Refrigeration Industry Works to Increase Diversity and Inclusion

The industrial refrigeration industry is working to build a diverse workforce and foster an inclusive environment, and this year’s annual conference created opportunities for those in the industry to learn more about promoting diversity and inclusion. “Diversifying our workforce not only broadens the talent pool but also provides our industry the opportunity to flourish with varying perspectives and backgrounds,” said Melissa Cassell, finance director for General Refrigeration Company.

“Embracing diversity in the workforce is not only essential for creating a more inclusive environment but also brings different viewpoints and ideas to the table, ultimately leading to innovation and growth.” Cassell, Nova-Aer Teal, director of engineering for Lineage Logistics, and Dave Malinauskas, president at CIMCO Refrigeration, took part in the panel discussion Diversity and Inclusion in Natural Refrigeration that took place during the conference.

Nova-Aer Teal moderated the panel. “Melissa and Aer are incredibly strong and are now both diversity champions who share their powerful messages,” Malinauskas said. Diversity ensures that a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds are represented within the industry. “When people from different walks of life participate in the industry, it leads to more innovative solutions and better decision making,” Malinauskas said. “For example, having women, people of color, and individuals from various cultural backgrounds involved in refrigeration research and development can bring fresh insights and ideas.”

Cassell received positive feedback on the panel from attendees, who said it showcased the importance of diversity and inclusion from multiple angles. “By presenting a variety of perspectives, and especially the experiences of someone well known in our industry, it helped drive home the impact of embracing diversity in the workplace,” she said.

Danielle Wright, executive director of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council, applauded IIAR’s efforts to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront. “Focusing on diversity is a great opportunity to attract the best and brightest into the refrigeration sector,” she said. “This is a dynamic and evolving industry with a need for all skill sets and perspectives, we only stand to benefit. IIAR’s direction is to focus on five pillars, which include diversity, Malinauskas said. They are:

Leadership Diversity – actively seek candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Membership Diversity – actively encourage individuals with diverse experiences to join.

Training and Development – provide ongoing training opportunities to staff and board of director members.

Be Accountable – measure our progress.

Communication – Regularly communicate with members through channels available to us.