IAR Shatters Attendance Records, Sets New Goals at Conference

The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration hit record attendance numbers, signed agreements with ASHRAE and RETA and drew participation from the Department of Homeland Security at its Conference & Heavy Equipment Show, an event that marked a variety of transitions and new initiatives for the association this year.

The three days of networking at industry sponsored events was an opportunity for IIAR conference-goers to meet other professionals in the industry while taking advantage of the technical knowledge and resources available on the exhibition floor and at technical program presentations.

“This was such a great conference on a number of levels. We saw a record total turnout, including the largest-ever number of international attendees and exhibitors,” said 2014 Conference Chair Tom Leighty. “We had more participants than ever from the end user environment, and the technology showcased on the exhibit hall floor was really an amazing testament to the advances our industry is making.”

The conference, which was held at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel and Convention Center, March 23 – 26, drew over 1,500 attendees, many of whom were new to the event.

IIAR president Dave Rule said the increase in international attendance at this year’s event underscores the growing momentum of natural refrigerants around the world, a trend that was on display on IIAR’s exhibit hall floor.

“The exhibit hall floor was very impressive this year in terms of the quality and diversity of the products on display,” he said. “With more international exhibitors participating than ever before, it demonstrated that IIAR is growing and our industry is gaining importance, not just here, but around the world.”

The enthusiasm and dedication of the organization’s membership was also on display. Attendees representing a significant cross section of IIAR participated in committee work, discussed new ideas presented in technical papers and focused on safety in two special pre-conference training sessions.

“This level of participation really shows the strength of our membership,” said Rule. “Just walking through the conference rooms and the exhibit hall, I could see and hear the excitement surrounding the different types of technology that are beginning to develop.”

One of the always popular subjects being discussed at IIAR’s conference was the development of small charge systems. But, said Rule, the excitement went beyond small charge, encompassing the many new components and systems that are changing the industry and making it more efficient.

“New design is everywhere these days. So much new technology is being developed by manufacturers. From new designs in controls and valves to changes in larger equipment design, we’re finding ways to operate much more efficiently using smaller amounts of refrigerant in our systems.”

Rule said such conversations about efficiency and charge levels will grow ever more important in the coming years as the industry looks for ways to control energy costs and minimize the impact the regulatory environment can have on operations.

“When we talk about reducing charge, there’s a regulatory component to consider,” he said, adding that reducing the amount of ammonia in a system, even if the total charge remains above ten thousand pounds, makes it easier to manage a system.

“Reducing the charge of a system can provide a company with several advantages when it comes to managing regulatory issues around that system, and ultimately, that reduction lowers the operating costs over the lifecycle of a package being installed.”

Industry input on regulatory issues was also an important theme at the recent meeting, which featured a special panel on Department of Homeland Security initiatives, led by DHS Director of Infrastructure Security Compliance, David Wulf.

According to Wulf, who also participated in a meeting with IIAR’s Board of Directors, engaging with IIAR on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program is a major goal of the Department this year.

As a special guest at IIAR’s meeting, he shared information on the DHS regulatory program and invited IIAR members to get involved in the stakeholder discussions that are currently advancing the mission of his division.

The Department’s participation was significant for IIAR because the regulatory environment is growing and its impact on the industry is emphasized more than ever before, said Rule.

“It is very important that our membership has the opportunity to interact directly with government officials, and not just rely on IIAR to interact on their behalf,” he said. “DHS participation in our meeting this year was significant because it allows the industry to have a two-way conversation and gives regulators like David Wulf the opportunity to lay out the plan the government is developing and discuss the direction they’re taking with their programs.”

Given the organization’s focus on regulatory issues, fostering a close relationship with DHS as well as other government agencies – like OSHA and EPA – will be a continued priority for IIAR in the coming year.

“Informing the regulatory environment is increasingly important, especially as new technologies that make use of ammonia and other natural refrigerants open the door to new commercial applications and present new ways to meet the nation’s environmental goals,” said Rule.

Meanwhile, IIAR’s Leighty emphasized the organization’s ongoing effort to provide special educational programs at each conference, in addition to the traditional IIAR technical paper presentations.

“We continued to offer in-depth training sessions on the Sunday before the start of the conference,” he said, adding that the two back-to-back sessions, one emphasizing Safety Training and the other focused on Process Safety Management, were integral to IIAR’s educational goals this year.

“We’re trying to increase the indepth technical training available to our members and provide any resources that can help end users, contractors and engineers – especially those just coming into our industry.”

Leighty added that IIAR signed two new MOU’s, or Memorandums of Understanding, with organizations RETA and ASHRAE, which will help it further the industry’s safety goals by working more closely on shared initiatives.

