I came into the HVACR industry in 1985, just about the time we became a regulated industry. There was talk about a phaseout of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants and maybe even, gasp, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). There was talk about having to become certified to buy and use refrigerants. And there was something called the Montreal Protocol being talked about.

I used to say, “I came into the industry along with the Montreal Protocol — but it isn’t my fault.”

I wasn’t a new kid on the block back then, having worked on high school and college newspapers and as a writer and editor on a daily newspaper. I did public relations for a small college, and then was a ghostwriter for articles “written” by health care executives.

The latter job landed me as editor of a medical magazine that was owned by a company that also published a refrigeration magazine, RSC. That was in February 1985, and that began an interesting few months. The editor of the refrigeration magazine gave his two-week notice to go to work for a competitor and I was asked to “fill in” for him until a permanent editor could be found. (I ended up waiting almost 30 years for that editor, by the way.)

In June 1985, BNP Media (then Business News Publishing) purchased RSC and I went along. I stayed with that magazine until the late-1990s when it went to that “Great Condensing Unit in the Sky,” and I came over to serve as the refrigeration editor for The NEWS.

Now, the time has come to move on. So, after 29 ½ years at BNP Media and exactly 30 years in the HVACR industry, I will be retiring as of Feb. 15, 2015.


What I will miss the most are the people of the HVACR industry: the service technicians, contractors, trade association folks, those in the manufacturing sector, and the agency folks — as well my colleagues at The NEWS.

In some ways, I will miss the excitement of seeing all the changes that are ever ongoing in the industry and the challenge of sorting out the meaning of all those changes for our readers.

Not Missing

I won’t miss all the technological changes taking place in the media. I go back to the days of working at a Royal typewriter writing stories with carbon paper, editing them with a red grease pencil, and sending them by conveyor belt to a typesetter. There were no laptops, tablets, cell phones, e-mails, text messages, Internet, tweets, webinars, or even Power Point presentations in those days.

While my wife said I can learn all the new technologies (and I have learned some of them), I don’t think I want to try to keep up with all of them. The current generation of my colleagues at The NEWS are all much younger and far better able to serve our readers in new and innovative ways.

(A side note here as to why I especially won’t miss some social media: Twitter limits communication to 140 characters. There are chemical formulas for some refrigerants longer than 140 characters.)

And I certainly won’t miss all the business travel, which gets tougher and tougher these days.

Keeping Busy

I do plan to keep busy. I have long been active with a local Kiwanis Club and with the men’s ministry of my church, and also as a volunteer at a food bank and with the local symphony orchestra. I plan to step up involvement in all those areas and others, but, finally, without having to check e-mails constantly for the latest crisis du jour.

And if I have a final thought, it is this: The Montreal Protocol is NOT my fault.

Publication date: 12/29/2014 

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