Staying power

Staying power

One test of an award program’s veracity is how well the decision to bestow plaudits is viewed through the lens of time.

I wonder if the Nobel Prize Committee has some misgivings in retrospect about the decision to grant its coveted Peace Prize to Yasir Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzak Rabin in 1994. Given what’s unfolded in recent times, at the very least one could say the committee may have been premature in its haste to resolve a difficult situation.

Such was the shock when Marisa Tomei was awarded the 1993 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her work in lightweight comedy My Cousin Vinny, some conspiracy theorists posited that the incorrect name must have been read out by a tipsy presenter. Somehow Tomei came out ahead of powerhouse performances from Anna Paquin (The Piano), Emma Thompson (In the Name of the Father) and Winona Ryder (The Age of Innocence). Thirty years later and the decision still seems bizarre.

It’s also not so easy to explain why Michael Mann’s epic Heat was completely snubbed by the critical cognoscenti when it was originally released back in the day.

I’m pleased to report that the decisions made by AIRAH Awards judges seem to be holding up rather well down the track. And here I’m thinking particularly about the Future Leader category. Quite a few past winners have realised the potential enshrined in the award category’s title.

After founding and then selling her consultancy, Clare Parry has ascended to senior government sustainability roles, taking her considerable influence beyond the HVAC&R industry. WA’s Peta Blight, M.AIRAH, is now overseeing projects for Rio Tinto. Iain Stewart, Affil.AIRAH, has continued to grow his business while also regularly presenting at AIRAH conferences, where you are also likely to hear Grace Foo, M.AIRAH, and Dr Josh Wall, M.AIRAH – a couple of other past winners of the Future Leader gong.

At the 2023 AIRAH Awards gala, I was able to chat with this year’s winner, Dr Federico Tartarini, Affil.AIRAH, discovering that his enthusiasm and commitment are palpable.

As the main developer and maintainer of several free and open-source comfort tools, he has shown initiative in providing resources widely used by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers around the world.

You can read all about the winners of the 2023 AIRAH Awards in the feature that begins on p.58. I get the feeling we’re going to be hearing and reading more about Federico and what he does in his next act.

Ecolibrium June-July 2023

This article appears in ecolibrium’s Summer 2023 issue

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