Nashville and its country flavor played host to the IIAR conference and trade show.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The majority of the close to 1,200 attendees at the 2007 International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) Ammonia Refrigeration Conference & Trade Show arrived in Nashville on St. Patrick’s Day.

The resulting confluence of country music and Irish tunes made for some interesting sounds at the local bars along nearby Broadway and Second Avenue that night. But the most important sound for conference attendees over the next four days were words spoken at business and committee meetings, in technical presentations, and at workshops and panel discussions at this annual event presented by the IIAR.


The 2006-07 IIAR Chairman David Grong, a contractor from Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration in Marshall, Minn., noted a key point the institute wanted to highlight. “Ammonia remains the most accepted, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly industrial refrigerant in the world. And it will remain that for many years to come.”

The balance of his remarks and the sessions that followed focused on how to make that point better known and how to better perform installation and maintenance.

“Advocacy on behalf of the (ammonia refrigeration) industry was the basis of the formation of IIAR about 35 years ago,” he said. “According to the membership survey that was conducted last summer, IIAR’s work as an industry advocate remains a top priority for our members.”

Grong cited IIAR efforts in “performing outreach with the fire service and advanced code changes that promote improved ammonia refrigeration system design,” representing the industry with Homeland Security issues, and developing guidelines for regulatory compliance.

He noted a shut-off valve video is now available, the ammonia data book is undergoing updating, and an industry training guideline is being published. He also said the education committee is looking into one-day seminars on topics such as safety, codes, and ammonia release control in response to requests from members.

Representatives of the Chinese Association of Refrigeration and the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration sign an agreement of understanding for an ongoing exchange of information.

IIAR involvement in ammonia advocacy worldwide was reflected in attendees from 22 countries outside the United States including eight representatives from China. During opening ceremonies, officials from Chinese Association of Refrigeration and the IIAR signed an agreement of understanding that establishes an ongoing exchange of information between the two organizations.

Grong also noted the IIAR Website ( was undergoing revisions resulting in an improved search engine, a chat room, and Web-based tools.

He said it is a goal of the association “to develop technical materials required by the global ammonia refrigeration industry.” Among projects in this area, he listed:

  • A new voluntary consensus standard for ammonia refrigeration valves (ANSI/IIAR-3) is now available from IIAR.

  • Several task groups from the Standards Review Committee are working on such areas as startup (IIAR-4), inspection and maintenance (IIAR-5), and operations (IIAR-6).

    He also noted that IIAR-2 is undergoing its periodic review and is expected to include recommendations from the Stress Corrosion Cracking Task Force.

    Also expected to be completed shortly after the conference is an Ammonia Refrigeration Management Program written primarily for use in facilities than have less than 10,000 pounds of ammonia.


    In what he called “an exciting new development for our industry,” 2007-08 IIAR Chairman Jeff Welch, a manufacturers’ rep with Freeze-Pro of Orange Park, Fla., announced the formation of the Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation. “The foundation has been formed to pursue two goals - ammonia refrigeration education and research.

    “Our goal is to establish an endowment that will fund projects that further the science of ammonia refrigeration and provide educational opportunities for those who pursue that science.”

    It was noted the foundation would provide research money as well as scholarships that can sometimes work synergistically as when a graduate student is provided scholarship money to conduct a research project for the foundation.


    With his elevation to chairman, Welch will serve in that top elected position until the association’s next conference March 15-19, 2008, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Honorary life memberships were presented to Bill Bowles of Evapco, Hank Bonar of Bonar Engineering, and Morris Eisert of American Industrial Refrigeration. Member of the Year honors went to Andy Pearson of Star Refrigeration.

    Sidebar: First ‘Other' Leads

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Membership in the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration is divided into five categories - contractor, end user, engineer, manufacturer, and ‘other.’ Jeff Welch is the first ‘other’ to be elected chairman.

    He is a manufacturer’s rep with Freeze-Pro Inc., a company he founded in 1985 and which handles such lines as Baltimore Aircoil, Mycom, and Alfa Laval. Reps along with consultants and others who might not fit into the first four categories, comprise the ‘others.’

    Welch’s roots are solidly in the industrial refrigeration camp. “I’m comfortable with a wrench in my hand. I’m a gear head,” he said.

    Upon graduation from the University of Maine with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1979, he took a position with York as a product engineer. That led to outside sales with FES Systems Inc. and in turn to his founding of Freeze-Pro, which is a three-person operation in Orange Park, Fla., consisting of Welch, Nigel Andrews, and Sharon Norman.

    Along the way, he found himself relying more and more on technical papers being generated by IIAR. “IIAR is industry-focused and is the source to go to,” he said.

    In fact, it was a technical paper that in a way led to his serving in elected offices within the association.

    In 1999, he co-authored with Andrews and presented a paper on line sizing using a spreadsheet. It ended up winning the Andy Ammonia Award as best technical paper presentation. (He is now a two-time winner of the award.)

    Two of his customers - Rex Brown of Alta Refrigeration and Dennis Carroll of Cimco Refrigeration - asked him to serve on the board of directors, and that eventually started him through the chairs that led to the highest elected office. He will serve as chairman until the IIAR’s next conference in March 2008 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    During his tenure, Welch said he wants to focus on making sure there is good communication with members. He said a newly redesigned Website ( will help in that. Another focus, he said, will be on research. One aspect of that will be to encourage and work with fellow trade association American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) on projects of importance to the industrial refrigeration sector.

    A second aspect of such research will come, he said, through the newly formed Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation. During his tenure, Welch said the foundation would be in the organizational phase. Eventually he said the foundation would be able to fund research projects furthering the state of the art of ammonia refrigeration and furthering IIAR’s position as “the preeminent source of ammonia refrigeration knowledge.”

    Publication date:05/14/2007