2023 Nov-Dec RETA Breeze

2023-24 BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Bengie Branham, CIRO, RAI SCS Engineers PRESIDENT Michael Hawkins, CARO Midatlantic Refrigeration, LLC EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT David Gulcynski, CIRO Dot Foods Inc. TREASURER Bill Lape, CARO, CIRO, CRST SCS Engineers SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Raymond Urban, CARO Lineage Logistics DIRECTORS Melissa Cassell General Refrigeration Company Dale Clinton Stellar Victor Dearman, Jr., CIRO, CRST Peco Foods, Inc Arlie Farley, CARO, CIRO, CRST Farley’s SRP Inc Ron Fetterley, CARO, CIRO, CRST Super Store Industries Brandon Jones, CARO Tyson Foods, Inc Barbara Kirkpatrick Mi-Docs Jim Kovarik Gamma Graphics Services Mike Missall Summit Refrigeration Group Jeremy Murfin AC & R Specialists Andrew Palomar, CARO Stellar Gordon Rascoe, Jr, CIRO, CRST, RAI ConAgra Brands COMMITTEE CHAIRS Certification: Lee Pyle, CARO SCS Tracer Environmental Education: Eric Girven, CIRO, CRST, RAI SCS Tracer Environmental Marketing: Jodie Rukamp SCS Tracer Environmental Membership: Jason Daniell, CIRO APSM National Conference: Jim Kovarik Gamma Graphics Services Publications: Vern Sanderson,


Greetings RETA family! As I sit here writing my first President’s message, I’m still in shock and awe of how I arrived here. It is such a humbling honor to be nominated to the National Board of this terrific organization but becoming President has made me speechless. Thank you to all that have mentored me over the years and saw something in this industry “rookie” many years ago, because without your support and sharing your knowledge I certainly would not be here. I’d also like to thank now Chairman Bengie Branham for a great year, we accomplished a lot but have quite a bit to finish. We have a terrific Board of Directors in place and I’m excited to pick up where Chairman Branham left off. What a wonderful time of year, coming off a terrific and historic National Con- ference and Christmas almost being upon us at the time of this writing. We had our first snowfall here last weekend and really helped to put me in the Christ- mas spirit. I hope you all were able to slow down a bit over the holidays and enjoy that cherished time with your families. The 114th National Conference in Jackson- ville is now behind us but will be re- membered as a historic Conference. We had over 1,100 people in attendance, a full show floor, terrific technical and hands-on sessions; some of which were overflowing into the hallways. Thank you to our wonderful vendors and sponsors, without your continued su- pport it would not be the best show in the industry. Back in 2018, the Board of Directors decided to purchase a building for RETA instead of leasing one. Due to the spectacular management of our HQ

Mike Hawkins CARO, RETA National President

staff, we were able to pay off that mortgage in 2023 and “burn that

mortgage!”, what a great feeling. After a couple of years of research and due diligence our Board of Directors decided to present to our membership the idea of merging RETA and RSES to become one and be “Better Together.”The motion was approved at our Tuesday business session, and we brought our RSES family back home with us like we were prior to 1933. As the Board and HQ move forward with the monumental task of merging the organizations together our market ing team will have the opportunity to market two great organizations to our membership and the industry. As we move forward continually putting pieces together slowly but surely, we’ll have more training opportunities available, continuing to be the Gold Standard. I’m looking forward to the coming year and am excited about where we are headed as an organization, your org- anization. We strive as a Board to do the right things for the right reasons, always weighing how our decisions will impact on our members. I encourage you to be involved in your local Chapter or volun- teer to serve on one of the very active committees at the National level, we can’t do this alone.

Thank you, Mike Hawkins CARO RETA National President

CIRO, CRST, RAI Schwan’s Company Executive Director: Jim Barron 4 RETA.com

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