As 2022 comes to a close, The ACHR NEWS is looking back at the past year in the HVAC industry. To do that, we are highlighting four HVAC NEWSmakers that have made headlines in the last 12 months.
Danfoss acquired a new president this summer when Rick Sporrer, a long-time veteran of the company, moved into the position that was vacated by John Galyen, who retired after serving as president of Danfoss North America since 2011.
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree of science in agricultural engineering from Iowa State University, Sporrer embarked on his career with Danfoss in 1990. He started in the Power Solutions segment, where he worked in numerous capacities, including design engineering, applications engineering, account management, and sales management. In his new role as president, he is responsible for the functional areas that support all three Danfoss segments: drives, climate solutions, and power solutions.
Admittedly new to the HVACR industry, Sporrer has a clear business strategy for Danfoss that is focused on enhancing the position of each of the company’s business segments for future growth and achieving critical mass in electrification technologies.
“Through innovation and leading application expertise, we want to be a strong partner to support our customers in their journey towards decarbonization,” he said. “This aligns closely with our goal to accelerate the development, deployment, and utilization of digital tools to serve our customers more efficiently and effectively.”
Indeed, accelerating the transition to more energy-efficient, low-carbon solutions represents one of the biggest business opportunities for Danfoss, said Sporrer.
“Danfoss has a broad history and global application experience in CO2 for supermarkets, heat pumps, and heat recovery for commercial buildings,” he said. “We have the broadest portfolio of products in the HVAC industry that includes controls, compressors, drives, and heat exchangers to help our customers maximize the overall efficiency of their systems. Additionally, we’ve invested in application development centers to partner with our customers for testing and certification to bring these solutions to market faster than ever before.”
In addition to these opportunities, Sporrer recognizes that there are a few challenges on the horizon, including the need for Danfoss to strengthen its digital toolset to address new requirements and customer expectations. A second challenge involves company culture — ensuring the environment is inclusive and engages the entire workforce.
“While this is a challenge for all companies, Danfoss has committed to it as part of its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities,” he said. “I want to ensure we are providing a leading employee experience that values and respects diversity and inclusion.”
While decarbonization provides a major opportunity for Danfoss, it also represents one of the three major trends impacting the HVACR industry, said Sporrer.
“Decarbonization efforts, electrification, and low-GWP refrigerant transitions are accelerating in North America,” he said. “Currently, 800 U.S. and Canadian cities and towns have climate action plans with some form of ‘net zero by 2050’ target. Manufacturers and the private sector need to work together to meet sustainability objectives.”
The second industry trend is smart HVACR, which involves the integration of technologies that enable energy-efficient improvements and advanced control of the indoor environment. Sporrer noted that the industry will need to find innovative ways to reduce complexity and make integrations seamless in order to support this trend.
Workforce development is the third industry trend that Sporrer identified and extremely important, as the industry continues to grow and the demand for certified HVAC technicians increases.
“At the same time, the interest among young people to pursue a career in the trades has declined, so collectively, the industry must identify methods to attract, develop, and retain certified HVACR technicians,” he said.
Sporrer has a lot on his plate, but he loves working for Danfoss and is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“Danfoss is a purpose-driven company with a very strong culture and commitment to our customers, employees, and communities. We provide products and solutions that help transform the world in which we live,” he said. “I also like working for a company that balances the need to act locally, with the opportunity to impact global trends like electrification, digitalization, and climate action.”