Shane McBride, F.AIRAH
Born and raised in Gympie, Qld, and currently based just south of Brisbane, Shane McBride, F.AIRAH, earned his start as a refrigeration mechanic as the first apprentice for Tony Stephens Refrigeration (now called TSR), under the mentorship of the eponymous Mr Stephens.
There, McBride says he developed a wide range of skills in domestic refrigeration, milk vats and supermarket refrigeration. He took a hands-on approach to learning more about the practical side of the HVAC&R industry, fuelled by the passion and knowledge he had gained from his mentor.
McBride completed an apprenticeship in 1992; an advanced diploma of air conditioning and refrigeration in 1998; an associate diploma in engineering in 2005; and says he has continued to learn through AIRAH's training sessions and seminars.
His career includes time at Carrier, York, York Refrigeration, and Temperzone. He is currently service manager for System Air.
What brought you to the HVAC&R industry?
During my TAFE apprenticeship, I met two teachers – and now Queensland HVAC&R industry icons – Evan Dawson, F.AIRAH; and Peter Wesner. They ignited my curiosity to understand more about refrigeration engineering.
After meeting them, I went on to study an advanced diploma of refrigeration and air conditioning, which developed into an associate diploma in engineering. It was during these studies that I was first introduced to AIRAH, some 26 years ago.
How long have you been a member of AIRAH?
Twenty-six years – I joined AIRAH in 1994 and gained Fellowship status in 2018.
What's your favourite HVAC&R-related memory?
The year was 1999, and it was all about preparing for Y2K. I remember spending almost 12 months preparing and planning for what we thought could potentially happen when that clock ticked over to the year 2000. Back then, for a lot of us in the industry there were no New Year’s Eve celebrations as it was all hands on deck. How things have changed.
What's something everyone should know about you, your work, or the HVAC&R industry?
I have two sons who have successfully completed apprenticeships as refrigeration technicians. They’re now working in the HVAC&R industry in Queensland. William is at System Air and Nicholas is at Air Master.
How have you seen the industry change in your time?
I have noticed the industry change in four areas in particular: environment, training, licencing and technology.
The industry should be proud of becoming more environmentally responsible – the CFC phase-out, HCFC phase-down and exploring new refrigerants to ensure we achieve the balance between sustainability, efficiency, and safety. Continuing HVAC&R product development with lower refrigerant charges, natural, and alternative refrigerants is only the start in our efforts to reduce direct and indirect emissions.
In my opinion, and particularly over the past 10 years, the HVAC&R industry has really led the way when it comes to practical and technical training. This is paramount for the future of the industry, and to attract the next generation.
In licencing, we have gained the appropriate respect and recognition that the trade deserves.
With technology, particularly in the field of HVAC&R controls, I have seen the transition away from electro-mechanical to electronic controls. This has given the industry a way to deal with direct and indirect emissions.
How do you see the HVAC&R industry developing over the next 100 years?
Technology will lead the way. It will change the way we deal with every part of the HVAC&R system. We are now gathering the data and analysing it. The future will become artificial intelligence built into HVAC&R systems, constantly self-evolving to adapt to internal and external environmental conditions. Predictive intelligence will improve reliability, efficiency and comfort.
As the world’s population grows and cities trend upwards, we will see a transition back to district-style cooling and heating systems, where an entity will provide indoor environmental conditions to cities from one location, rather that each structure providing its own indoor climate.