Since I first became actively involved in NARSA-IDEA over 15 years ago, I have only witnessed a few members get inducted into the Cooling Systems Service Hall of Fame. This honor is the most prestigious award NARSA/IDEA has to offer and is bestowed upon those members who have been living examples of the values of our organization. During my time in the organization, I was able to witness the induction of two good friends of mine.
In 2018, my friend Angelo Miozza was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Angelo was the owner of Westside Radiator in Denver, Pennsylvania and was a fixture in NARSA for decades. Angelo was a natural entrepreneur and grew Westside Radiator into a very successful multi-line business. He served as Treasurer for the organization for nearly 15 years and guided NARSA through some very challenging times. I had the good fortune to not only know Angelo in a business setting but also as a friend. He was a man of principle and truly deserving of induction into the hall of fame. Angelo passed on in 2019 and his presence in association is sorely missed by all that had the pleasure of having known him.
In 2019, industry legend Frank Finger was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Frank Finger literally grew up in his father’s radiator shop in North Brunswick, New Jersey. A career as musician gave way to the pull of the radiator shop and Frank grew a small radiator business into one of the largest radiator distributors in the country with 35 locations, two manufacturing facilities and two full-service shops. In a time when most car radiators were recored, Frank and his team were instrumental in introducing the complete radiator to the American market. His company, Wholesale Auto Radiator, pioneered the development of an in-house computerized lookup system for radiators when most companies were still using paper catalogs. Frank attended one of the first NARSA meetings in 1955 and continues to spread the knowledge he has acquired throughout a career that has spanned over 80 years. I encourage all to check out the Solder & Soot podcast for our interviews featuring Frank Finger.
I recently had the honor to preside over the induction of one of the most admired members of the NARSA/IDEA community. David Bienvenu has been a fixture of the NARSA community for more than 30 years now. I first met David at a NARSA event at his shop in 2009. It was one of the most successful Ed-Techs to that point, and it opened my eyes to a whole other branch of the heat transfer industry. David completely opened his shop to our members and freely shared his experience and knowledge. As a bonus, I was able to experience the Cajun culture and food at its best as well as witnessing David play the washboard in a Cajun band. A good time was had by all!
Ever since that event 2009, I have witnessed David demonstrate the values of NARSA time and time again. He would spend hours taking calls and emails from all over the country and the world helping them tackle a job they have never done before. My first plate and frame heat exchanger service would not have been possible without David guiding me through it. The same could be said for my first tube and shell service. Each time, David was patient and walked me through the task slowly and methodically. David was always happy to share where to find a product or a vendor for a certain specialized tool. He has also given many formal training sessions at various NARSA/IDEA events over the years.
Some people in our industry are hesitant to share their techniques to others. I myself completely understand this point of view as we all feel like we have our “secrets.” But throughout my years at NARSA/IDEA, I have come to realize that members like David who share so much of their knowledge and techniques are not adversely affected. His business never stopped growing. Instead, David’s willingness to share his vast knowledge has created a vast network of colleagues and friends worldwide. These friends have given him business in return but also created a pool of people that are willing to help him with any assistance he may need. In my case, David has helped me so much over the years that if he reaches out to me on something where I can be of assistance, I drop everything. I figure it will take me another 15 years to be even!
While David Bienvenu has positively impacted so many people professionally within NARSA/IDEA, David’s biggest impact on me has been on a personal level. Besides being someone I look up to for the way he runs his business and his technical acumen, I truly look up to David for the way he carries himself in his personal life. He is a dedicated husband to his lovely wife Jeanne (who for the record makes the world’s best gumbo) and a devoted father to his daughters Emily and Stephanie. As a young man starting my own family, I looked up to David as an example of where I would like to be in that regard. I encourage everyone to also check out the Solder & Soot podcast episode featuring David.
It has been my greatest honor as President of NARSA/IDEA to induct David Bienvenu into the Cooling Systems Service Hall of Fame. When I think of someone who embodies the values and spirit of the organization, David Bienvenu is among the first that comes to mind. He is often asked why he so freely gives his knowledge and time to others. I have always heard him respond that if he does not pass on his knowledge, who will do the work in the future? Throughout his career, David has left a light on and a ladder out for those who are coming up behind him. For this, I am forever appreciative and proud to have David Bienvenu as the latest inductee into the Hall of Fame.
Cooling Systems Caribe
Aibonito, Puerto Rico
This editorial was originally published in the May/June issue of The Cooling Journal