Introducing Jamie Channon, Director of Cold-Rite Refridgeration and Airconditioning, and Beyond Service Awards New Mission Award Finalist
Keeping it cool for customers is easy when armed with Army skills
Jamie Channon has successfully taken ownership of an established Sydney business and he credits the Australian Army with giving him the skills needed to transition from tradie to boss.
The 42-year-old is now the owner and director of Cold-Rite Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, a company with about 10 employees.
And in his spare time, he’s also a reservist infantry sergeant posted to the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment.
Jamie joined the Australian Army Reserve in 2001 while completing his apprenticeship in refrigeration and air conditioning.
During his military service he has deployed to Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and the Torres Straight Area of Operations, along with domestic operations for COVID and natural disasters.
More recently, Jamie also worked in protective security, which is where entrepreneurial inspiration first struck.
“I was looking after high net worth people in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, billionaires, that sort of thing,” he said.
“I got to observe these people and be a fly on a wall for a lot of things, not high-level business meetings or anything like that, but just how they interacted and their behaviours.”
“That’s when I thought, this is something I want to do. I didn't want to become a billionaire, it’s not worth it, but I wanted my own business.”
“I wanted to be able to pass something on to my son and, if I end up having other kids, to them as well.”
Jamie said he already had the skills needed to run a company thanks to his time in uniform.
“In business, people talk about SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” he said.
“In the Army, you do a very similar thing when you're doing mission analysis, and you do a course of action development, and you're doing your enemy analysis as well.”
“To take the military skills that I was learning and then re-jig them into civilian speak, wasn't really that difficult a thing to do. If you can read a set of orders, if you can write a set of orders, even as a private, then you're ahead of a lot of people in the civilian world.”
“By default, you're pretty much a project manager.”
Jamie created his own company, Channon Solutions, in 2022 and bought out Cold-Rite Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.
His customers range from hospitality venues, such as RSLs, and large food distributors, where a freezer room could be the size of a football field, through to pharmaceutical companies who require rooms where both temperature and humidity are controlled.
He is also looking at branching into specialised systems for archives.
But Jamie reckons his biggest success since taking over Cold-Rite has been transitioning the company from paper invoicing to a digital platform.
“I came up with a project management plan for that, which was simply like writing a set of orders in the Army – situation, mission and execution, admin and log, command and signal,” he said.
“In 90 days, we went from paper to digital and now the guys all have an iPad, they all use the digital platform, photos get uploaded, and we've got QR code asset tags we put on the equipment.”
“Each time they go work on the equipment, they tap into (the QR code), which adds to the story of that piece of equipment.”
Jamie said this system meant the complete history of a piece of equipment could be passed to clients within minutes, making it easier for them to budget for replacements or repairs.
“With a refrigeration company, anyone can fix a fridge,” he said.
“Our point of difference is the information we collect and our ability to distribute that information to our clients in an easy-to-read process for them.”
Jamie said he was pleasantly shocked to be a finalist in the New Mission Award of the Prince’s Trust Australia Beyond Service Awards.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said, no pun intended.
“I see a lot of people on LinkedIn that are in the veteran space and they're doing amazing things with body armour, drones and all this. So, I was pretty blown away.”
This story was written by Courtney Snowden, freelance copywriter and current serving ADF spouse, based in Queensland.
An initiative of the Prince’s Trust Australia Enterprise programme, the Beyond Service Awards are designed to celebrate the entrepreneurial achievements of Australia’s veteran and family business community.
The 2023 Beyond Service Awards are proudly sponsored by Gold Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Silver Sponsor Saab Australia.
For further information, contact Prince’s Trust Australia via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamie is a finalist for the 2023 Beyond Service Awards – New Mission Award, proudly sponsored by Saab Australia.
Jamie is the Director of Cold-Rite Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Director of Channon Solutions. Applying his experience navigating stakeholders in overseas operations, and planning and executing missions with the Australian Army, Jamie acquired Cold-Rite in mid-2023. Cold-Rite provides installation and maintenance for commercial and industrial refrigeration, with over 150 clients Australia-wide.
Jamie is focused on digitalizing the company, including the introduction of service management software to streamline engagement with clients, and supporting his team.
Jamie is a veteran of the Australian Army, based in Sydney, New South Wales.