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.

ARBS 2010 Hall of Fame Inductees

nominated by AIRAH

James-Harrison_webHarrison’s greatest achievement and much of his financial failure stemmed from his inventions: he was a pioneer in all kinds of refrigeration. 

At Geelong he designed and built the plant for the first Australian manufacture of ice and began production at Rocky Point, taking out a local patent in 1854.  Later,  finding ice unnecessary for many industrial purposes, Harrison designed a revolutionary refrigerator, and patented it in 1860. It was used next year in Scotland to distil paraffin, about the same time as Twining’s machine in the United States. Nominated by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning, and Heating we welcome James Harrison to the ARBS Hall of Fame.

nominated by AIRAH

Denis-Joseph_webDenis was a long time supporter of AIRAH – he joined the institute in 1948, was one of the first AIRAH members to be elevated to Fellow grade (in 1994) and he was also awarded the James Harrison Medal, AIRAH’s highest honour, in 1988. 

He presented numerous papers at AIRAH conferences, many of which were published in the AIRAH Journal, and sharing the findings of his research was always a part of Denis’s life.

In addition to his involvement with AIRAH, Denis was instrumental in setting up the Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment manufacturer’s Association (AREMA) and was a past president of the organisation.

Nominated by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning, and Heating we welcome Denis Joseph to the ARBS Hall of Fame.


 – nominated by AMCA

A.G.-Coombs_webIn 1945 Allan Coombs founded the A.G. Coombs Pty Ltd company.  

Under the leadership of Allan Coombs the company expanded and grew throughout 60’s, 70’s & 80’s the into one of Victoria’s leading air conditioning, refrigerated mechanical services companies  and had been involved in a number major projects including the Olympic Village complex and the original Royal Children’s hospital.

Allan Coombs influence went well beyond the boundaries of his own company.  He was a strong supporter and contributor to the growth of the industry itself. Realising the need for a strong and cohesive voice for the mechanical services industry, Allan Coombs played a leading role in the establishment of the Airconditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association.  A.G. Coombs Pty Ltd was a founding member and Allan Coombs himself was the inaugural president in 1961.

Developing the skills of our industry as well as his own staff was a passion and major strength of Allan Coombs which forms an integral part of the companies’ philosophy today including the annual awarding of the Allan Coombs Training Achievement Award.  
For his contribution to the industry and training including the apprenticeship system in particular Allan Coombs was awarded an Order of Australia in Australia Day Honours on 26 January 1979.

Nominated by the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association we welcome Allan Coombs to the ARBS Hall of Fame.

nominated by AREMA

Greg-Groppenbacher_webAfter many years with Trane at various locations including California, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Jamaica and Wisconsin  Greg  took over the franchise for Trane in Sydney in 1980.  In 1995 Greg became the MD for Trane Australia and New Zealand.

Tonight in the audience there are several leaders of the industry who started their careers working for Trane under the guidance of Greg. This is particularly satisfying to him. 
Greg remembers the difficulty of selling energy efficiency and wishes he was selling now as finally there is an awareness of the benefits to all of efficient HVAC systems. The industry has always had the answers but now at least the market is listening!!

Over the past 25 years Greg has been an active participant in the activities of AREMA, serving as President for several years. As AREMA’s representative Greg has been active on the boards of Refrigerants Australia, Refrigerant Reclaim Australia and ARC. Greg has served as the Chairman of each of these organisations. 

Now retired from full time employment Greg remains a member of AREMA and their representative to RA and RRA and consults to the Commonwealth Government on Energy Efficiency.

Nominated by the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturer’s Association we welcome Greg Groppenbacher to the ARBS Hall of Fame.

nominated by AREMA

KJN_webKevin  headed up a new Joint Venture “Clark Daikin Pty. Ltd.” In 1969 and in 1982 the name was changed to Daikin Australia.  Production of Ducted Air Conditioners commenced shortly after, followed by the establishment of a new head office and central warehouse in Sydney. 

In 1997 Kevin was appointed Daikin Australia’s first Chairman and retired two years later, having been the first International CEO to be individually responsible for any Daikin operation outside of Japan – rather than the dual-management company structure that was normal practice for Daikin’s other global operations.

For many years Kevin was an active member of the AREMA executive and held the office as President for a number of years, working hard to build membership and was closely involved with a many legislative changes impacting businesses at that time. 

Nominated by the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturer’s Association we welcome Kevin Noyes to the ARBS Hall of Fame.

- nominated by CIBSE (ANZ)

Jack_CIBSE-webJack was MD of Fantech until 2000 and has served as Chairman since.  In 1993 Jack wrote the first edition of Fans by Fantech, at that time a 270-page catalogue which, now in excess of 400 pages, is updated every 4 years and is a market leader.  In 1994 he commissioned the production of an Interactive CD, another market leader.

Part of Fantech was sold in 1996 with the remainder going in 2000. The Company now has 14 offices including 3 in New Zealand and 1 in Malaysia as well as Agents around the Pacific region.
In 1978, Jack, a Member of AIRAH since 1966, joined the committee of the Vic Div of AIRAH, serving for 5 years, mostly as the editor of the newsletter. 

A CIBSE Member since 1962, Jack joined the CIBSE ANZ Regional Committee in 2000 and was elected Chairman of the Region for 2 years in 2001. He was on the committee for 6 years. For his contribution to CIBSE he was awarded the Bronze Medal.

