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Meet the new VASA board

VASA welcomed three new directors to its board during the organisation’s recent annual general meeting.

Incoming president Brett Meads, who has been VASA vice president since 2013, succeeds Ian Stangroome. Mark Rowe, an owner of two auto-electrical workshops who joined the VASA board in 2019 and was recently elected to the board of Capricorn, becomes vice president.

Brett Meads and Mark Rowe

Mr Stangroome, who became the third VASA president in 2009 and has successfully led the association for 13 years, remains a VASA director.

Mark Mitchell, the founding president of VASA when the organisation formed in 1993 and a longstanding director, has stepped down from the board to focus on his businesses, among which are SuperCool Group and Unicla.

Mr Stangroome will take on Mr Mitchell’s representation of VASA within organisations such as Refrigerant Reclaim Australia and Refrigerants Australia.

Ian Stangroome and Mark Mitchell

Succeeding Mr Mitchell as treasurer on the VASA executive committee is David Ellis, who became a director in 2016 and is channel manager for mobile HVAC/R at SuperCool Group.

David Ellis

After serving on the VASA board for six years, Darrel Hursey has stepped down so he can dedicate more time to his business, Tumut Auto Electrics, as well as his role as a volunteer firefighter in the Snowy Mountains region.

Catherine Tocker – owner of three CoolCar workshops around New Zealand – continues as VASA director for NZ, and CoolDrive Auto Parts project management director Robert Picone also retains his VASA board position.

Catherine Tocker and Robert Picone

New faces on the VASA board are Brendan Sorensen, Casey Swain and Tim Boyd.

Mr Sorensen is lead diagnostician at his family’s busy independent workshop in Brisbane and recently took over from longstanding VASA member and former director Deyan Barrie on the board of The Automotive Technician (TaT), where he delivers in-person and online training as well as producing technical information across several formats. Earlier this year he picked up the 2022 Kim Aunger Young Achiever Award at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Excellence Awards.

Brendan Sorensen and Casey Swain

Casey Swain qualified as a mechanic in 2013 upon leaving school, completing her apprenticeship at her father’s independent workshop – long-time VASA member Brian Swain Automotive – where she has worked since first helping out at the age of 10. Ms Swain has already introduced her five-year-old twins to workshop life so that they may one day continue the business their grandfather acquired from Queensland rally champion Murray Coote more than a quarter of a century ago.

Tim Boyd

Tim Boyd is a senior product manager of cooling products at GPC Asia Pacific, responsible for air-conditioning and engine thermal management categories across Repco and NAPA Auto Parts in Australia and New Zealand. Tim is a mechanic and auto electrician by trade and he completed his apprenticeship at Holden in 2012. He then served five years as a special diagnostic technician for Lexus.

Haitham Razagui, who has been VASA’s Executive Director of Communications and Editorial since 2014, continues in what is the association’s only non-volunteer role alongside his freelance work with national automotive publications including GoAutoNews, WhichCar and BabyDrive.

Haitham Razagui

As well as VASA, Mr Meads serves on the board of the Australian Refrigeration council as a representative of the automotive industry. He is involved in both the organisation and delivery of industry training, writes technical columns for various national and international publications and has provided consultancy services to government bodies including the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and the Queensland state Government as well as organisations and businesses including CoolDrive Auto Parts, GHD Engineering, RACQ, Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, SuperCool Group and various TAFE institutions.

Incoming VASA president Brett Meads said: “I am looking forward to this role, although a little bit daunted by the job ahead and the shoes to fill with Ian having done such an exemplary job at so many levels for our organisation for many years.”

Mr Meads expressed gratitude to Mr Stangroome for taking over Mr Mitchell’s representation of VASA within Refrigerants Australia and Refrigerant Reclaim Australia. Ian Stangroome will also nominate for a board position with Refrigerant Reclaim Australia at the upcoming AGM.

“I’m really pleased that Ian is happy to continue on our behalf,” he said. “I can’t think of anybody better to do that.”

Mr Stangroome will also continue representing VASA on an industry advisory body formed by the Australian Refrigeration Council and the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

He will remain on the flammables committee formed by Refrigerants Australia of which Mr Stangroome was a founding member and has grown to 15 members from all over the world to discuss and learn from issues and incidents relating to the use of flammable refrigerants used in all industry sectors.

Outgoing VASA president Ian Stangroome remarked: “I would like to personally thank the VASA board not only for their support over the last 12 months but also for the support provided to me as president over the last 13 years.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity, the experience and the challenges. I have renominated for a role on the board as a director and will always remain available to assist the association and the industry that has provided me with so much to be grateful for.

“I thank the VASA membership for their ongoing support and for that of our industry partners and support team that has always provided us with great value and professional service.

“I would like to commend the outgoing board for their service and congratulate the returning directors for their commitment, and of course, welcome those joining the VASA board for the first time. I hope you will all enjoy the journey just as I have.”

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