Associate Spotlight on Ammonia Refrigeration Technician Troy Stewart
From Cheese to Freeze: Troy Stewart Finds Rewarding Career in Ammonia Refrigeration
Industrial Ammonia Refrigeration Technician Troy Stewart is the father of three little girls, who most certainly keep him on his toes. And that’s probably a good skill to have when you work in ammonia service, one of the most highly regulated, and dangerous, segments of our industry.
The career path that led the Wisconsin native to P1 Service began with the iconic staple of America’s Dairyland: cheese.
“After demobilizing from an Iraq deployment (USMC – 0311 Infantry), I had the opportunity to start as a Limited Term Associate at Grande Cheese Company, conducting industrial maintenance,” Troy said.
Two years later, Troy became a full-time Process Safety Management Coordinator for the facility, which was driving an initiative to have all facilities Process Safety Management (PSM) compliant.
“This is where my career started in the ammonia refrigeration Industry,” Troy said. “I had taken classes and read up on the standards of the industry, with mentorship from Bassett Mechanical Service Technician.”
Safety is paramount in the ammonia industry, and Troy explained the multitude of personal protective equipment that may be required in any given situation, going way beyond hard hats and vests.
“There are measures we must always be aware of, like always having our air-purifying respirator with proper filtration cartridge, a personal air monitor, and using the buddy system when performing line breaks,” Troy said. “We also utilize goggles, aprons, gloves, and boots.”
But Troy says constant vigilance is probably the most critical safety measure.
“We are on a constant swivel, maintaining entire control over the equipment,” he said. “If any complacency were to set in, someone could be injured or killed.
“Knowing the chemical properties within the piping without seeing it, and knowing what situations can cause hazards and how to remediate them, are the most critical safety measures we deal with every day.”
Troy says the challenge of this industry is what he likes most. “It’s continuous learning and movement. There is always something new to figure out.”
When he’s not keeping an eye on equipment, Troy enjoys keeping an eye on his three little “handfuls”, Sophia, nine, Lucee, five, and Maisley, two.
“I like spending time with my wife, Emily, and our family. Without her sacrifices and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I also enjoy working on home improvements and playing guitar,” he said.
In fact, Troy’s early career aspirations were to go into the music industry, working in audio engineering and performing.
He still plays guitar regularly. Looking ahead, Troy says he hopes to remain at P1 Service, LLC, initializing and providing compliance service, along with technical service, to the ammonia industry.