Innovative Refrigeration Systems and the Industrial Refrigeration Technical College hosted the Western Virginia Expo at their Lyndhurst facility in September.  The event, which was sponsored by the Blue Ridge chapter of the Refrigerating Engineers and Technician’s Association, brought in more than 200 people, 30 vendors and nine speakers.

People traveled from near and far for the Blue Ridge RETA Chapter’s first expo. It was deemed a success by attendees.

Kelli Gibson, from Marking Services. Inc., came all the way from Milwaukee.

“The expo is a great opportunity for me to get out and meet my customers, talk to them, see what’s going on in the industry from their point of view and deepen that relationship,” Gibson said. “I’ve put so many names to faces today. It would take me probably six or seven business trips to do it, whereas here I can do it in one spot.”

MSI does business all over the world and has quite a few customers in the eastern US region.

“This has been awesome; I’m really glad we were given an invitation to attend and I’m happy we were able to do it,” Gibson said. “Everything has been done really well at the expo. Everything that we’ve needed has been thought of.”

This is the first year the Blue Ridge RETA Chapter has been active. The event was planned by chapter members and volunteers.

“We’re really excited that this was the chapter’s first expo, and quite honestly, it’s a huge success,” said Chris Newman, from Midatlantic Refrigeration LLC. “These expos are really great. We get to actually meet the end users that use our products. For the most part, because my contact is the industrial refrigeration installing contractor, I only usually interact with them on a daily basis. A show like this gives us an opportunity to actually interact with the end users.”

Nick DeVillo, from CIMCO Refrigeration Inc., agreed.

“I was impressed,” he said. “For being the first annual expo, it was very nice. It was well thought out and coordinated, and the weather was great. It was a good experience all around and had a good turn out too.”

Ray Urban, who serves as President of the Blue Ridge RETA Chapter, was pleased with the expo. He gave a special shout out to Innovative and IRTC for holding the event at their facility and contributing to the success.

“Between vendors and participants, the numbers exceeded what I thought we were going to have, especially considering weather and the recent conditions,” Urban said, citing Hurricane Florence presence in the region during the previous week.

“Without the vendors, you have to remember this would not happen,” Urban added. “The vendors have been great.”

The Blue Ridge RETA Chapter members hope to expand on the expo for next year.

“The vendors are excited to come back and see an even bigger event,” Urban said. “I want to expand this to more than just ammonia. Every freezer warehouse has freezer doors, dock doors. I want to expand this out. I’m totally excited. I’m looking forward to start planning for next year.”