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I've had a great start to 2014 and am feeling very upbeat about the industry again after some very trying times at the tail end of last year - for the UK in any case. 

I'm just back from a week in New York - albeit not great at this time of year with temperatures last Tuesday/Wednesday dropping as low as -15°C! Weather aside though, it was a very positive trip. 

The primary purpose of the visit was to attend the First Symposium on the Global HVACR Industry's Supply Chain's Refrigerant Training and Education - a mouthful of a title certainly, but a really positive and rewarding experience. The concept for the symposium came about during a chat over lunch while attending the UNEP conference in Milan last summer with the president and ceo of AHRI (The American Heating and Refrigeration Institute). The association mainly represents manufacturers across the North American continent. Its president told me he was impressed by what we at AREA were doing in Europe and for UNEP in the developing world. They had also been asked by UNEP to do something similar for South America and the Far East had concerns about training standards, particularly with regard to the safety issues that come with many of the alternatives we are faced with. 

As manufacturers increasingly globalise their products, for obvious reasons, there comes an increase in the demand for standards of technical ability to be globalised too. So AHRI organised this symposium to run just before the start of the AHR Expo / ASHRAE show, when many of the concerned parties would be in the same place. Having seen some of the comments left made on recent blogs, I now appreciate that the ACR News website is read worldwide. This has made me more interested in getting to know how the industry is dealing with issues outside Europe. I have to say that after last Monday's meeting I am very confident that we, as an industry, can really get on top of these issues for the long term benefit of all. 

In addition to the warm welcome I received from my counterparts in the USA and Canada, I also met with people from Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea as well as others I already know from Europe. There were people representing manufacturers, distributors and contractors, so we really did have a good global representation across the industry. 

Agreed steps forward include working internationally on minimum competency levels for RACHP engineers/technicians. The starting point for this discussion is likely to come from AREA's Refrigeration Craftsman results that formed the basis of the F Gas certification requirements and also a commitment to work internationally on educating the political classes and getting the right messages across. This is so important in creating the right atmosphere to make sure that new legislation is workable and can be policed. 

So, happy new year to all the ACR News readers from far and wide, and here's to a busy and productive 2014 and to building on new relationships across the Atlantic.

View User Profile for GraemeFox Graeme Fox is an RAC contractor based in Dundee. He is a director at AREA (Air Conditioning & Refrigeration European Contractors` Association) and a Fellow of the Institute of Refrigeration.
Posted by Graeme Fox 05 February 2014 11:45:00 Categories: Fox's Tales


By Henry
05 February 2014 11:51:00
Hey Jason, I read a quote today and thought of you. Your comments here and elsewhere are being noticed if not always appreciated by all:

'When a thinker, however distant from us in time or culture, still stirs passion, enthusiasm or indignation, any kind of intense debate, it is generally the case that he has propounded a thesis that upsets some deeply established 'idee recue', a thesis that those who wish to cling to the old conviction nevertheless find it hard or impossible to dismiss or refute.'

Quote from Machiavelli
By Jason
05 February 2014 11:50:00
Hi Graeme, I assume that you were talking from a personal perspective when you said that my comments are always appreciated. I am sure that by some my thoughts are neither appreciated or welcomed. But I am happy to hear that they are by you at least.

My comments may have been read but I hope that I am not compared to either yourself or Steve Gill. You both contribute widely within the industry and take the time and trouble to write excellent blogs (well you do at least, SG has been quiet of late - I hope he is well and nothing is wrong). I make no claims to doing either, so please take my comments in that context. Also, my thoughts and words tend to fly out and are often neither carefully considered or well crafted. I write in hast and more often than not, I regret what I have written later. More than once I have written an apology.
Having said all that, I make no apology for trying to convey my thoughts. They are my view at that moment in time.
I didn't know that my identity was a mystery. I have never given that a thought. I do not print my surname as my employer may be less than happy with some of my opinions of the industry.
You are doing good work Graeme and your work for the industry is quite rightly taken seriously. I just offer my words of support and encouragement. Thank you for taking the time to reply
By Graeme Fox
05 February 2014 11:49:00
Mike, sorry you felt awkward - please don't hesitate in future.
Glad you enjoyed my speech and presentation. It does mean a lot to me having people like you supporting my efforts.
Drop me an email if you want and I can let you know if I'm going to be anywhere near you soon.
Thanks again
By Mike
05 February 2014 11:48:00
Hi Graeme, I was late arriving at the show so I missed the start of your talk. Very good it was too. Having now heard you speak I can see why you are so successful and the right person to represent the industry.

You were taking to others afterwards and I felt awkward hanging around just to say hello.
By Graeme Fox
05 February 2014 11:47:00
Thanks Jason, your words and thoughts are always appreciated. You may like to know that your name came up several times at the ACR show and during the awards dinner whenever blogs were discussed - it would appear that you are as well read as Steve and me! People keep asking me though "who is this mysterious Jason?" - maybe you should keep your anonimity as it protects you from the flak ;)

To Mike and others who said they were coming to the show and my seminar on Wednesday - sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you. Not sure if you were there but had to leave while the other speakers were talking after me or if you just didn't make it because of the weather? Either way, I look forward to meeting you at some other event down the line. If ever I'm speaking or just attending an event don't hesitate to approach me - I'm just a fridge tech too that is lucky enough to get the opportunity to stand up for everyone else.

Thanks to everyone who did come to my seminar - very nice to see a full house as it's a lot easier to speak to a full room than a lot of empty chairs! If there are any follow up questions that you maybe didn't want to ask at the time or that only occurred to you afterwards, you can either post it here or email me at
By Jason
05 February 2014 11:46:00
Good to see the UK playing an active role on such an important issue on the world ACR stage.
Well done Graeme, you consistently continue to make a positive impact on this industry. Keep up the good work
Comments are closed on this post.
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