Big Shoes to Fill

An 8-hour plane ride is an excellent time to collect your thoughts and create a theme for your first Cooling Journal editorial, and the return from the 2022 NARSA International Tour in Scotland provided just that. Feeling refreshed and energized after my first International Tour, I jotted down some notes for my first assignment as president. 

For those of you who haven’t attended this event, it is an amazing place to connect with peers in the industry and receive firsthand experience on how businesses across the globe operate. The staff from both Advanced Radiators and G & M Radiator were unbelievable, and the travel through the Scottish countryside was breathtaking. It also never hurts to cap off an event with a trip to the historic St. Andrews golf course.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to the NARSA/IDEA members, Board of Directors, Mark and Sandy Taylor, and their team, as well as all the sponsors for trusting me to lead this amazing organization for the next two years. I guess you could say I was born into NARSA, with my father (Chuck Braswell) and grandfather (Linwood Braswell) serving on the board as well as holding presidential seats. Not a NARSA event goes by that someone doesn’t pull me aside for a quick anecdote about a kind gesture that my grandad did when they were first starting in the radiator business or a story of how my dad was tasked with giving the blessing at each event he attended. These two men have created such a strong foundation for our family in this industry that it seems only natural for me to follow in their footsteps and serve as the next NARSA/IDEA president, but boy will these be some awfully big shoes to fill. Living up to the great example that my family has set in the industry is no easy task, but the lessons learned throughout my short career undoubtedly equipped me with the tools needed to step up to the plate. The tools may not be solder, a torch, or a hammer, but the unwavering belief that what we do is a vital part of every nation’s infrastructure and economy. 

Of all the lessons that I have learned from my dad and grandfather, there is one that sticks out and applies to this organization the most. As probably best told by Frank Finger, Linwood was at an event in which he made the statement, “If one of us was to purchase something from the other, we only gain from the one transaction, but if we extend our knowledge to each other, then we both walk away the richer.” I’ve heard this story retold numerous times and watched the living example of this with my dad, but now more than ever, it is apparent to me that this is what this association is about. 

At the core of NARSA, we all strive to walk away with one new idea, one new connection, or one new opportunity. What we realize when diving into this idea, is not only does each of us have something to gain, but each of us has something to give as well. It’s not always about what we are taking away from these events, but what we are willing to give to those around us to make this industry better for us all.  One of the best examples of this that I know of is the relationships that I’ve watched my father build throughout his time in the industry: lifelong friends that he could call on in a moment’s notice, people from all over the world reaching out for technical advice, or simply just to check on how we were doing. Time after time, I have seen examples of people in this industry put service over self to help others thrive in this association, and this is where I believe NARSA/IDEA really shines. 

I owe a great deal of thanks to women behind the scenes that help make this possible for me: my wife Jasmine for supporting me in this endeavor, and my mother Tammy who has gracefully mediated the father/son business relationship for the last 10 years. I would also like to thank former NARSA/IDEA President Bobby Duran. His guidance during our time together and dedication to the industry should not go unnoticed, and I am extremely grateful to be able to build on the framework that he has left for me. 

Throughout the history of NARSA/IDEA, the Board of Directors has been tasked with gaining membership, helping educate repair technicians, and creating an atmosphere that brings us all together. My hope is that during my tenure as NARSA/IDEA President, we can continue to be an association that always lends a helping hand, where ideas can be freely exchanged, and one that my father and grandfather would be proud of.

Bobby Duran

Bryan Braswell
NARSA/IDEA President
bryan@rockymountradiator.com
Rocky Mount Radiator
Rocky Mount, North Carolina

This editorial was originally published in the September/October issue of The Cooling Journal.

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