After almost 18 years with AIRAH, Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH, has resigned his position with the Institute to seek new opportunities in more people-oriented roles.
During his tenure Wilkinson has held several key positions including Technical Manager, Business Development Manager, CEO, and most recently as the Executive General Manager – Technical Services and Government Relations.
“Throughout his time with the Institute, Phil has been a credit to AIRAH, its members and to our industry,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH.
“He has worked energetically to promote an industry and issues he’s passionate about, making many friends along the way.
“He has at all times put AIRAH and our members first, helping to position us as a leader and innovator in the HVAC&R industry. Phil has a considerable skill set and admirable qualities that will be welcomed by many organisations.”
Wilkinson says the memories that stand out for him over the close to two decades he’s spent with AIRAH are those involving people.
“It’s always humbled me that I have been here to serve a broad and deep membership and fascinating industry of people that provide services to make places and spaces to play, live and work for the community at large,” he says. “It’s also been a constant challenge to ‘tell the story’ of the industry because it means different things to different people without them realising it.”
He’s says it’s been satisfying to see those with whom he’s worked grow in their careers, especially when he’s been able to assist in their development.
Wilkinson cites representing the trusted AIRAH voice at leading forums as a source of considerable pride. These include the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, National Construction Code, NABERS, Standards Australia, local, state and federal governments, and overseas organisations.
The development of the PRIME initiative is also a major personal milestone.
“The work on bringing industry, government and multiple stakeholders together to develop the PRIME whole-of-industry roadmap to transition to a low-emission future is a career highlight,” he says. “It continues to help the industry accelerate towards a net-zero world, and is embedded in the COAG National Energy Productivity Plan.”
Development of AIRAH’s Flammable Refrigerant Safety Guide also makes the list of personal achievements.
“A very disparate group of industry, government and first-responder stakeholders that cared about safety came together for the good of the industry and its people, and created the guide,” he recalls. “I was the one fortunate enough to be given the role of advocating and promoting it to key stakeholders.”
Reflecting on AIRAH as it approaches its centenary in 2020, Wilkinson says it has an essential role to play in bringing together Australia’s HVAC&R industry.
“AIRAH is a very special community where everyone is included and has a shared purpose of providing services to people in one way or another,” he says. “And everyone has an equal opportunity to be part of where the community goes.
“AIRAH is trusted because we are not driven by commercial agendas, we are driven by people who want to contribute towards a better future.”
Wilkinson says that whatever future roles he takes on will involve people and community.
“I love to build alliances and collaborate to create tangible change,” he says. “I’d like to think that I can continue to drive change in governance, regulatory, cultural and behavioural transformation.”
Gleeson says Wilkinson’s initiatives will continue apace, even though his tenure at AIRAH will not.
“Whether it’s developing technical manuals, or the Special Technical Groups he helped establish, or AIRAH’s representation on national committees, this great work will continue,” Gleeson says.
“I will be the main point of contact on Phil’s areas of responsibility, at least in the short term as we search for new people to backfill these activities.”
Wilkinson’s last day with AIRAH is set for Friday, September 13.