During the past few weeks I have spoken to more people about the Institute of Refrigeration than I recall ever doing during my time in the industry. The current election for the IoR President-Elect has sparked debate, which has been seen by some as so fierce that some commentators talk of a rift in the membership.
What I have seen are many members from all sides of the membership whom are passionate about the IoR and want it to succeed. The IoR is seen as a model for the spirit of learning, innovation, and engineering excellence. It is also a model for collaboration and tolerance.
The IoR strengths stem from the fact that its aims are a shared endeavour which unites all aspects of this wonderful industry. Members are rightly proud of the Institute's achievements and history that have not only put it on the map but also into the world's collective consciousness. The IoR, like the history of refrigeration itself, has global traditions and appeals to members all around the world. It was born out of a desire to help others. Development in the true sense of the word is raising the progress of the community. Refrigeration has played a central role in this progress and truly transformed the way people live.
Education has been at the heart of the IoR's quest for excellence. Education is key to nurturing the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The IoR is a perfect blend of the academic and the practical. It is through this combination of skills and talents that it encourages ideas to turn into practical solutions.
I had the opportunity a few years back to look through some of the early IoR history when writing a piece on the history of the annual dinner for ACR News
. Reading through the early speeches and notes from a century ago, I was filled with both humility and pride, and inspired by the optimism and determination to strive further. Each year they spoke eloquently about extending the IoR's unwavering commitment to the development of refrigeration. A commitment which respects the traditions of the past, and the environment, while eagerly embracing the future.
As we embark upon this new era, we should aim to build and exceed the wishes of the founding fathers and never allow complacency to take hold. In the race for excellence, there is no finish line. What I sensed when talking to the members is that this determined spirit is still alive and well and at the heart of this industry.
Talking to people at the dinner, I did sense a growing frustration from some members but as I looked around the dining hall at the annual dinner last week, I did not see a divided membership, I saw a treasure trove of experience, knowledge, enthusiasm and energy, all networking together. This is the true strength of the institute, its members. If we pull together we have a strong Institute and together we really can change the world.
As we face the new global challenges of the current century we can have one Institute, with one vision. It is in our hands.
By the way, if you are a member and you have not voted, you still have until the end of March to do so. Voting for your preferred candidate is one way of helping to shape the future direction of the Institute, don't let this opportunity pass you by.