August was an exciting month for the Risk Management group at SCS Tracer Environmental, a practice of SCS Engineers. Bengie Branham, one of our inspectors and trainers, is the current RETA President. In that position, he and Jim Barron (RETA executive director) went to South Africa to attend the second annual GCCA African Cold Chain Conference in Cape Town. This visit aimed to promote RETA’s mission of training ammonia refrigeration operators to ensure they have the most current education to be safe and efficient. RETA is the only organization globally with ISO, ANSI, and ANAB accreditation. They currently have a total of 24 Authorized Instructors (RAIs). SCS Tracer Environmental has 5 RETA Authorized Instructors.
There were many discussions about energy security and conservation. The electrical grid is very degraded and not reliable. Many facilities used generators during the load-shedding period, forcing multiple starts on a system. Another alarming metric was that over 40% of field produce was wasted before entering a facility due to temperature and storage failures.
While the U.S. may struggle to address problems with its transportation infrastructures, RETA hopes to help address the educational skill gaps. Many participants at the Conference showed a willingness to embrace new ideas and solutions. One of the items RETA will work with is forming the RETA Chapter in South Africa. Local Chapters are a great way to assist in learning, networking, and sharing ideas. There is at least one Chapter in every state and 13 different countries.
Bengie was impressed with the vast amount of resources and opportunities available on the continent, but high unemployment and other barriers prevented this potential from being fully realized. He hopes that addressing the skills gap will assist many in the population. At the Conference, he felt that many surrounding African countries were committed to providing and operating safe and efficient ammonia refrigeration systems, an exciting outreach with a multitude of opportunities.
SCS Tracer Environmental is a strong supporter of RETA and its mission. Along with the 5 RAIs, we also have three past, one current, and (at least) one future RETA President. Now, on to Jacksonville for the 2023 National Conference!