CoolSys, a California-based company that owns 25 HVAC&R contractors across the United States, has named Rich Wyckoff President and CEO. 

In a press release, the company said Wyckoff brings more than 30 years of experience leading service and manufacturing businesses to his new role. Wyckoff was most recently President and CEO of Arctic Glacier, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer and direct-to-store distributor of packaged ice, ice equipment and related services. According to CoolSys, Wyckoff more than doubled EBITDA during his four years at the helm of Arctic Glacier.

“CoolSys is a differentiated, innovative and customer-focused organization, and I am honored to lead the 3,200 nationwide associates who drive the company’s mission and success,” said Wyckoff.

Wyckoff will take over as President and CEO from Rick Frier, who has held both positions on an interim basis since February 2023. Frier will continue to be involved with CoolSys as Chairman of the company’s board of directors.

“Given his significant experience successfully scaling services-oriented businesses and focus on creating a positive employee culture, we believe Rich is well-suited to lead the CoolSys team in executing its strategic plan,” said Frier. “I am confident that Rich will continue to build on the company’s recent organic and inorganic growth.”

A large portion of that growth has been driven by natural refrigerants, specifically CO2 (R744) and ammonia (R717).

NatRefs driving growth

Speaking on a contractors’ panel at the the ATMOsphere (ATMO) America Summit 2023, Scott Ercole, Vice President of Technical sales at CoolSys, said CO2 and ammonia account for 65% of the company’s installations. The ATMO America Summit 2023 was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com.

Ercole added that natural refrigerants make up 80% of the CoolSys’s design and engineering team’s projects, up from the 5% they accounted for in 2018. 

“The engineers are typically 1.5–2 years ahead of what we’ll see from an install standpoint, so those indicators are showing that we’re going to see more and more [natural refrigerants],” he said.

CoolSys’s design and engineering team made history in 2019 when they installed and commissioned what was then the world’s largest transcritical CO2 refrigeration system for Yosemite Foods. CoolSys installed a system with 4MW (1,137TR) of cooling capacity at the company’s meat processing facility in Stockton, California.

The system consisted of five transcritical CO2 compressor racks with parallel compression, with adiabatic condensers employed due to Stockton’s high ambient temperatures. The system provides cooling to the 200,000ft2 (18,580m2) plant’s quick chiller, process water chiller and cold/freezer rooms.

CoolSys has been particularly active on the natural refrigerants front in California. In addition to its work with Yosemite Foods, the company was also a sponsor of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council’s Aggregated Incentives Program (AIP). Launched in 2020, the AIP connected retailers with funding support for installing natural refrigeration systems in new and existing stores.

“I am confident that Rich will continue to build on the company’s recent organic and inorganic growth.”

Rick Frier, CoolSys Chairman of the Board