Sponsored by Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, this award recognises overall excellence in leadership.

It is awarded to a high achiever with a long and accomplished career in HVACR. This person has contributed to the development and improvement of our industry. There are five finalists competing for this prestigious award, they are:

Kevin O’Shea has been the NSW president of the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (RACCA) for 30 years. He began as a humble technician and since then has been advocating for the industry in a wide range of areas. He was the founding director of both ARBS and the Australian Refrigeration Council. He has also been active when it comes to vocational education working hard to strengthen the trade.

Shaun Merry is an industry champion and has been a driving force behind the apprentice program at Woolworths. He was also involved in the retail giant’s very first CO2 systems. In 2016 he was appointed national installation manager overseeing the entire refrigeration installation team which is made up of more than 70 team members. 

Mark Padwick is well known throughout the industry as the president of the Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia (AREMA). He has been an active advocate for the industry throughout his entire career. He was the managing director of Sanden International for 38 years and in 2013 graduated with an MBA from Macquarie University. He is currently key account manager at Cooldrive Distribution.

Stephen Orlando, owner of Orlando Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, is an outspoken advocate for industry training and international career paths. Stephen began his successful career in the 1980s as the West Australian apprentice of the year. Since then he has taken his skills around the world and set up shop in Australia and the United Kingdom. “TAFE training is truly world class and is interchangeable with the industry requirements overseas,” he says.

Paul Halpin, is the managing director of Endeavour Air Conditioning in Sydney. Paul began as a technician in the 1980s and has set his own path throughout his 33-year career. He established his very own air conditioning business in 1988 which is still thriving today. Paul has mentored plenty of young technicians during this time and is proud of his team.


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