Cooling industry honours Graeme Fox

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Graeme Fox, head of technical at the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and REFCOM technical lead has been awarded one of the industry’s top accolades.

He is this year’s recipient of the Gold Award for outstanding achievement at the Cooling Industry Awards organised by RAC magazine.

Members of the judging panel were hugely impressed by the enormous efforts Graeme put into helping the industry deal with the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. He provided unstinting leadership and practical guidance to help contractors overcome the restrictions and special technical challenges posed by the crisis as well as helping them navigate the procedural issues that threatened, at one point, to overwhelm the industry.

He dealt with the potential chaos around renewals of F-Gas registrations when all training colleges were closed by the pandemic and the problems created for firms looking to update their REFCOM certifications. Despite that workload, he continued to keep the industry constantly updated about the implications from the looming Brexit deadline and changes to refrigerant quotas triggered by the next phase of the F-Gas regulations.

On top of all that, Graeme has continued to champion the global ‘driving licence’ for safe refrigerant handling developed with UNEP that seeks to help emerging nations keep up with international best practice. As RAC editor Andrew Gaved put it: “That’s quite a year, even by your own high standards, so please accept my own congratulations, alongside those of the judges.”

Graeme is a chartered engineer with over 30 years’ experience specialising in air conditioning, heat pumps, and small commercial refrigeration. As well as heading up BESA’s technical team he is also technical lead of the UK’s primary F-Gas registration scheme REFCOM.

He is a longstanding board member of the Institute of Refrigeration and past president of AREA (Air Conditioning and Refrigeration European contractors' Association). He ran his own contracting business for more than 25 years specialising in air conditioning design and installation and troubleshooting problem installations.

Graeme thanked the judges and said he was “truly humbled” to receive the award as it meant his efforts were appreciated by his peers. He admitted to “ruffling a few feathers” over the years in his efforts to bring about change, “but this award is testament to the fact that sometimes that feather ruffling can have a positive effect on the industry for the longer term, and I look forward to continuing my drive for raising standards in our sector”.

He went on to thank friends and colleagues, including on the international scene via AREA and UNEP, but gave particular praise to the members and staff of BESA and REFCOM.

“I have worked with some incredibly passionate people determined to make our sector better for all; and some great industry stalwarts who have helped and guided me – some no longer with us but never forgotten. Thank you.”

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