This is the final magazine of 2021, and it is appropriate to recap the past year and give account of where we have been, what we have learned and where we are going. It is also necessary to thank all who have played a part in moving this association forward. Almost everyone has heard or said, “When you are given lemons, make lemonade” or another favorite “When you get thrown off that horse, get back on it” and finally “You can’t change the hand you have been dealt, just the way you play them.” All of these adages are relevant to the general atmosphere of doing business in 2021.
As business owners, managers, and team members, you have had to cope with supply chain malfunctions, lockdowns, new safety protocols, illness, workforce disruption, lack of a motivated labor pool and most of all, the uncertainty of what lies ahead for your future. If history teaches us anything, we can be assured that the pandemic is just one of many events in the history of mankind that will be looked upon and talked about like the Spanish flu of 1917 and 1918. I am sure the people who lived through the Spanish flu were probably discussing when the next pandemic was going to occur, but with time those discussions became less and less prevalent until finally they were no more. Maybe the same thing happens with this pandemic. In 25 years, no one will hardly mention the adversity and problems that were created by COVID-19.
International travel, business trips, in-person meetings, and numerous other activities were affected this last year. When some events were held this past year, attendance was only a fraction of what it has been in the past. As much as we want to return to what we call a normal life, there is still much apprehension throughout the world.
Through all of the uncertainty and inability to meet in person, NARSA/IDEA was busy producing a virtual conference, several “Lunch & Learn” webinars, and an entire season of podcasts in 2021. We had a lot of help from our member volunteers, and I would like to thank everyone who played a part in offering their time and skills in helping us to produce programs that we could deliver to our members through our virtual platforms. Also I want to give a big shout out to our sponsors who supported our webinars and 2021 virtual conference: Johnson Manufacturing, Thermal Solutions Manufacturing, Diesel Emissions Services, TitanX, Damon, and AM Worldwide.
I would also like to thank my co-host of the Solder & Soot podcast, Bobby Duran. Bobby is our current NARSA/IDEA president and has been a huge proponent of podcasts over the years. By his direction and guidance NARSA/IDEA started a new podcast series. I would invite everyone to go to Apple, Spotify, or Anchor.fm and sign up for the Solder & Soot podcast. They are free and available even if you don’t belong to the association. Thank you to those who are listening to our podcasts and participating in our webinars. I appreciate your patience as we learn to be better presenters and hosts. We have all had to learn to grow and adapt during the past two years. Who would have ever thought a radiator man/welder would be doing podcasts and webinars?
We recently published a story in The Cooling Journal about young people in our industry. These kids started working in their parent’s businesses at a pretty young age and have aspirations to work with their hands. This story was a result of a picture posted on social media of a shop owner’s son unbolting a truck radiator.
Speaking of social media, our Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook followers have been steadily increasing. These platforms are worldwide and allow us to reach businesses across the globe. We currently have members in the UK, France, Africa, China, Australia, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, and South America. Social media makes it possible to interact with our members and other radiator businesses on a global level. Please take the time to post pictures of big, ugly, and or unique jobs on any of our social media platforms.
What our industry and association have learned over the last couple of years is that we are not in control, no matter how much we think we are. Even though there are experts who claim a pandemic has been talked about for years, this was still not part of the thought process for millions of businesses. We also learned that just in time inventory for manufacturing does not work well in a global economy where parts from all over the world are relied upon to manufacture or assemble a final product here in the United States. So many manufacturing lines have been hampered by the lack of availability of materials necessary for the production of heat exchangers. Thirdly, there is a major advantage to owning a radiator business and DPF Cleaning and supply business during a pandemic. For the service facilities who have the capabilities to fabricate radiators/ cooling system components and those companies who have the ability to buy stock, the service business has turned out to be very lucrative during the pandemic. As OE manufacturers for trucks, heavy equipment and power generators have had severe supply chain interruptions, cooling system service companies have been able to fill that void. Companies who wouldn’t otherwise do business with a particular service facility are now welcoming new customers whose needs they can meet.
I feel fortunate that my family has not been severely impacted by illness or death as a result of COVID-19, but I know there are many association members who have endured the pain of severe illness and even the sorrow of loss. My family and I pray for all who have suffered, and we pray for a brighter future in 2022.
My wife Sandy and I are very grateful for a great staff that works with us to build a better association. Linda Nguyen Skoglund and Mary Margaret Miller work with us everyday to make your membership experience better tomorrow than it was yesterday. We are thankful for the opportunity to work with the people we shared a common thread with for 36 years when we owned our radiator and DPF business. We are thankful and grateful for the leadership that is provided by the board of directors of NARSA/IDEA. The directors who volunteer their time and ideas for the betterment of our association and industry. The following people are currently board members: Aaron Morrow (Chairman), Bobby Duran (President), Bryan Braswell (1st Vice President), Corey Roppel ( 2nd Vice President), Roland Ewert (Treasurer). Regular board members include Rafael Taveras, Charlie Dorsey, Ed Moore, Steve Hoke, Thomas Hart, Scot Johnson, and Brian Cahill. We would also like to thank our past board members who have served during 2021: Phillip Cochran, Cindy Barlow and Kyle Rickerman. Without their dedication and support this association would not exist. Through the efforts and vision of the board members past and present, NARSA/ IDEA stays strong and relevant. Join me in giving thanks to all of our volunteers.
Recently, my wife Sandy and I attended AAPEX to show our support for the Mobile Heating and Cooling Pavilion. It was great to see our friends and business associates for the first time in two years. I was reminded as to how much I miss meeting with the people in our industries. There are a lot of people clamoring for an in person cooling systems/DPF event. Even though we postponed the event that was scheduled for this past September in Texas, the staff and board are in the process of re-planning the event for Spring of 2022. Your association is also in the very preliminary stages of planning the International tour for 2022 which will probably be held in the United Kingdom. Be on the lookout for more information about these two functions.
Last but not least, I want to thank our dedicated members who have supported the association through a very difficult business environment. We are blessed to have such great members, such a great bunch of volunteers, and a great staff. By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will have passed, and everyone will be getting ready for Christmas and New Years. We wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season. May you be prosperous in 2022.
NARSA/IDEA Executive Director
This editorial was originally published in the November/December issue of The Cooling Journal