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HVACR Manufacturing Industry Leaders Set to Discuss Current Events

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ACCA 2023 Conference & Expo is right around the corner, featuring epic content you won’t want to miss. One of the key sessions taking place during this event is the Manufacturer Leadership Forum taking place Tuesday, April 4, at 8:45AM in New Orleans, LA.

This interactive forum, moderated by Kyle Gargaro, editor-in-chief of ACHR News, will feature top manufacturing industry leaders and will cover current events affecting manufacturers and the HVACR supply chain. The session also features a live Q&A section where contractors will have the chance to address their important industry questions with members of the panel.

This year, five manufacturers are joining the panel to bring a wide variety of industry knowledge: Carrier, Daikin Comfort Technologies, Johnson Controls, Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions, and Rheem Manufacturing.



Featuring Braden Cook, director, product management & training, residential HVAC at Carrier. Braden directs the product marketing and lifecycle management for residential heating, cooling, ductless and VRF products, with a focus on launches in support of 2023 regulatory compliance. Braden joined Carrier in 2015 as Product Manager for their 80% Gas Furnaces and Oil Furnaces. Since 2017, he has held the position of Heating Platform Leader with a primary focus on Fan Energy Rating (FER) and Ultra Low NOx gas furnace launches. Braden holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Indianapolis and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology from Purdue University. Braden and his wife Brittney live in Westfield, Indiana, have a two-year-old son and twins, a boy and girl.


Daikin Comfort Technologies

Featuring Nathan Walker, senior vice president, environmental business development and program management office at Daikin. Nathan Walker joined Daikin Comfort Technologies (previously Goodman Manufacturing) in 2002 as a Senior Design Engineer before joining the Marketing and Business Development team and working his way up to Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and CEO Staff before transitioning to his current position as Senior Vice President of Environmental Business Development and Program Management Office.

Nathan received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University (Cookeville, TN) and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Texas (Austin, TX). Nathan was born and raised in Tennessee, but has been in the Houston, Texas area for the last twenty years. He has been married to Brandy Walker for 23 years, and they have four children ages 19, 17, 14, and 12. Nathan enjoys golf and other outdoor activities.


Johnson Controls

Featuring Brandon Franks, vice president, sales & marketing at Johnson Controls. Brandon Franks oversees the sales related to residential and commercial, along with the distributor marketing programs for Johnson Controls’ Global Products division. He has over 22 years of HVAC experience and has served in multiple capacities, including territory sales, product management, and national accounts.



Featuring Mark Bills, vice president and general manager of commercial HVAC products at Emerson Commercial & Residential Services. In this role, Mark leads product strategy, engineering development, life cycle management, and channel engagement strategies for the North American commercial HVAC market segment along with the responsibility of coordinating Emerson’s Commercial HVAC compressor strategies across all World Areas.

Since joining Emerson in 2000, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of new product engineering, product management, marketing, and sales across Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. In addition to his experience over a broad range of business disciplines, Mark has held strategic leadership positions in North American and Asia Pacific, being based in Hong Kong for four years. Most of his career has been focused on compression and sub-system solutions, but he has also led a team focused on IOT solutions and applications in the North American Cold Chain space.

Mark graduated from the University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and later continued his education at the University of Dayton where he obtained a Master’s in Business Administration. He currently sits on the AHRI Leadership Council for the Applied Sector and is a board member of the Geothermal Exchange.


Rheem Manufacturing

Featuring Randy Roberts, vice president for residential business development at Rheem Manufacturing. For over a quarter of a century, Randy has played an active and integral role growing and positioning Rheem’s U.S. Air Conditioning Division for long-term success.

Since 1997, Randy has worked closely with Rheem contractors and distribution partners, helping them succeed and grow their business while also strengthening Rheem’s culture, strategy, and customer and consumer partner engagement. Randy currently oversees Rheem’s Residential Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Product Development efforts.

Randy is an alumnus of the University of Alabama earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1993, as well as an Executive MBA in 2012. He has served as a board member and President of the Birmingham Golf Association (BGA), where he has been instrumental in Junior Golfer development in the greater Birmingham community. In addition, Randy is also a deacon and active member of Mountain Brook Baptist Church. When not working, Randy enjoys playing golf and pickleball, and watching college sports.


Can’t join us for the full 3 days?

Consider purchasing a one-day pass to the Conference and Expo. Purchasing a one-day pass for Tuesday will provide you access to the manufacturer Leadership Forum along with the Expo floor, roundtable discussions, and many educational sessions. Register today!

Posted In: Events, Supply Chain

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