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RSES Conference Builds Bridges to Learning

RSES Conference Builds Bridges to Learning

As HVACR industry shows go, RSES gives an extraordinary amount of time to this event. The RSES conference filled six days with chapter and committee meetings, seminars, a trade show, field trips, and an annual awards luncheon.

The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society held its 76th Annual Conference and HVACR Technology Expo in Pittsburgh, PA in October, and the event was another winner for the organization.

As HVACR industry shows go, RSES gives an extraordinary amount of time to this event. The RSES conference filled six days with chapter and committee meetings, seminars, a trade show, field trips, and an annual awards luncheon.

The RSES management team had all the bases covered for show attendees.
Contractors toured 40 exhibits on the day of the RSES Technology Expo.
Jim Burke described combustion analyzer features during the tour of the Bacharach facility.


This year, the show was held in conjunction with the RSES Chapter, Empire Keystone
Association’s 50th Annual Conference.

The 2013 conference theme was “Champions of Education,” and it featured more presentations by HVACR manufacturers, refrigerant suppliers, and contractors. Topics included team building, brazing techniques, refrigerant updates, motor technology, and more. The week included a visit to the Bacharach and Sherwood Valve facilities.

Refrigerant Choices are Changing
Robert Wilkins, vice president of public affairs for Danfoss, presented the keynote address. A frequent speaker at industry events, Wilkins advocates energy and sustainability policies that support industry advancement. He emphasized the changes that are shaping how the HVACR industry uses older and newer refrigerants, and the importance of energy efficiency.

Wilkins shared news of recovery of ozone level concentrations, which he said represents “a broad collaboration around the world to solve a problem that was beginning to effect all of us, before it reached a critical stage.” However, he added there’s more to be done.

“Most comonly used HFC refrigerants still have a GWP that is 2,000 to 4,000 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2), and that’s getting a lot of attention around the world, as more countries switch from CFCs and into HFC refrigerants,” Wilkins said, and added that there’s now growing support in U.S. industry for a market-based phasedown of HFC refrigerants.

“The concept is to limit production and let the market decide who buys what at what price, not regulation of users and rationing; that would mean more command and control regulations that nobody wants,” he said.
Wilkins urged HVACR contractors to draft refrigerant management plans, since refrigerant value will increase as the phasedown continues. A refrigerant management plan should include refrigerant inventories, training, determining a surplus of refrigerants to be sold and at what price; determining what can be done to reduce leaks and servicing requirements, and refrigerant replacement options.

“Leak rates in supermarkets average 25% to 35% a year, and the best-in-class stores are down to around 15% per year. There’s a lot to be done, and as the price of refrigerants rises, superparket financial managers are going to be asking, ‘what should we do to use less refrigerant?’” Wilkins said.

Various Awards Presented
Among the awards presented during the Annual Awards Luncheon:

  • Cal Ferguson, CMS, won the Imperial Award for highest grade in 2013 in a specialist examination category.
  • Matt Helon, CM of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, won the David M. Lawson "Service of Excellence" Award.
  • Jaroy Robers, CMS of the Permian Basin Chapter won the "Rising Star" Award.
  • Elana C. Castillo of San Antonio Chapter won first place in the Printed Newsletter category.
  • Stan Hollander, CMS, won the Member of the Year Award.
Steve Wright, Sr. of Wright Bros., left, receives the Commercial Refrigeration Contractor of the Year Award from Executive Editor Terry McIver.

Steve Wright, Sr., president, Wright Bros. Refrigeration, Griffin, GA, received the Commercial Refrigeration Contractor of the Year Award, presented by Terry McIver, executive editor of

Special Announcements
• A new RSES webinar series has been a success, with topics such as addressing
airflow issues, compressor troubleshooting, and servicing defrost systems in
commercial refrigeration.
• The RSES Contractor Corporate Membership has been expanded to include individual memberships. Memberships were previously non-transferrable, but memberships can now be transferred to a new employee, should another employee leave a company.
• The Penn College of Technology in Williamsport, PA will offer credits for RSES training courses
towards an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in HVACR.
• A new “Battle of the Regions” competition will be held during every annual conference, in which participants from RSES regions answer three rounds of HVACR technical questions. This year’s competition was won by the team from Region 5&7 — David Cooley, Jayson Goff, Tim Sutton, and Steve Wright, Sr., director.  

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