydronics department for Hulbert Brothers, a first-rate supply house in Plattsburgh, NY.  By the time Barba arrived, O’Connell had a full day planned.

First, O’Connell gathered about 45 of his best customers for a full-day hydronics seminar.

“There are days when everything comes together, and this was one of them,” said Barba.  “I walked into a class full of professionals that were smart, inquisitive and engaging.  It was one of those days when you don’t want the day to end.”

“It’s no easy task to jam everything you know about the world of hydronics into just four or five hours, but he did a terrific job, covering plenty of ground and answering a wide variety of questions,” said O’Connell. “Everyone left with system design and technology insights that will help them do their best work.”

“It was great to spend a day with Terry and the folks at Hulbert Brothers – what a class outfit,” Barba concluded.

For your chance to put John Barba to work, visit

BarbaBlog sidebar:   Here’s how to get to John Barba’s endlessly entertaining, fully-educational blog, online:
1. Follow JB on Twitter @barbajo1
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3. Like TacoHVAC on Facebook
4. Via Taco’s FloPro Team website:
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