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South Coast Refrigeration & Air Conditioning managing director, Vonnette Cook, truly believes that success is a team sport.

This year's Woman of the Year in HVACR Award winner was quick to acknowledge all of her supporters from employees to family, friends and customers.

It reflects the type of person she is, one that openly lives by a set of personal and business ethics which include trust and respect.

“I am only as good as my team and I need to give them as many tools as possible to succeed, which will allow the business to succeed,” she says.

“I have a low rate of attrition which is proof, that together, we have built a highly functional team and an engaged workforce.”

Cook is the first to admit that it takes courage to be a woman in the HVACR industry.

But she works hard to ensure that every encounter with clients, stakeholders and her team count.

This means being a role model. “I believe in leading by example while still being open to new ideas; remaining positive but being realistic about the challenges of change,” Cook says.

When it comes to customer relationships, she says its important to be accountable.

“Good business is built on good service. I personally believe that you are only as good as the relationships you build with your customers,” Cook says.

“Hearing testimonials from our clients that we have been able to improve their business is very rewarding.”

Cook recognises that a lack of skilled staff is a serious problem for the industry, another issue is global warming.

“Also, cheaper is not always better. We need to get this message out and also to encourage customers to engage in preventative maintenance,” she says.

As one of the few women in the industry with her own refrigeration and air conditioning business, Cook is keen to encourage more females to get involved.

She initially joined the company as an office administrator in the year 2000 before purchasing the business in 2014.

Ultimately, Cook says she would like to work with government agencies and training organisations to promote a scholarship or incentive based program for females to be trained, employed and retained across different areas of the industry.

“This would allow industry to grow their own and be part of the solution around a lack of skilled staff,” she says.

Daikin sponsored the Woman of the Year in HVACR Award again this year. It was presented by Daikin's Account Manager for Development, Kerry Knight.

“Daikin is delighted to sponsor the Woman of the Year in HVACR Award and provide ongoing recognition to the contribution of women in the HVACR industry. We warmly congratulate Vonnette Cook on her achievement for receiving the Woman of the Year in HVACR Award," Knight said.

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