As a boy growing up I curiously asked and was grateful for the invite to ride along with my father on service calls and to accompany him to the shop on Saturdays. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my father for being a patient teacher and will never be able to repay him for all that he has and continues to teach me. I was excited at just 12 years old to be handed a torch and given the opportunity to solder and sweat copper fittings. I chuckle now thinking how much silver solder and copper I burned through as dad patiently and kindly instructed me.

I am extremely proud to be a 4th generation refrigeration technician and just recently completed a search and discovery of equipment and installations my grandfather did back in the 40's and 50's. My grandpa was a pioneer in ammonia refrigeration and my father gleaned the trade from him and is now passing the torch to me. It is my hope and ambition to carry on the family trade, commitment, expertise, quality, and convictions of the two mentors that have proceeded me.

Although I have not worked full time in the refrigeration trade since those early days as a youth, my stops along the way have helped me to be a better technician today as I grow and learn with all of the changes as the industry continues to evolve.

After high school, I felt a calling to serve my country and decided to join the US Navy. I was fortunate enough to become a Damage Controlman which coincidentally does service and maintain the refrigeration systems on-board naval ships.

I served my 3-year enlistment and was honorably discharged in 1990. I came home and found work in the sheet metal trade were I installed commercial and industrial blow pipe for local factories, manufacturing plants, and machine shops.

Although I enjoyed the sheet metal work, an unexpected layoff led me to a new trade in the concrete construction industry. I quickly picked up this new trade and went from a laborer to the owner in 7 short years. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to pour foundations and flatwork in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. As my back and knees grew weary, I decided to shift my experience towards the building trades.

I studied and successfully passed the builders exam and went out on a limb to build my first home. I enjoyed being a contractor, working with other trades, and building dream homes for my clients. In 2005 I had the honor to build a spring and a fall "Parade of Homes." Unfortunately, when the building industry started to turn for the worse I was left to wonder what my future might hold.

As my father's business continued to expand, his need for informed, committed, and proficient techs increased. Thankfully, my need and my father's needs crossed paths once again and I was welcomed back into the family business. I currently work with him despite the 800 miles that separates us.

Currently my Refrigeration Business in Michigan continues to grow as well as my clientele base. I enjoy performing service and doing installs when I am able. In between calls, I refurbish equipment in my shop area and retail them from my showroom. I also sign up and attend any all schooling the manufactures offer to keep fresh and up to speed on the newer makes and models as the industry continues to evolve. I am thrilled and blessed that my immediate family is active in the business too. My son and daughter frequent me to the office and volunteer to "earn" money. I am honored to have met and married a wonderful woman who not only supports me, but encourages me. Thankfully, Tammy asks to ride along on deliveries and occasionally is recruited to help tear out a walk-in freezer or cooler.

- Rick Weidenfeller

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This is an original copy of The Frick System news letter - Vol. 30, No.2 dated Oct.-Nov., 1958. This particular volume featured my Great Grandfather and my Grandfather.

Paragraph one starts out:
"One of the first refrigerating engineers in Michigan was John Weidenfeller, Sr.,(my great-grandfather) who installed a Wolf compressor in the Keuster Brewery in Grand Rapids in 1888. Mr. Weidenfeller was active in the refrigeration industry until his death in 1929.
His son, John Weidenfeller, (my grandfather)was sent to Western State University in Kalamazoo to become a teacher, but his natural bent guided him into refrigeration engineering....

Grandpa John working the phones!

My father tells the story of driving a truck similar to this one at just 16 years old from Grand Rapids, MI to the Frick Company in Pennsylvania for supplies. Things were different back then....