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Cover Story

AMERICAS Danielle Wright recalls exactly when she decided to get involved in promoting natural refrigerants in North America. It happened when she attended a workshop facilitated by Keilly Witman, a refrigerant management consultant who was the founding manager of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership. (See page 31.) “One presentation from her and I was hooked,” said Wright.

Danielle Wright Executive Director, North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), U.S. Key NatRef Accomplishment: Gaining widespread support from the food retail industry for NASRC.

Morgan Smith Manager of Programs & Operations, North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), U.S. Key NatRef Accomplishment: Partnering with utilities, leading industry events, and accelerating training.

Accelerate Magazine // January 2020

That workshop would lead to the creation in September 2015 of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), a nonprofit of which Wright is Executive Director. NASRC is focused on removing the barriers to natural refrigerant adoption in the supermarket sector.

“What I’ve always loved about working with the grocery sector is that any environmental initiative has to make good business sense,” she said. As the executive director of NASRC since March 2017, Wright, based in Mill Valley, California, aims to “remove the major pain points that are preventing grocers from choosing natural refrigerants,” she said. NASRC’s biggest accomplishment “is gaining the support of all the major stakeholders in the [food retail] industry to drive forward action," she said. “Virtually every major supermarket chain across the country supports our efforts because they see this transition coming and understand the power of working together as a united force.”

Prior to her role at NASRC, Wright oversaw the EnergySmart Grocer program, a thirdparty energy-efficiency program for the grocery sector in the Northern California (U.S.) territory served by the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) utility.

Wright acknowledged that “it takes a certain amount of grit” to work in the male-dominated retail refrigeration industry. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that by focusing too much on what others think, you are actually giving them the power to hold you back,” she said. MG

In April 2017, a global research initiative called Project Drawdown ranked refrigerant management as the No. 1 global climate-change mitigation solution.

contribute to NASRC’s work,” said Smith, now Manager of Programs & Operations at the NASRC.

That caught the attention of Morgan Smith, who managed landowner-outreach programs at the American Forest Foundation. The following January she joined the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) as a project manager to help the nonprofit’s work on advancing natural refrigerant adoption in the food retail industry. “When I learned that refrigerant management was listed as the number-one global solution to climate change in Project Drawdown, I felt even more compelled to

Smith is engaged in such NASRC activities as partnering with utilities and other financing entities to deploy incentive programs; leading industry events and workshops; and accelerating training for contractors and service technicians. Smith regards being a woman in a male-dominated field as an opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to the industry. “Advancing natural refrigerants is not easy, nor can it be accomplished alone,” she said. “Having more perspectives represented increases our chances for success.” MG

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Accelerate Magazine #106 - Women in Natural Refrigerants  

The January 2020 issue of Accelerate Magazine celebrates the women working around the world in the natural refrigerants industry. These 29 p...

Accelerate Magazine #106 - Women in Natural Refrigerants  

The January 2020 issue of Accelerate Magazine celebrates the women working around the world in the natural refrigerants industry. These 29 p...

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