World Refrigeration Day is celebrating the national day of cooling this year by focusing on careers in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pumps industry and is titled “Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World”. The goal of the campaign is to inspire students and young professionals – for both men and women – in all countries, encouraging them to meet the challenges faced in their communities.

Here at JSA Service we pride ourselves on our staff, and the success of the company is driven by the people we employee. In fact, one of our longest standing employees has been with the company throughout its lifetime, for almost half a century!! We speak to Ed Holford to get a quick glimpse of his career in the industry:

How long have you been in the industry?

I started in July 1972, so next year it will be 50 years! 

What inspired you to start your career in the industry?

I had left school and didn’t even know there was any need for air conditioning in the UK. I applied for a job in the stores at the company that was to become JSA Service, and it all started there - opening boxes, looking and asking what the contents did and learning. My direct supervisor at the time told me “air conditioning gets in your blood” and my younger self thought “silly old duffer, as if” - and here I am all these years later!

What has been the most successful point of your career / memorable moment?

After so many years in the industry, it is hard to make a specific choice. For me, the profit hasn’t been the underlying factor, I enjoy solving clients and colleagues’ problems no matter what the financial value. The best project I have worked on? Every single one at JSA Service.

What challenges have you faced in your career?

Probably the biggest challenge was when, after our company, having been a franchise holder with a former major manufacturer, were forced to go it ‘alone’ when they bought back all the franchises; their offer to take over JSA Service was derisible and consequently we became an independent company and had to learn to diversify sources of supply and support.

We started to build what have become strong relationships with three other manufacturers and were sub-contracted out to carry out refrigerant conversions by another manufacturer on their Centrifugal range. Becoming an independent company made us stronger and has further developed the company reputation for being able to work on a large range of manufacturers products and source spares, a lot of work went into doing so.

Overall, the best thing is that the challenges were often shared so that solutions could be found, and I was fortunate in having support from some of the finest in the industry when having to overcome problems, so teamwork has been the key to keeping clients happy.

How do you see the industry progressing in the future? 

I think it will be much the same as the industry has seen in recent years; innovating, improving on energy and efficiency and the use of more environmentally friendly, natural refrigerants, as well as adapting to market changes in application.

What would you say to those looking to start their career in the industry?

The people in this industry are a different breed, having to learn and master the skills of components of other industries. If you enjoy challenges and your goal is to learn, improve and look after your clients’ needs, this industry will benefit you.