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Former FETA and BRA chairman John Austin-Davies announces retirement

Decision marks an end to a 40-year career working in commercial cooling that also focused on pushing for new approaches to training to tackle major cooling industry challenges

John Austin-Davies, honoured at this year’s RAC Cooling Awards for a four-decade career working in commercial refrigeration and his efforts to support training, has announced he is retiring.

Having started his career with Prestcold in 1978, Mr Austin-Davies moved to George Barker & Co in 1980, a company where he spent the rest of his career and became the group’s commercial director.

Over this time, he also served as chair of the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) and the British Refrigeration Association.

FETA said in a statement that Mr Austin-Davies had been a major advocate for industry training through his work in chairing the Trailblazer Apprentice Employer’s Group as well as through involvement with the Institute of Refrigeration and ACRIB.

This work was honoured at last Month’s RAC Cooling Awards. Mr Austin-Davies was given the RAC Gold Award on the night, which recognises significant long-term progress in working to tackle major environmental issues in the industry.

He was praised in particular for efforts over a number of decades to promote good training and in pushing the profile of natural refrigerant since the 1990s.

Mr Austin-Davies said in announcing his retirement that industry had undergone significant changes through his professional career that were reflected in his own progression through commercial cooling.

He said, “That journey has encompassed refrigerant changes from CFC through to natural refrigerants, the start-up of the Barker Refrigeration Contracting and Service and Maintenance business, the role of technical director for several years and, via Epta product marketing, into the role of UK commercial director.”

Mr Austin-Davies added that he would continue to follow technological developments in the industry, “I have remained a ‘techie’ throughout my professional life, and I shall retain this interest after my retirement through various means, including ongoing activity in the Institute of Refrigeration.”

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