Deon Schmidt: always striving for better

By Ilana Koegelenberg

“I want to share the experience I have acquired over the past 22 years with everyone in my surrounds — young and old,” says Deon Schmidt, chairperson of the SAIRAC Port Elizabeth centre.

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Deon Schmidt, member of Midair and SAIRAC Port Elizabeth chairperson.


Deon Schmidt is one of the two members of Midair, an HVAC supplier with stores in Port Elizabeth (PE) and East London. His responsibilities include ensuring that the day-to-day operations go smoothly, while creating a pleasant work environment. He also assists contractors and sometimes consultants with solutions for specific applications, from ventilation to chillers, heat pumps, cooling towers and the like.

Getting started

Schmidt was exposed to the world of contracting from an early age, as both his grandfather and father were wiremen and electricians, respectively. Although he initially studied in the electrical field, it was the refrigeration industry that piqued his interest.

In terms of qualifications, he holds an N3 (Electrical) qualification from Otto du Plessis Technical High School in PE and an N2 Refrigeration trade theory from Unisa. He also acquired a Trade Seal as a Qualified Commercial Refrigeration Artisan from merSETA.

In February 1996, he started as an apprentice in the HAVC&R industry, working his way up to head technician (2003 to 2008) and later technical supervisor (2008 until 2013).

He then decided to change his career path, using the experience gained to move from the contractual side of the industry into the supplier side.

Why this industry?

Growing up, Schmidt spent a lot of time on his grandfather’s dairy farm. “My grandfather was extremely self-sufficient and could pretty much fix anything he touched.” But the problems with the cooling systems on the farm were the one thing neither his father nor grandfather could master, which is why this intrigued him. “I made it my mission to learn something that the two most significant men in my life could not fathom, taking me away from the family career trend.”

What started off as a job turned into a passion and is now a full-blown career. “I could not be more proud to be in this industry.”

For the love of the job

“I absolutely love my job with a passion,” he says. “The daily challenges test you as an individual and as a professional to do your best and even exceed yourself.”

Schmidt’s favourite part of the job is the satisfaction of seeing a project through from design to the end result and being able to take pride in being a part of it.

“I am an extremely positive person and knowing that tomorrow I could deliver even better service and technical advice, keeps me coming back.”

Projects

Schmidt was involved in various projects, including a massive fish packing facility, and a deep-sea drilling oil rig 200km off the Angolan coast. Smaller projects consist of supplying, retrofitting, maintaining, and installing marine refrigeration plants on seagoing vessels.

Future plans

“Hopefully I’ll be blessed with good health to keep Midair running for a long time still. I want to mould and expand this company into one of the biggest HVAC retailers in the Eastern Cape.”


Click here to read the July 2018 issue of RACA Journal

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