Nothing is More Constant Than Change

To me, our conference has been almost like a large family reunion. It was with a heavy heart that the conference had to< be canceled by the Executive committee. The final factor in the decision to cancel was when the World Health Organization declared that there was a worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19.

There is an old saying that there is nothing that is more constant than change. Our world sure has seen a lot of change lately with the onset of this global pandemic.

IIAR has also experienced very significant change with canceled conference due to the pandemic, our organization’s President Dave Rule retiring, and Bruce Nelson our chairman moving on to Chair the Research Foundation this year.

Our organization has been very fortunate to have had very strong leadership over the years. I would like to recognize two such leaders, Bruce Nelson, and Dave Rule. I would have hoped we could have talked about their long list of accomplishments in person at Orlando.

Mr. Bruce Nelson, as our Chair, established the Energy & Sustainability Committee, was instrumental in initiating the development of our new Hydrocarbon Safety Standard, played a key role with the piping handbook update, including several new products and services being developed by our committees and staff, continued the process of building the IIAR Academy of Natural Refrigerants and the financial health of our organization. All of these initiatives require strong leadership and confirm that we’re moving forward as an organization.

Mr. Dave Rule will be retiring from the IIAR this June. Dave joined the IIAR in 2013 as just the 3rd President in our organization’s history. We have all benefited from his belief in and passion for the mission of IIAR, competent management of our finances, and solid leadership and management of the IIAR staff. His combination of technical background, knowledge of the industry, and great people skills are unique and have served him and us very well. Dave has led with intelligence, resolve, good humor, and most important — humility.

Before coming to work at IIAR, Dave was employed by Evapco as Vice President of Refrigeration Sales and Marketing and before that as International Vice President responsible for overseas manufacturing and sales operations.

During Dave’s tenure as President, the organization has seen a 30% increase in the general membership. His stewardship of the organization’s finances, in accordance with our Bylaws and Investment Policy, has us in an improved and secure financial position. Dave has managed our headquarters staff very well and has always done an exceptional job “herding the cats” – that is, all of us on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He has also presented a professional and well-informed presence and corporate image on our behalf to a wide range of government agencies and regulators. Dave will be a hard act to follow

A few of the milestones reached under Dave’s leadership include:

  • Transition of focus and emphasis of IIAR to all-natural refrigerants.
  • Significant increases in International presence, activities, and membership, most dramatically in Mexico, Central, and South America.
  • Development and publishing of several new Standards and Publications.
  • Creation and launch of the Academy of Natural Refrigerants.
  • Committee activities well supported and strong leadership developed.
  • Government relations expanded through more mutual interaction with regulators, training of inspectors, and increased access for officials and regulators to IIAR standards and safety materials.
  • Expansion of member services and programs including an updated website, Spanish language translation of standards and publications, as well as the introduction of monthly webinars in both English and Spanish.
  • Staff and Administration organization and systems have seen significant improvements in productivity.
  • Many office IT infrastructure and systems replaced, improved, or eliminated to improve efficiency and productivity.

Please join me in offering Bruce and Dave our thanks for their hard work and leadership.

The importance of our annual conference cannot be underestimated or understated. Our process of publishing non-commercial peer-reviewed technical papers is one of the things that distinguishes us from other meetings and draws interest and attendance from around the world.

As a result of significant challenges and change that the canceled conference has brought about, Gary Schrift our new President and our staff have worked to continue to create value for our members. We are excited to be able to offer a concurrent virtual equipment exposition and technical sessions. This will be an important and appreciated venue for displaying and learning industryrelevant technical information and offer information on the latest technologies available in the market.

This combination of finding purely technical information as well as information on new technologies has served us and our industry well and is something we will continue to do virtually. We believe that the virtual conference will be especially important as all of our members are now even more challenged to receive the continuing technical

education so necessary to stay current. While at the same time our vendors also need to get critical information out to their customers in our industry. Both of these efforts are a challenge and continue to be a challenge in light of the difficulty to get this accomplished in person which makes this virtual conference so very important at this time.

Our conference locations and deposits for the conference’s activities are made years and months in advance of the conference. A significant portion of our organization’s operating revenue comes from our conference. Initially, we were not receiving favorable indications that the IIAR was going to get many of our deposit dollars back. Gary, Dave, and the Staff also have been working hard negotiating with our suppliers for the improved resolution and clarity to our financial situation. Thank you very much for the understanding you have shown and accepting our refund policies for the good of our industry and the organization.

Based on Gary and the staff’s response to this “trial by fire” so to speak, I can say with confidence that the IIAR is in very capable hands with Gary as our new President.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our members that provide essential services, equipment, and technologies that keep our food supplies safe.

In Palm Springs, CA next March I look forward to seeing you in person so that we can celebrate the IIAR’s 50th anniversary. The last 50 year has brought about many fantastic changes for our organization and we are confident that IIAR will continue to meet the challenges of the next 50 years. Thank you for your patience in these challenging times.