Life is about change and as much as some of us like the status quo, change is inevitable. Change is like being on a set of railroad tracks; you don’t always know when the train is coming, but sooner or later it is coming. Sometimes we will resist change because we are afraid. Most human beings will play the “What if?” game and won’t feel comfortable or thrilled about the outcome of some of the what ifs that we conjure up in our minds.
The nature of all human beings has been the same since the beginning of time. This is one constant, but what changes are circumstances related to the nature of human beings. From caveman foraging for food to a modern person of today’s world who is using technology as part of their everyday life, you can observe the massive amount of change over the last thousands of years.
We are reminded on a quarterly basis or for some of us who have been living in the Caribbean. It’s more like a bi-annual basis about the change of seasons. So, as it is with the seasons of weather, I will start a new season of life before the end of 2023. In 2019 when I offered to manage NARSA/IDEA, I told the Board of Directors that I would serve for 4-5 years. This information is not new and has been publicized before.
Beginning on October 1, 2023, NARSA/IDEA, will embark on a new chapter as Doug Shymoniak will start the training process to become the next Executive Director. By the time AAPEX occurs, Doug will be positioned to take over the management of the association. Doug has a history with NARSA as he worked with the association for several years in the past. It will be great to welcome Doug as he starts his new role as Executive Director for NARSA/IDEA. The Board of Directors are enthusiastic about Doug joining us again to help steer the Association into the future. Doug is also excited to re-establish his old relationships with people in our industry and association.
I have a lot of thanks to give before leaving, and I will start the process in this editorial. First and foremost, I thank my wife, Sandy, because her support of my business endeavors never falters. From learning to become a bookkeeper when I owned ERS Cooling Systems to becoming my Executive Assistant in managing NARSA/IDEA, she has always dedicated her time and talents to supporting whatever job needed to be accomplished. Her organization and persistence to “get ‘er done” is exceptional and admirable. I couldn’t do life without her. Thank you, Sandy!
Next, I would like to thank Mary Margaret Miller and Linda Skoglund. Two ladies who helped so much to make sure NARSA/IDEA stayed relevant through the pandemic and applied their talents to making the association better than it was before they arrived.
MM, as Mary Margaret is affectionately known, relinquished her job with NARSA/IDEA to be a mother this past April. Knowing she probably wouldn’t be returning she worked tirelessly to coordinate the Spring Conference in Rochester, she sold sponsorships and secured the magazine advertising for the rest of the year. She was the one Sandy and I turned to in the very beginning to help us with managing NARSA/IDEA. Her cheerful, bright attitude made everyone who met her instantly love her. Even though she was relentless in selling sponsorships and advertising, she had developed great relationships with our sponsors, supporters and members. We wish MM the best with her family and all of her future endeavors.
A few months after MM joined our team, we met Linda Skoglund. Linda’s husband is in the Army, and she was left in Puerto Rico by herself when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2019. We met Linda for the first time at her birthday party. As I walked around her home, I noticed there were Emmy nominations and other awards hanging on the wall. Linda worked in the TV news business and had been nominated for an Emmy Award and won an Associated Press award because of stories she did while working with an ABC network affiliate in Tennessee. Within weeks of meeting Linda, she joined our team and we couldn’t have imagined how great of an addition she would turn out to be. Linda takes care of everything that pertains to communications. She compiles and writes articles for the Cooling Journal magazine, she posts on social media, she edits and produces our podcasts and even made a new website for NARSA/IDEA. The list of her duties and accomplishments are too many, and I cannot thank her enough for applying her talents to help make me look like I knew what I was doing. Linda will be staying on and assisting Doug like she assisted Sandy and me. The association is very fortunate to have her and what she brings to NARSA/IDEA. Thank you, Linda, for supporting us and doing such a great job.
When I took the job as Executive Director in 2019, Aaron Morrow, was the President of the association. Most people don’t know how great of a young gentleman Aaron is. With his help, we managed the change of Executive Directors and navigated the challenges of a pandemic. Aaron did an incredible job as your president and because of his leadership the Association started to make improvements even while in a pandemic.
After Aaron stepped down as President and became Chairman of the board, my great friend and business associate for over 15 years, Bobby Duran became the next President. Ever since we met in 2008, our friendship flourished and grew stronger as the years went by. From traveling the world for business and pleasure, we have always had a great time in each other’s company. Even though our relationship was centered around the radiator business, since it played such a big part in our lives, our friendship transcended business to become like a close family relationship. I have the greatest amount of admiration for Bobby. He has become such a great father, husband, businessman, and of course, a cherished friend. Having Bobby as president and now as Chairman of the board has been like going back in time when we worked so closely together in our radiator businesses. Bobby has always had NARSA’s best interest at heart. He dedicates his time and is devoted to helping NARSA-IDEA succeed now and in the future.
This brings me to our current President, Bryan Braswell. Bryan is third-generation radiator man, third-generation board member, and third-generation President. Bryan’s grandfather Charlie and his Dad Chuck served as Presidents of our association. I am amazed at how mature and business savvy Bryan is at his age.
Our association has very capable people in leadership roles and on the Board of Directors. Our board members are diverse as they represent every facet of our businesses from manufacturing, distribution, service, and the emissions sector. Your association is blessed to have so many talented and dedicated people who are steering the course of this association. I want each officer and board member to know how grateful I am to have had you on the NARSA/IDEA team.
Most of our members don’t know how much time and effort the board puts into assuring the welfare of this association. The board currently has three virtual board meetings and one in-person board meeting, along with monthly calls to report on the financial health of the association. Each board member is on a committee which has special areas to concentrate on for the benefit of adding value to membership.
I want to personally thank Roland Ewert for overseeing the finances of the association as its Treasurer. Corey Roppel, our Vice President will follow Bryan as our next President and Corey comes from a long line of radiator men in his family. Our current board members are Rafael Taveras, Scot Johnson, Aaron Morrow, Hope Thompson, Steve Hoke, Brian Cahill, Thomas Hart, Dave Dries, and Nathan Ingrao, to each a warm and deserving thank you.
It has been a real honor and privilege to work with each person on the board during the last 4+ years. You have truly made my time with NARSA/IDEA special. There are many people who I have excluded either due to my memory or just not enough space to thank each person individually. To all the past board members who have served and all the members who have supported the association and me over the last few years, thank you.
As I look back to when we took over management of NARSA/IDEA and I look at the association now, I am so proud of the job our team has done. There can always be more achieved but the progress that has been made over the last 4+ years has positioned the association for future success. Our only goal was to leave the association in a better position than when we arrived, and I think that has been accomplished. The progress and victories we had were a team effort, staff and the Board of Directors working together to ensure NARSA/IDEA would have a future.
My wife Sandy and I are very blessed and look forward to the next season of our life. I have spent more than four decades in this business, and my wife has been involved for two and a half decades. I really don’t know anything else other than the radiator business, but it is not radiators and DPFs that I will miss the most. I will miss you the most. To the people in our industries who have made our lives special and rewarding, we will never forget the memories we have made and shared.
When I was thinking about writing my last editorial, I remembered a song from the Sound of Music, “So long, farewell, Aufwiedersehe, Goodbye.” The Von Trapp children sang this song to their guests at a party they were hosting right before they went to bed. I think it is appropriate as I now say, “So Long!”
2019 – 2023