Rule said that the MOUs will help IIAR more closely coordinate industry responses to requests for information, or RFI’s, from regulators.

“We’ve already worked together with RETA on an OSHA RFI earlier this year,” he said. “That kind of coordinated response is so important because it shows that the recommendations we put forward have support from a broad segment of our industry.”

Looking forward, this year’s conference set IIAR up to pursue a number of exciting projects and work goals, thanks in no small part to the hard work of its staff and membership, said Leighty.

We’re thankful for “the talents and resources that our members bring to this organization, especially the effort of all of our staff in making such a large event a great success,” he said.

“We’re getting ready for another great show in San Diego next year,” he said. “And we’re excited to carry the energy of our sponsors, exhibitors and members into the next IIAR event.”

IIAR’s 2015 Industrial Refrigeration Conference & Exhibition will be held March 22 – 25 in San Diego, California.

IIAR Names Member of the Year, Honorary Life Member


recognized its board member, Tom Leighty, by naming him Member of the Year in 2014. The Member of the Year award is usually given to one recipient a year in recognition for outstanding service to the organization. “Tom is an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer who has contributed so much to the success and growth of our organization,” said IIAR president Dave Rule.

Leighty was recognized for his over 20-years of service on IIAR’s Standards Committee, which recently culminated in the release of the IIAR-2 standard, the cornerstone of IIAR’s new suite of standards, for its first public review. Leighty leads the sub-committee in charge of the development of IIAR-2.

“Tom has given so many years of service to this organization and he has been instrumental in the development of IIAR-2, which is a significant milestone for our organization,” said Rule. “Tom is passionate about this industry and passionate about this organization, so we are honored to recognize him for all of his work.”

The Member of the Year award is given to individuals who make outstanding contributions to the ammonia refrigeration industry through their service to the association over the preceding year.

“This is a significant award, and it’s hard to choose just one member every year to receive it. We chose Tom this year to recognize his substantial work on IIAR-2, but also to thank him for the many years he has worked in service of this organization,” said Rule.


IIAR’s 2014 honorary life member, Bruce Badger, was recognized by IIAR for the constant work he has done on behalf of the industry while holding several leadership and volunteer positions. The honorary life membership award is given by IIAR to members whose service extends well beyond their traditional terms of office and who have made contributions that have a lasting impact on the industry.

“Bruce has done so much to further the goals of our organization and our industry,” said IIAR president Dave Rule, pointing to Badger’s years as president of the association and his work as a volunteer member.

“He has made an incredible contribution both as a volunteer and as our past president. That dedication helped IIAR grow into the organization it is today. He took a leadership position at headquarters when the association was experiencing difficulty financially and he set it on a strong financial footing,” said Rule. “Bruce was able to give our organization the momentum it needed to grow into a very positive organization with strong prospects for growth.”

IIAR Award for Presentation Excellence Winners Recognized for Technical Paper Contributions

The IIAR Award for Presentation Excellence, for the 2014 IIAR Industrial Refrigeration Conference & Heavy Equipment Show was presented this year to Peter Jordan of MBD Risk Management Services, Inc. and Alessandro da Silva of Bitzer. The IIAR Award for Presentation Excellence, formerly the “Andy Ammonia” award is determined based on the results of the technical paper evaluation forms completed by those who attend technical paper sessions. Jordan won the award for his paper, Layers of Protection in an Ammonia Refrigeration System. The purpose of the paper was to describe the use of Layers of Protection Analyses (LOPAs) to analyze specific scenarios in two ammonia refrigeration systems. The LOPAs were able to formally analyze the reliability of these systems and, to a certain extent, produce results which can provide guidance throughout the industry. Meanwhile, Alessandro da Silva won the award for his Spanish language paper, Una visión general de la aplicación de CO2 en supermercados en Brasil. The paper gave an overview of experience obtained from the application of CO2 in refrigeration for supermarkets in Brazil.

Board of Directors

First Row Seated L-R: Linda McDaniel, Walter Teeter, Tom Leighty, Marcos Braz, Mark Stencel, Harold Streicher, Eric Johnston, Dave Rule

Second Row Seated L-R: David Blackhurst, John Collins, Bent Wiencke, Jim Adler, Trevor Hegg, Paul Bishop, Doug Reindl, Dave Schaefer

First Row Standing L-R: Delmar Lehman, Don Stroud, Don Hamilton, Bruce Nelson, Brian Marriott, Bob Czarnecki, John Gay

Not Pictured: Robert Port, Jr., Martin Timm, Michael Lynch, Jeremy Klysen, Jeff Welch