Ammonia refrigeration training & testing offered at JCJC with Wagner-Meinert partnership

Written By: Teresa McCreery
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Date Submitted: 2018-02-22 17:37:25

ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College’s Heating and Air-Conditioning program will soon expand to include ammonia refrigeration training as the college begins a new partnership with Wagner-Meinert, LLC. The Ft. Wayne, Indiana, based company will also establish a certified RETA (Refrigeration Engineers and Technician Association) Testing Center to ensure the few industrial ammonia refrigeration operator/technicians in the region can stay in compliance with OSHA and EPA standards.
“We have the most credentialed training staff in the ammonia refrigeration field. Only a handful of technicians are trained in ammonia refrigeration. This is a niche market,” said Jeff Albert, President of Wagner-Meinert, LLC. “We only have a few locations like Jones where we partner with another group.”
The company offers a full scope of services including HVAC and ammonia refrigeration maintenance and training, food process and mechanical contracting, and process safety management services. JCJC administrators are eager to be a part of the Wagner-Meinert family because of the vast opportunities the partnership will offer JCJC students and industry.
“This new partnership will eventually allow JCJC HVAC instructors, Jay Aultman and Thomas Johnson to expand the current curriculum to include ammonia refrigeration training for Jones students,” said JCJC Dean of Career and Technical programs, Rod Tolbert. “It will also enable better use of Jones ammonia refrigerated ice machine system located within the heating and air conditioning lab.”
Four, RETA authorized instructors from Wagner-Meinert will use JCJC’s ammonia refrigeration system for hands-on training when courses are offered later this year. A vast scope of industrial ammonia refrigeration training will be offered based on the demands of the area. Wagner-Meinert lead instructor, Jeff Sloan, noted while there are no federally mandated regulations for industrial refrigeration operators/technicians, there are certifications more companies are requiring of their employees.
“The majority of students we will mainly attract will be people who are employed in the industry or their employers will be sending them for the training because they are required by OSHA and the EPA to have trained operators. Employers are also mandating (technicians/operators) have RETA certifications, like CARO (Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator) and CIRO (Certified Industrial Refrigeration Operator) certifications. These credentials and training benefit the companies because it shows the extra effort to be in compliance.”
John Sherrill, Wagner-Meinert’s training compliance engineer explained the RETA certifications are ANSI certified tests which means they’ve gone through a rigorous process of reviewing how the tests are developed, how they are maintained and proctored, offering substantial credibility within the industry. Being properly certified and trained provides huge benefits for all involved.
“If the operators/technicians aren’t properly maintaining, adjusting and operating the ammonia refrigeration system, the ‘bottom line’ of a company will suffer tremendously. Companies employ operators/technicians to prevent problems with refrigeration,” said Sherrill.
JCJC President Dr. Jesse Smith said this type of training is in big demand in the region with poultry processing and large refrigeration food storage facilities continually needing qualified operators and technicians. However, outside assistance was required because of the limited ammonia refrigeration training resources in the area.
“We needed a corporate partner to fully launch this program to meet the demands of industry. The potential is there for Jones to become an important center in the southern region for Wagner-Meinert.”

Ensuring there is an ample supply of certified operators allows everyone to succeed in industry and in education. JCJC HVAC instructor, Jay Aultman, said he is proud to play a part in helping the community thrive.
“We will implement some ammonia refrigeration training into our curriculum with the hopes our students will pursue more training to be more marketable.  Being able to offer this skill-set in our region is great for the poultry industry, and any business using cold storage refrigeration on an industrial level,” said Aultman.
For more information about the JCJC Heating and Air Conditioning program click on the web page link: or contact Jay Aultman at or call 601-477-4241 or or call 601-477-4247. To learn more about Wagner-Meinert’s services click on the web page:



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