"My best advice I could give would be to apply for a position at Star Refrigeration! You will receive the best possible training in the industry and there are many different career paths you could follow."

Alan Versfeld, Refrigeration Engineer

Alen Versfeld is an ST3B grade engineer at Star Refrigeration’s Derby branch. Originally from South Africa, he transitioned from running his own air-conditioning business to industrial refrigeration at Star, motivated by personal and professional growth amidst political and safety concerns in his home country. Over five years, he has progressed from ST1A to ST3B, thanks to Star's extensive training opportunities and a supportive work environment that emphasises safety and customer satisfaction. He is passionate about delivering excellent service and mentoring the next generation of engineers.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at Star?

I am currently a ST3B grade engineer with the Derby branch and one of the first of four South African engineers that have joined the Derby branch in the last 5 years.  I am a remote engineer that maintains and services our customers in the south east area of the midlands.  I personally prefer the service side of our role but also understand the importance of good maintenance.

You came to Star from a commercial background – what was that like, and when and why did you decide it was time for the career move?

Yes I was commercial, however it was air-conditioning with very little refrigeration.  I had very little ammonia and CO2 experience as all the equipment serviced in South Africa used F gases.  I really enjoyed the air-conditioning sector, I maintained office blocks and industrial production air-conditioning systems.  The move to industrial refrigeration was not as big a change as I thought it might be.  I should also explain that I owned my own company.  The decision to join Star was not actually about a career move but more to the point, an opportunity to leave South Africa due to the political climate and family safety concerns.

What does Star offer you in terms of developing your unique career path?

Star has many opportunities for engineers wishing to further and grow their careers.  I have been offered, and have accepted many training courses that have benefited my development in the last 5 years.

What were the biggest changes you noticed when you moved from your previous company to Star Refrigeration?

Honestly, everything.  In South Africa there is little to no safety consideration when working on site.  Changing 27 years of bad working habits to a more safety conscious method was the biggest change I had to make. All the studying that I needed to do in the first year was quite the challenge considering I had not studied in 20 years.

What has your career progression been and how long did it take you to move onwards and upwards at Star?

Due to the lack of ammonia experience I started at ST1A and have steadily progressed to ST3B in the 5 years I have worked for Star Refrigeration.

What advice would you give to anyone who is looking to advance their career in industrial refrigeration?

My best advice I could give would be to apply for a position at Star Refrigeration! You will receive the best possible training in the industry and there are many different career paths you could follow.

Why do you feel valued at Star?

In a nut shell, we are heard. From management to the directors, everybody listens and our opinions matter to them.

What makes you feel good in your job ; What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about customer satisfaction.  Knowing that all my training has paid off to sort out a customer’s problem.  Doing the job right first time.  If you are not going to give 100% effort then don’t even start because you are setting yourself up for failure.  Passing on what I have learnt to the younger generation of engineers coming up the ladder.

Alan Versfeld, Refrigeration Engineer