Q1: Could you briefly tell us about yourself (place and date of birth, family structure, pre-school, higher education, non-HVAC business history, current family-spouse, children)?

S.Z.POYRAZ: I was born in Ankara in 1962, second of four brothers, my father was a contractor and my mother a housewife. I studied primary, middle, high school and university in Ankara. I studied Persian Language and Literature at Ankara University. I started working with my father as a boy and worked at several different jobs when I was a student. I am currently married with three children. 

Q2: What drew you to the engineering and HVAC-R industry?

S.Z.POYRAZ: Even as a young boy I was always interested to know and learn how things worked, I would take things apart and put them back together. I carried this curiosity with me and did everything to improve myself. 

Q3: What was your first experience in the HVAC-R industry and where did it take you?

In 1983 I started supplying heating and plumbing materials to construction sites, in 1991 I started the production of flexible air ducts by founding AFS. In 2005 we started distributing fans which led us to producing fans in 2015 with Soler & Paulo. In short, this is how our firm began producing HVAC-R products.

S.Z.POYRAZ: Even though I willingly studied philology, I enjoyed producing and distributing HVAC-R products. That is why, since 1980 I have worked hard within the HVAC-R sector, making maximum effort to increase export levels. Additionally, I played a key role in founding TOBB Climatisation Assembly and became, and still am, a founding chairman, In 2012, I also became a founding chairman for the Turkish HVAC-R Exporters Association (ISIB). When we first started out producing flexible air ducts, there were not as many products, brands and resources as we have today. In general, the sites were smaller and simpler. At times, we had to assemble or build the product from scratch, there were no ready-made resources available.

Q4: What was the state of the industry at that time? What were the difficulties you and your colleagues faced?

S.Z.POYRAZ: The HVAC-R sector is one of the most important and forthcoming sectors in Turkey and the World. This has been proven once again with the recent coronavirus pandemic. I believe our sector will continue to grow and accommodate the needs as necessary. The Turkish HVAC-R sector has a capacity of $6 billion in terms of export.  As the need for indoor air quality and energy efficient products increase the HVAC-R sector will continue to thrive.

It can be said that Turkey grows through its export levels. Our sector in Turkey is a center of attraction for international companies and foreign investments due to both its qualified manpower and strategic location, as Turkey is situated very close to MENA and Europe. It is advantageous that our products are certified by international labs. Additionally, quality value is very high both in products and in services and I can say that “These are the best products money can buy!”

Q5: How and when did you join ASHRAE?

S.Z.POYRAZ: Since the 2000s I have been attending the AHR shows, which is where I came to know ASHRAE. I have had several duties in the society level, in the USA and in RAL (Region at Large), in which the Turkish Chapter is a part of.

Q6: HVAC-related courses at universities in Turkey subject given enough? What can be done to diversify HVAC-related courses and increase students’ interest in the HVAC sector?

S.Z.POYRAZ: There is much work to be done in the education system, the number of HVAC-R departments in universities are not enough.

We have been doing our best to encourage young people and students by giving scholarships, providing training and job opportunities. We also give speeches at universities, in mechanical departments.

Q7: What does ASHRAE mean to you personally?

S.Z.POYRAZ: ASHRAE is an influential and crucial network in the HVAC-R sector. For instance, their regulations have been used to design buildings in the construction sector.

ASHRAE raises awareness in terms of energy efficiency, noise pollution, global warming and environmental problems and works towards a sustainable world. Besides its critical role in determining the sectorial standards, ASHRAE provides networking opportunities and communication channels worldwide with the most distinguished industry representatives. For instance, together with ASHRAE we have  a market share in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, UAE, Jordan Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. Besides its critical role in determining the sectorial standards, ASHRAE also makes it possible to communicate with the most distinguished sectorial representatives worldwide.  We all have benefited from ASHRAE’s work and structure, and we are ready to cooperate fully and support ASHRAE events.

Q8: What would you recommend to a young person who is considering working in the HVAC-R industry?

S.Z.POYRAZ: I would highly recommend a young person to work in the HVAC-R sector, mainly because it is in constant development and the demand for its products continues to increase as well as the demand for R&D. One of the main reasons for these are as follows: The increasing demand for environment friendly and energy efficient products are boosting the sector as well as higher expectations for indoor air quality.

Welfare levels are increasing together with comfort levels.

Products have become easy to purchase.

The demand for cold chain for healthcare and food products have increased.

I believe everyone can find a job that suits their abilities within the sector. For instance, there is work available for designers, sales engineers, those who want to work in production, installment and so on and so forth.

Q9: What do you think ASHRAE Turkish chapter should do to support the Turkish HVAC sector?

S.Z.POYRAZ: Turkish exporters attach great importance to their cooperation with ASHRAE. We give support to ASHRAE organizations to the extent allowed by our means. Our cooperation with ASHRAE started during RAL CRC 2014 and continued with Chicago in 2015, RAL CRC Istanbul, 2016 Orlando and Super CRC 2016 Bangkok and Sharm Al Sheikh, Amman, Antalya and so on. I am extremely pleased with the outputs of the said organizations. We are determined to maintain our support and cooperation in the future. In fact, we will be inviting them to Istanbul this year.

Q10: When evaluated in terms of duties and responsibilities, how should the relations between ASHRAE Turkish chapter and TTMD be and how can they be developed? Is it possible to realize joint projects between institutions?

S.Z. POYRAZ: In my opinion ASHRAE Turkish Chapter can support the Turkish HVAC sector by improving its efforts in education and the standards of the sector. Additionally, the importance of the sector should be explained in communities and the networking ties between different chapters and regions should be strengthened. The ASHRAE Turkish Chapter and TTMD should definitely be working hand-in-hand. In my opinion, they should be seen and work as one. The association that is the most familiar with and uses the most amount of protocols of ASHRAE is TTMD. Also, ASHRAE plays a key role in expanding TTMD to global levels

Q11: What advice would you like to give to young people in general?

S.Z. POYRAZ: My main advice to young people everywhere is to work hard and do the job that makes them happy and encourages them to do better.