Jack also served on the Board of the ARBS Exhibition for 6 years. 

Nominated by The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (ANZ Region) we welcome Jack Pirie to the ARBS Hall of Fame.


 – nominated by CIBSE (ANZ)

John was instrumental in leading the charge in promoting and enhancing the presence of CIBSE in Australia and New Zealand. It was no easy task to establish CIBSE in such a far flung region.  

John negotiated the initial CIBSE/ IPENZ Heads of Agreement and co-ordinated an Institutional Regional presence by sending a representative to China.  John made personal representations to Council on the importance of the Institution supporting the remote Regions to enhance the influence of the Institution resulting in greater funding to promote the aims and objectives of the Institution.

The above illustrates only some of the issues John Tyerman has been involved in but it does not really illustrate the quite incredible single-mindedness of his efforts on behalf of CIBSE.

CIBSE has been a mission for John. Much of the above was at a time when his own business was in major difficulties.  During that critical time he stood by CIBSE totally, at financial cost to himself. 

John also spent many years establishing an Ice Storage business in Australia. He was South Australian Manager of Environ and then Civil & Civic/Lend Lease.  He was the Engineering Manager of Frigrite and also led his own Consulting Practice in Adelaide for many years as John Tyerman & Associates. 

Brian was very involved in World Skills, TAFE, RACCA, both state and national AIRAH, Celsius, to name just a few.  Brian was well known and respected as a teacher, mentor and friend to many in the industry.

Nominated by The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (ANZ Region) we welcome John Tyerman to the ARBS Hall of Fame.

- nominated by RACCA

brian_webBrian was instrumental in forming the refrigeration category at Worldskills in the late 1980’s and was part of the first support group to compete at the international Worldskills competitions .  The Australian contingent then went on to win four consecutive gold medals.
Brian continued to support Worldskills right up to his sudden death and would help where ever and whenever asked at regional, national and international levels.    Brian was not only a judge but also a big supporter spending his own money to support the youth of our trade.  He was passionate about the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Industry, which seemed to fill his working life and his family who supported his endeavours.

Nominated by the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association we welcome Brian Stapleton  to the ARBS Hall of Fame.

nominated by RACCA

doug1_webDoug is remembered as overcoming many obstacles to organise a national refrigeration association.  Interstate rivalries, legislation and communication issues were not enough to deter Doug, who was known Australia-wide as the powerhouse that got RACCA (Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association) of Australia going and moving ahead.   

RACCA can directly credit its involvement in legislation, training, Australian standards and Government lobbying at both state and federal levels to Doug’s tireless effort of many years.

Doug’s sudden death at age 64 cut short his plans for a nationally accredited and licensed trade.  One which RACCA is still trying to achieve.

Doug is remembered by industry colleagues as a work mate, a competitor, and a friend who worked selflessly to aid and progress the industry. 

Nominated by the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association we welcome Doug Staniforth to the ARBS Hall of Fame.


Arbs News & Updates


24 May 16 ARBS 2016, Australia’s only international air conditioning, refrigeration and building services trade exhibition, last night announced the ARBS Industry Awards winners for 2016 at a gala dinner hosted by actor and funny-man Shane Jacobson, held at Crown Palladium in Melbourne. The awards, now firmly entrenched as the pinnacle of achievement in the HVAC&R and building services industry attracted nominees from across all sectors. A panel of industry experts evaluated the nominations based on various criteria such as leadership, sustainability, performance and innovation. The award winners are: The ARBS Young Achiever Award 2016: Leon Wurfel, BUENO The ARBS Product/Service Excellence Award 2016: Braemar 7 Star equivalent ducted gas heater – Seeley International The ARBS Project Excellence Award 2016: Westpac St. George HQ Refurbishment – Norman Disney Young & Westpac Corporation The Outstanding Industry Education/Training Award 2016: Diploma of Engineering Technology in Refrigeration & Air Conditioning – TAFE NSW Sydney Institute (Sydney TAFE) The ARBS Hall of Fame 2016 (all nominations receive the award): Neil Marshall – nominated by AMCA Garry Mundy – nominated by AREMA Dr Stephen White – nominated by AIRAH


24 May 16 ARBS 2016, Australia’s only international air conditioning, refrigeration and building services trade exhibition, has broken all previous records for attendance and recorded a new high of 323 exhibitors, up from 274 in 2014. Visits were up on the 2014 show with Tuesday 17 May seeing 3020 visits, Wednesday 18 May seeing 3677 visits and Thursday 2143 visits. A total overall increase of 13.6 percent from 2014. Running alongside the exhibition was the highly anticipated seminar program which saw a range of highly anticipated panels and guest speakers deliver information relevant to the industry. Attendance at the seminars was impressive with some at full capacity. The ARBS 2016 Industry Awards, which honoured those who are achieving greatness in our industry, was held at the Crown Palladium on Wednesday 18 May. The evening was hosted by Australian actor Shane Jacobson and was very well received seeing a high demand for tickets to this gala event. ‘The 2016 exhibition has once again raised the performance bar and we look forward to returning to Sydney in 2018 for our first exhibition in the newly redeveloped centre. We are confident 2018 will build on the very solid foundations from this 2016 and previous exhibitions’, says ARBS Chairman Ian Hopkins.