IIAR Annual Conference to Provide Technical Knowledge, Industry Insight to Members

IIAR’s 2024 annual Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida, March 24-27 will provide technical knowledge, networking and industry-sponsored events for those involved in the natural refrigerant industry. There will be numerous educational opportunities throughout the conference, and attendees can earn professional development hours

“We have a fantastic program this year, with several new networking opportunities, a Student Day on Wednesday, a super fun Monday night event, more Product Showcase Opportunities, which were previously known as ‘Technomercials,’ a heavy equipment exhibit, and a wonderful tech program that includes workshops, in-depth technical presentations and several industry panels,” said Yesenia Rector, IIAR’s meetings and international program director.


The event officially kicks off on Sunday, which is dedicated to fun and making new connections.

The Natural Refrigeration Foundation’s first Fun Day will take place on Sunday, the first day of the 2024 IIAR Conference. The goal is to raise awareness and donations for the NRF and its mission. The Fun Day will feature the Annual NRF Golf Tournament and the second annual NRF Pickleball and Cornhole tournaments.

“We will host these NRF tournaments in conjunction with the IIAR Conference & Heavy Equipment Expo in support of the Natural Refrigeration Foundation and the Founders’ Scholarship Fund,” Rector said.

Following the activities, the NRF Tournaments Awards Ceremony and VIP Reception will celebrate the day’s winners and thank Foundation supporters.

The annual meeting is always full of networking events for attendees to connect with each other. The Diversity in Natural Refrigeration Reception on Sunday evening is designed to help foster an inclusive environment that welcomes individuals from all walks of life and unlocks a wealth of unique perspectives, experiences and ideas that drive innovation and propel the refrigerant industry forward.

Sunday also features the First Timers Reception, Chairman’s Reception and Scholarship Students Dinner.


IIAR has created numerous in-depth learning opportunities. The conference’s technical program offers professional development hours to all attendees.

The feature panel, History of Ammonia and IIAR: Together for Over 50 Years, will delve into the evolution of refrigeration and the history of IIAR.

“Andy Pearson from Star Refrigeration who has written an excellent historical perspective on refrigeration, particularly ammonia refrigeration dating back to its invention in the 19th Century, will present his work,” said Eric Smith, technical director for IIAR. “Then we have the president emeritus of IIAR, Kent Anderson, who has teamed with Vern Karman, a long-time member and a second-generation IIAR officer who was instrumental and fundamental in developing some of the first IIAR publications.”

The session will offer a trip down memory lane, touching on some of the key members and their accomplishments. “Hank Bonar, an industry elder who is still practicing, will share some IIAR history but will focus primarily on the major technological developments he has witnessed along the way in his career and the effects of how these technologies have made our industry better, safer and more efficient,” Smith said.

Another panel will bring together a group of regulatory compliance specialists to provide their perspectives on compliance. “Individuals in this group represent different companies and approaches to regulatory compliance. We’re getting them all together in one room so the audience can get their compliance education at the same time in the same place,” Smith said.

The closing forum will provide an update on the AIM Act and the State of the Industry. “We have many highly knowledgeable professionals in this panel that should not be missed,” Rector said.

Panelists will cover the implications of the global drawdown of HFC refrigerants, the impact of the U.S. AIM Act on domestic, industrial and commercial end users, and the future of natural refrigerant use in a broader market.

In addition to the panels, industry experts will present a dozen technical papers that cover critical industry issues, including safety, efficiency and new technology.


IIAR will host RETA’s CRST Certification classes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, culminating with the RETA Certifications Testing Opportunity on Monday.


The 2024 IIAR Conference will also have its inaugural “Student Day” in Orlando. The Student Day on Wednesday gives university and technical college students an opportunity to learn more about the industry and meet with exhibitors individually to learn more about careers. Students are always welcome, but having a dedicated day where the students can gain the perspective of industry leaders, see and discuss equipment, and connect with employers benefits employers, students and the industry as a whole.

“The whole idea is we attract younger people into our industry, so it continues to grow,” Smith said. “We recognize that our industry needs more good talent, and we hope that the Student Day will help to increase young people’s awareness about our industry and its importance.” Recipients of the NRF Scholarships are invited to attend the entire event and will have the opportunity to meet with the IIAR executive team, the NRF Board and Trustees, and exhibitor hosts who will guide them through the showroom floor and introduce them to industry partners and veterans.


Ahead of the official meeting, committee meetings, which are where a lot of the association’s in-depth work gets done, will take place on Friday and Saturday. There will also be a special IIAR Board and Committee Members VIP Dinner on Saturday, by invitation only, designed to thank committee chairs, members, board of directors and international partners who devote their time and effort to support the IIAR mission.

“I am excited about the Saturday night VIP event where we have, for the first time, invited not just the IIAR board and IIAR committee chairs, but we have invited all committee members, all VIPs, such as those from international and domestic allied organizations,” said Gary Schrift, IIAR’s president. View the full schedule and additional details on the conference at www.iiar.org.