Joseph BirchFor 17 years the Institute of Refrigeration has been celebrating the achievements of service, maintenance and installation engineers who have devoted their career to the refrigeration or air conditioning industry.   At its annual dinner on 27th February 2020, the IOR will present the 17th award to an individual who is making a unique contribution through their dedication and consistent good service.  The award recognises the huge contribution that front life staff makes to the whole industry.


Last year’s winner, Joseph Birch from SJJ System Services has been working in the exceptionally complex and specialist area of environmental test chambers for over 30 years, most recently for a small business SJJ System Services. Described by his employer as “an amazing engineer and person, never phased by change”, he stood out amongst the candidates nominated due to his strong personal commitment to developing his knowledge in all aspects of this work including refrigerants, electrical controls, legal requirements as well as a clear vision of the future needs in his area of work and his contribution to protecting the environment.   Joe is the type of engineer who is consistently looking to improve himself and meet customer demand to deliver these unique solutions - some of his most notable jobs involving test chambers for the military for shooting frozen chicken carcasses and growth rooms for various creatures including giant cockroaches.  He is still some way off retirement but is already helping to pass his knowledge on to next generation having supported the company’s apprentice for the past four years.  


Miriam Rodway, CEO for the Institute of Refrigeration remarks “This award is always a favourite at the IOR dinner. There are some amazing stories to be told about how incredibly important service engineers are not only because their contribution is vital and they are the mainstay of our sector but also because they are more often than not the face of RACHP to the wider public and a great inspiration for the next generation.”


To be nominated, candidates must be working in any refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump related field in a service, maintenance or installation role. They must also have substantial experience in a technician level role and still be active in the industry. Candidates can be nominated by their employer, clients or colleagues and once shortlisted will be invited to provide a personal statement and take part in a phone interview. The winner will be invited to attend the IOR dinner as a guest of the President and receive a prize of £400, an engraved trophy and a certificate.


If you are working with an outstanding experienced serviced engineer we would encourage you to put them forward for the next Service Engineer Lifetime Achievement Award. Find out more at