2014 Hall of Fame
Nominees are inducted into the ARBS Hall of Fame by the ARBS member industry associations. Inductees have significantly contributed to the development of the HVAC&R and building services industry in recognition of outstanding service, contribution and commitment above and beyond the call of duty. The individuals have worked tirelessly, and in most cases voluntarily to further the industry and its endeavours with demonstrable achievements that have greatly benefited the industry.
Alan Woodhouse – nominated by ARWA
Alan Woodhouse first entered the HVAC&R industry in 1982, after being appointed NSW State Manager and later General Manager for Actrol Parts.
After the closure of the Pacific Chemicals’ CFC & HCFC plant, which was at that time, Actrol’s main supplier of refrigerants, Alan was appointed Chairman of the Association of Fluorocarbon Consumers and Manufacturers (AFCAM) where he was privileged to work closely with then manager Steven Anderson. One of his lasting achievements was in the design of the HCFC phase-out program in the mid 1990’s.
At this time Alan was also instrumental in the formation of Refrigeration Reclaim Australia (RRA) which was established to oversee the management of all refrigerants with a ‘from the cradle to the grave’ philosophy. RRA manages the reclamation, reconstructing of product and, where possible, the ultimate destruction of refrigerant products.
With AFCAM, other relevant industry stakeholders and with Federal Government guidance, Alan oversaw the formation of National Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Council (NRAC), a not for profit organisation, predominately owned by the industry.
Alan was personally awarded the ‘Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award’ in 2004 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for leadership in the Australia’s responsible use of fluorocarbon refrigerants. This prestigious award was a personal highlight in his long career for his vision and tenacity in assisting this industry.
Not yet completing his journey, and utilising his excellent relationships with all segments if the industry Alan realised his final vision, that being the establishment of the ARBS Exhibitions Ltd. Another ‘not for profit’ organisation, Alan chaired the board of ARBS for the first 8 years establishing the now internationally recognised event as the ‘showcase’ that would allow everyone in the industry a platform to exhibit their many products and services.
Kevin Lee – nominated by AREMA
Kevin Lee is a retired management executive with a strong technical background and more than 38 years of local and overseas experience in manufacturing, product design and regulatory compliance within the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry.
Throughout his career, Kevin has demonstrated leadership and vision on many occasions.
Kevin has taken many active roles in the industry over the past 25 years, initially
with the Commercial Refrigeration Manufacturers Association (CRMA) which later merged with the Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia (AREMA).
Kevin has been involved for more than 20 years in representation on the Australian Standards committees for refrigeration and air- conditioning as well as many other roles and committees such as Refrigerants Australia (RA), ARC, ICARHMA and AIRAH.
Alan Obrart – nominated by CIBSE ANZ
There are few that have given more of their time to the betterment of our industry.
Alan has started and managed a number of successful companies and yet still found time to play key roles in a range of professional Associations, Institutes and industry bodies. He has represented our industry on countless government panels, and just when most people would be looking to retire he took on the role of Adjunct Senior Lecturer and co-ordinator for Sydney Universities Graduate Building Services programme so that he could assist in providing better learning outcomes for young (and not so young) engineers.
His CV is most impressive. Putting aside his achievements in the commercial world, Alan has been an office bearer for Engineers Australia since 1978. He is an ex-President of AIRAH and the current Vice President of the Society of Building Services Engineers. Alan has held Councillor Positions with RACCA and AMCA and sat on the Australian Building Codes Board ‘Energy Efficiency Working Group’ since 2001. He has been a member of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Education Committee, and is a valuable member of NSW joint CIBSE/SBSE committee.
Alan was also on the AIRAH NSW organising committee responsible for the exhibition segment of the big three 1980’s AIRAH Fairs, first at the Royal Agricultural Society Showgrounds, culminating in the event at Darling Harbour Sydney, which was the predecessor to the current ARBS Exhibitions.
Albert Watson – nominated by AMCA
Albert Watson arrived in Australia, from England as a young boy with his family on what he often refers to as a “10 pound ship” and commenced a sheet metal apprenticeship with T O’Connor & Sons. After further study Albert went on to qualify as an Engineer at the South Australian Institute of Technology.
After several successful years with O’Connor & Sons, Albert achieved his lifetime goal and established Watson Fitzgerald and Associates in 1984 along with Ted Fitzgerald. Initially Albert and Ted worked out of a rented shed at Beverly and the back of a ute, along with 4 employees. Over the following years Peter Spencer replaced the retiring Ted Fitzgerald the company moved to their current premises at Torrensville, where they currently employ 90 people.
Albert also has a strong commitment to the industry, having served on the AMCA SA Executive Committed for more than 25 years, where he has served as president of AMCA SA from 1995 to 1997 and 2008 to 2010. Albert has worked tirelessly with several working groups on the development of Building Information Modeling (BIM) including presentation at overseas and national conferences. He is very keen to ensure that the industry as a whole in SA progresses with the latest technology, which has included open access to the Watson Fitzgerald BIM Modeling staff for training of other member’s staff at his offices over several weeks. The development of the South Australian – BIM User Group was an initiative of Albert’s, a group which is very active in S A.
Albert is a modest and unassuming man, however his knowledge, generosity and commitment to the industry, marks him out as industry leader who is respected by the whole industry.
Bill Siganto, L.AIRAH – nominated by AIRAH
Born in 1936, JJW (Bill) Siganto, L.AIRAH, has been a towering figure in the Australian HVAC industry over the past century.
In 1968, with the late Sid Stacey, Bill established Siganto & Stacey, based in Queensland. The company was founded on an opportunity that arose when contracting equipment companies ceased supply.
Later, Siganto + Stacey was one of the first in the industry to bridge the gap between the use of traditional air conditioning practice and the design and construction of innovative engineering solutions.Now wholly owned by the Siganto family, the company has operations throughout Australia.
Outside of the tremendous accomplishment of establishing and growing his company from start-up to national presence, Bill has been an enormously important figure within – and contributor to – the HVAC&R industry.
After joining AIRAH in 1964, Bill served as President from 1975–1975. This was a time of substantial change in the construction industry as commercial high-rise buildings came to prominence. It required genuine resolve and commitment to serve on AIRAH’s national executive during this period.
Passionate about technological innovation and best practice, Bill has been a regular presenter at the Institute’s conferences, most recently at AIRAH’s 90th Anniversary Conference in 2010.
Bill is one of only a select few individuals to have earned both AIRAH life membership and the prestigious James Harrison Medal – AIRAH’s highest individual honour, which was conferred on Bill in 1993.
Fellow AIRAH life member and Harrison Medal winner Jack Laracy considers Bill – along with Murray Mason and WR Ahern – to be one of the most influential Australian HVAC&R engineers of the past century.