It’s hard to imagine how a man with six children has time to run a business and still win the 2018 Contractor of the Year Award.
But that is exactly what Sutton Refrigeration director, Robert Sutton, has done (with the help of his wife Ang of course who has been right by his side supporting him).
It was Sutton’s father that convinced him to try refrigeration for work experience in year 10, and here he is 20 years later running a successful business.
Sutton says he likes the challenge of working on such a diverse range of projects. “We can start in the morning working on a small sandwich bar and finish the day working on a large screw plant or anything in between; it’s impossible to know what the next service call will be,” Sutton says.
“The industry generally is constantly evolving but for me the job of a contractor these days is the estimating and overseeing of a project from start to finish, whether that project is an installation or service call. In larger companies I assume there is an owner who is the contractor and below them is the engineer or estimator and the service manager.
“In a small company like ours I can go through many of these tasks myself in a single day. I believe the contractor of the year should be the person that can design the project, estimate it, install and then commission the project on time and hassle free every time.”
Asked about the challenges facing the industry and Sutton doesn’t hesitate. “The amount of really bad workmanship I see, mainly in the air conditioning side but also in refrigeration,” he says.
“I am assuming this is a price driven problem because we miss out on projects every year then we end up with a service call to the same project at a later date. This is a pet hate of mine.”
Sutton says the biggest challenge facing the industry over the next decade is the move from HFC refrigerants to HFOs and naturals.
“With new systems it won’t be so bad but problems are likely to arise retrofitting older equipment to lower GWP refrigerants,” he says.
Sutton has plenty of plans for the future including Certificate V in refrigeration design.
“I look forward to the challenges that this industry will provide me with over the remainder of my career; hopefully it will be as enjoyable as the last 20-plus years.”
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Air Conditioners Australia sponsored this year's Contractor of the Year Award. The company's ANZ national sales and planning manager, Adrian Brown, presented the award to Sutton.
“Contractors are such an integral part of MHIAA and our ability to reach our consumers. These awards remind us of the excellence that exists amongst contractors and gives us the chance to recognise those that have gone above and beyond to grow and challenge the industry," Brown said.
“We were delighted to come on board and sponsor the Contractor of the Year Award for 2018 and congratulate all of the award winners. On behalf of MHIAA, I would like to congratulate Robert Sutton from Sutton Refrigeration on taking out the Contractor of the Year award and for setting such a strong example for contractors this year.”