We are proud to announce that Bassett Mechanical’s Chief Engineer, Dave Schaefer, has been named Chairman of the Board for the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR).
IIAR is the world’s leading advocate for safe, reliable, and efficient use of ammonia and natural refrigerants. They provide education, advocacy, and standards for the benefit of the global community in the safe and sustainable design, installation, and operation of ammonia and other natural refrigerant systems. “We promote the advancement of refrigerant design, safety standards, and education. What that really means is that we are here to help keep people and communities safe,” says Dave.
The organization works to provide resources and education on the full life-cycle of a refrigeration system including installation, startups for new systems, and decommissioning. Beginning strictly as an ammonia focused organization, IIAR has evolved to include all natural refrigerants including CO2 and propane. The organization provides education that covers the full breadth of refrigeration systems and applications from ice rinks to chillers and other systems. Education and training is done through IIAR’s Academy of Natural Refrigerants who continues to develop an entire suite of courses based on IIAR’s standards and best practices for safe and effective use of natural refrigerants.
“IIAR has a great staff and an incredible group of volunteers,” Dave states, “We are about 3,000 members strong and growing.” As a very involved non-profit, IIAR is able to enact safer and more improved standards for not only the United States but for companies using refrigeration systems across the world. The staff, teams, and committees that make up this organization are directly involved in changing and updating best practices that continue to make the industry safer.
Dave began over 30 years ago as a participant in IIAR’s annual conference. Throughout his years of experience with the safe application of the standards, his attention was drawn to standards that he felt had the opportunity for review. He joined the standards committee and has served as chair for IIAR-2, the ammonia design and safety standard. “I decided that I wanted to make an impact and get involved”, says Dave. Dave is now in his sixth year of participation with IIAR’s Boards, having served on the Board of Directors before moving to the Executive Committee and transitioning to his new IIAR Board Chair role. Dave says, “I’ve been fortunate to serve on various committees within IIAR for almost 10 years and have participated in the annual conference for over 30 years.”
As Board Chair, Dave works to collaborate with refrigeration professionals from all over the world. The board is equally represented by contractors, manufacturers, and end-users, providing a balance between all aspects of refrigeration. “There has to be a lot of compromise and collaboration,” says Dave, “to ensure all the objectives are met from a manufacturing and end-user standpoint”. In this role, Dave helps establish objectives for the group for his term. Under his leadership, the group will focus on increasing education and safe design. “I would love to see a future where all contractors can hold a certificate to ensure they are practicing optimal safety with their systems and maintaining the best design practices,” states Dave. “We are all in this together and we want to see everyone practice safety.”
“There is a huge knowledge transfer that occurs from the IIAR organization through us and to our customers as a result of our participation.”
As a company, Bassett Mechanical has been a leader in the refrigeration industry and an engaged participant in the IIAR organization for many years. Beyond Dave’s participation, several of our associates also hold positions within various committees of IIAR including the educational, piping, and PSM committees. This involvement adds value not only to the industry but to Bassett Mechanical’s customers as well. Dave describes “tech talks” as one of his responsibilities as Chief Engineer. “Part of my role is transferring knowledge. We make sure that everyone is up to speed on the very best practices and new standards so that our final designs are accurate and systems are maintained appropriately.” Dave goes on to discuss the complexity of these unique systems, “Compressors have to work properly with evaporators, which have to work properly with the condenser and the controls. Parts and materials have to be just right in order for the system to work safely and effectively. There is a huge knowledge transfer that occurs from the IIAR organization through us and to our customers as a result of our participation.”
Among ensuring our refrigeration associates are providing the best possible solutions, we also share our knowledge with customers within various educational platforms. Our associates have presented on topics like energy efficiency, PSM, and best practices through places like the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium (IRC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and Refrigeration Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA). “It’s all about getting the word out on how to make systems better and safer,” Dave shares.
Dave feels fortunate to be involved. “With so much information out there, being part of this collaborative industry effort has been one of the highlights of my career. You end up working really hard at it, but in the end, you get a lot more out of it.” This company-wide commitment has been invaluable in ensuring safe solutions for customers, the community, and the industry.