Country Boy Moves to Washington DC

Imagine the headline: “After a thirty-two-year career in industrial refrigeration, man returns to industrial refrigeration, starting his new position on April Fool’s day, while working at home during a once in a lifetime pandemic with a major event canceled, which has, in turn, cut the organization’s revenue stream by almost 50%” . . . No, these are not headline stories from your Linkedin Daily Rundown! They are the major events in my professional life since January of this year. And I could not be more blessed and excited to take on the challenge.

When I left my past position, my next career goal was to do something different. Many of you may know that I have a background in electrical engineering, and controls and automation. And over the past 32 years working in the industrial refrigeration industry, my position has changed dramatically from being the “controls guy” or Sparky to some, into executive management of a company and personnel that provided many industrial refrigeration services and products. Therefore, I am returning to the industry with a broad knowledge of industrial refrigeration and the interaction between consulting/engineering organizations, contractors, manufacturers, and end users. But is this something different? Something that can “make a difference”? I think so. First IIAR is a non-profit 501C (6) organization, quite a change from a publicly owned, for-profit, operation. Secondly, IIAR supports and promotes the safe and best practices of using natural refrigerants for the world’s cooling and refrigeration needs. Switching as many people and organizations to use chemicals for their refrigeration needs that are more energy efficient, have the lowest global warming and ozone depletion potential, are inexpensive to manufacture, and are low cost for sustainable long term use seems like an excellent mission. And educating users, governmental agencies, and emergency responders on the best design and installation practices, and the safe use and emergency response preparation for these environmentally friendly refrigerant systems provides a compelling and inspiring objective for all of us.

Third, I began my new career at IIAR on January 20th, 2020, during the staff’s busy and final preparations for IIAR’s annual conference in Orlando, Fl. However, I officially became President of IIAR, on April 1, 2020, as part of the transition plan for Dave Rule’s impending and well-earned retirement on June 30, 2020. On that day in April, our entire staff was working remotely because of the COVID-19 executive orders from the governors in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. So although it would have been wonderful to have an all-employee meeting in our conference room to discuss the changes and further solidify our relationships, we have been conducting online conferences with all the background noises of dogs, others in our home, and with technical issues of power failures or bad connections. But this exercise has proven the well-established tools and software that our staff had created over the years to make the operation very efficient and to allow us all access to everything remotely. I believe we have not missed providing any of the services our members need and expect during these past months. In fact, we have been able to create the virtual conference in May-June providing a vehicle to distribute all of the excellent technical content previously developed for the Orlando conference, and a new vehicle to consider for enhancing our future in-person conferences to come.

Lastly, the financial impact of our canceled Orlando conference is significant. However with your strong support of IIAR through your continued membership, IIAR’s continued delivery of needed resources and the revenue generated from them, and the prudent use of reserves that were wisely established by the past IIAR staff and Board of Directors, IIAR will continue to provide all of the support and resources that our membership expects, and we hope to add to the already growing list of publications, training classes and advocacy for our industry. This crisis, of which all our membership is experiencing, has provided me with an opportunity to learn all the operational finances of our great organization quickly and thoroughly. Therefore, I am blessed with the opportunity of a fast transition by doing versus simply reading.

So, let me say again, hello, to all my past associates and friends in our great industry. And greetings to those of whom I hope to meet in this new role. The past three months have been interesting, to say the least, but I can see all the positives gained from these unforeseen trials. I know why I accepted this challenge and a new position. And in the coming months, I would like to hear from all of you as to why you are an IIAR member, or what is important to you to retain your membership? Call me, send me a personal email, or come visit this country boy in Alexandria and we can explore together!