ARBS 2024 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Klaas Visser – NOMINATED BY AIRAH

A pioneering force, Visser revolutionised the field with his multifunction two-stage trans critical CO2 refrigeration system.

His work extended to creating the world’s first hybrid CO2 evaporative condensers, significantly impacting refrigeration practices worldwide.

A native of the Netherlands, Visser’s educational journey in marine engineering led him to Australia, where he furthered his studies in mechanical engineering at RMIT. His career blossomed with designs of ammonia refrigeration systems, particularly for the meat industry, leading to his innovative plate freezer concept which transformed meat freezing processes.

With a vision for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration, Visser’s advocacy for CO2 systems led to designs for the food industry, setting new standards in sustainability.

Klaas Visser’s legacy lives on in the ARBS Hall of Fame, as we celebrate his extraordinary achievements and unwavering dedication to advancement in the HVAC&R industry.

Bob Woodhouse – NOMINATED BY AREMA

An enduring leader within Daikin Australia, Bob’s journey began in 1981 as Chief Accountant and Credit Manager, swiftly rising to become the driving force behind the company’s ascendancy.

His foresight and commitment to excellence launched Daikin’s evolution to become one of the leading air conditioner manufacturers in Australia. Bob’s tenure at Daikin was marked by a series of promotions, reflecting his unwavering dedication: from Company Secretary in 1987, to General Manager in 1991, and finally Director in 1994. Under his guidance, Daikin not only expanded its operations but also set new industry benchmarks in quality and innovation.

Stepping into the role of Managing Director and Associate Director of Daikin Industries, Bob’s strategic acumen was further evidenced by his significant contributions to factory and distribution expansions, as well as his active involvement in shaping the air conditioning sector’s future as Chairman of Daikin Australia and New Zealand.

As Treasurer of AREMA, Bob’s influence extends far beyond a corporate framework, embodying a commitment to the broader industry. It is with great respect that we induct Bob Woodhouse into the ARBS 2024 Hall of Fame.

Andrew O’Connor – NOMINATED BY AMCA AUSTRALIA

Spanning five generations and 130 years, Andrew has a long and rich heritage in the HVAC&R industry.

His leadership roles, such as state and national president of AMCA, highlight his advocacy for skill enhancement and equitable industry practices. Andrew’s vision materialised through the founding of O’Connors, an institution synonymous with innovation in South Australia’s mechanical services sector, emphasising the cultivation of local talent and apprenticeships.

His endeavours go beyond commercial success, with a focus on mentorship and community support. This is evident in the development of future industry stewards, ensuring a thriving sector for generations to come.

Andrew’s generous spirit and strategic leadership have not only fostered a team of adept professionals but also promoted a culture of respect and collaboration. His business acumen and passion for the industry resonate through his company’s growth and his commitment to the betterment of the field.

These achievements and his profound influence on the industry culminate in his induction into the ARBS 2024 Hall of Fame, a recognition of his substantial contributions to the HVAC&R landscape.

Gemma Collins – NOMINATED BY CIBSE

With a career spanning 30 years, Gemma has left an indelible mark through her achievements and leadership.

In 1988, as a trainee on the International Convention Centre Project in Birmingham, Gemma was the first female trainee and developed a training program aligned with CIBSE standards. This early commitment to excellence set the tone for a career characterised by a pursuit of knowledge and a rapid rise to become a Chartered Professional Engineer.

Her service in the industry is highlighted by her leadership within CIBSE since 1990, her role in the NZ chapter, and her contributions as an engineering competency assessor. Gemma has shaped industry standards, participating in advisory boards, and contributing to key documents like the NZ BIM Handbook and the GreenStar Design Guides.

In her leadership positions at Fletcher Construction and beyond, Collins has managed teams with a focus on excellence, innovation, and professional growth, creating forums for knowledge sharing and nurturing talent.

As we celebrate her induction in the ARBS 2024 Hall of Fame, we recognise Gemma Collins not just for her titles and awards, but for her influence on the HVAC&R sector through her commitment to innovation.

Carl Balke – NOMINATED BY RACCA

A cornerstone of WorldSkills since 1999, Carl has played a pivotal role as an advocate, trainer, mentor, convenor, and judge, contributing significantly at regional, national and international levels.

His dedication has nurtured a new generation of skilled tradespeople and leaders and has also been instrumental in driving forward the WorldSkills agenda. With a commitment to skills development, Carl has been a driving force behind the resurgence of WorldSkills Australia in Queensland, fostering industry engagement and volunteer support. His tenure at TAFE Queensland since 1989 is testament to his enduring passion for both teaching and the HVAC&R industry.

Carl has tirelessly advocated for the highest standards in training and outcomes for his students. His actions have echoed a clear message: that mastering a trade is as noble and vital as any academic pursuit. This ethos has seeded countless initiatives, inspiring both respect for the trades and a lasting appreciation for the artisan skill. His philosophy of education as a lifelong journey aligns with the ever-evolving nature of the HVAC&R industry, ensuring its continuous advancement. And characterised by this commitment and excellence, it makes his induction into the ARBS Hall of Fame a fitting tribute to his extensive contributions.