Chairman’s Message By Eric Johnston

Conference time is here again and although it’s hard to think we’ll spend one more year meeting online rather than in person, there’s a lot to look forward to. For the executive committee and your staff at headquarters, that means everyone is working hard to make sure our recent initiatives – from the renewed focus on IIAR member benefits to the many new projects our committees have started – will put us in the best possible position as we look forward to the eventual end of this pandemic.

As your new chairman, my priority this year is to carry those initiatives forward and make sure the growth of the industry is well supported by our organization’s leadership. As Dave Schaefer hands over the reins as IIAR Chairman, he’s handing over a financially stable, productive organization that has weathered unprecedented times thanks to the solid foundation he and so many others have worked hard to build.

Under his leadership, our committees have seen one of their most productive years yet, despite having to forgo in-person meetings. In the international arena, IIAR has continued to establish close ties with regions where ammonia refrigeration and the global cold chain is growing. And on the regulatory front, IIAR’s communication with the EPA could well impact the landscape for natural refrigerants for years to come (see this issue’s cover story).

Both Dave Schaefer and IIAR president Gary Schrift deserve a huge thanks from all of us for their leadership in prudently managing our organization’s finances and taking the cost-cutting measures to keep our organization solvent.

Key to that effort is our newly formed virtual conference format. In addition to serving as a vital educational resource within our industry – it is also laying the groundwork for the future. Our virtual conference format developed during the pandemic will help IIAR reach a broader swath of members, regulators, and international partners when it is held in conjunction with our regular in person meetings beginning next year.

My priority this year will be to make sure that our standards, educational and conference programs continue to make gains in delivering the best collective knowledge and resources our industry has to offer, both internally, to our members, and externally, to any regulators, support personnel or industries that touch industrial refrigeration.

I view these projects and my tenure as your Chairman as a continuation of a new phase of IIAR leadership. As we begin this new membership year together, I hope you feel free to contribute with the new ideas and levels of participation that have become the hallmark of this group.

Speaking of participation, no introductory Chairman’s column would be complete without giving recognition to the outpouring of support and involvement of IIAR members. Last year’s virtual conference was one of our best conferences yet, and I believe this year’s conference will be as well. The packed technical paper sessions and workshops are the usual highlights of our annual meeting. And while we can’t return to a packed exhibit hall just yet, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the educational resources on offer until we can.

I’m looking forward to accomplishing several goals as your Chairman this year. As members, your ongoing work and participation make all of our activities possible. Thank you for continuing to enrich our industry with your support.