TORAD Advisory Board
TORAD’s advisory board is comprised of industry visionaries and experienced business leaders who function as an extension of the TORAD leadership team and provide objective advice and counsel.
TORAD’s executives are relentlessly focused on developing and delivering innovative products and technologiesy designed to improve the cost and energy efficiency of key industrial markets. TORAD’s leaders are also intent on attracting and inspiring like-minded professionals who share a passion for cooperation and continuously enhancing TORAD technology and products.
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Former Chairman of Board
Sirius XM Radio
Owner, Next-Tech Solutions
HVAC/R Industry Veteran
Former Director at Daikin AC
HVAC/R Industry Veteran
EVP of Finance and Investments
ECKHARD A. GROLL, Dr. Eng.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Eckhard A. Groll is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Office of Professional Practice at Purdue University. He joined Purdue University as an Assistant Professor in 1994 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000 and to Full Professor in 2005. He received his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the University of the Ruhr in Bochum, Germany, in 1989 and a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hannover, Germany, in 1994.
Professor Groll teaches Thermodynamics and his research focuses on the fundamental thermal sciences as applied to advanced HVAC&R systems, components, and their working fluids. Since joining Purdue, he has been the principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI on 81 research grants and 42 educational grants with a total budget of more than $9 million. Dr. Groll has authored or co-authored 75 83 archival journal articles and 129 130 conference papers. He has been the co-author of two three handbook chapters and the editor or co-editor of seven conference proceedings. He has given 45 invited lectures or seminars and four keynote lectures. He serves as the Regional Editor for the Americas for the International Journal of Refrigeration and is a Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Dr. Groll has been recognized for his academic leadership in higher education. He is a 2010-2011 Fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE) and participated in the Academic Leadership Program of the Committee on Institutional Collaboration (CIC-ALP) during 2009-2010. He has received numerous awards for his research and teaching excellence including the 2010 E. K. Campbell Award from ASHRAE, his induction into the Book of Great Teachers at Purdue University in 2008, and the 2007 Purdue University Faculty Scholar Award.
GARY M. PARSONS
CEO, NextNav Holdings, LLC
Venture Partner, Columbia Capital
With an academic background in engineering and business administration, Gary Parsons has spent over 40 years in the communications-media-technology (CMT) industry. His primary achievements include the founding or early stage development
of a number of companies (XM Satellite Radio, SkyTerra, TerreStar, MCImetro, and Telecom*USA), each of which attained multi-billion dollar enterprise values. He currently serves on the Boards of NextNav Holdings, LLC, Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd., the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the advisory board of GreenSpring Associates.
RUSSELL J. TAVOLACCI
Russell Tavolacci is a multi-talented HVAC/R senior level executive with experience in North America and overseas, with a stellar industry reputation over 28 years built on high energy, integrity-laded, fiscally conscious, and technology-focused. He approaches each new business challenge with passion for utmost achievement, success and satisfaction for his clients, and measured risk-taking to drive consistent bottom-line improvements.
His most recent tenure for the past 7 years with Daikin AC Americas, has put him at the forefront of the HVAC/R industry with the next technology solution, Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) and inverter-driven heat pump systems. Tavolacci’s leadership and drive to introduce this technology and Daikin Industries into North American market has made him one the industry’s most recognized professionals of this new technology.
Tavolacci is a mechanical engineer by education, earning his BSME at Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 1982 and longtime member of ASHRAE. His career has spanned the HVAC/R industry beginning in the mechanical contracting business and then making the transition to the manufacturing side of the industry.
Nearly 15 years’ experience has been with Japanese manufacturers of high technology components and equipment, both in the OEM and direct sales channel routes in North America. His experience has spanned leadership roles in domestic to international markets, residential and commercial segments, sales strategy, distribution development, M&A’s, product management to senior levels of business management.
In 2004 Tavolacci joined Daikin US Corporation, a subsidiary of the $12 billion Daikin Industries Ltd. where he held several roles of increasing responsibilities. After 3-1/2 years, he was promoted to Vice President & General Manager of Daikin AC (Americas), a subsidiary of Daikin Industries Ltd. to lead the expansion and continued penetration into North America, with VRV and inverter driven heat-pump air conditioning systems. During his leadership, he led Daikin AC to record growth of $100 million in 42 months and established them as a formidable leader of the latest technology in the North American HVAC/R market.
In addition to extraordinary growth, his executive leadership provides strategic planning of sales, product, and distribution; executive relationships with clients, industry associations resulting in strong brand acceptance within the HVAC/R industry. His natural ability to build relationships from scratch, trust, and rapport with almost anyone, broker relationships and make connections between people, organizations, creating partnerships and alliances, and motivating forward momentum to ‘getting things done.’
Prior to Daikin, Tavolacci spent nearly 18 years in the industrial, commercial and residential businesses, for Hitachi, Dunham-Bush and York, building up their sales, service and marketing efforts through product management and diverse business relationship building. During this period, he spent several years at York International in the direct distribution business in a product management role, developing the voice of the customer techniques to properly bring new products and technologies to the market. Prior to these manufacturing companies, he started in the industry working for a mechanical contractor in suburban New York for 3 years.
Today, Russ Tavolacci resides with his wife in suburban Dallas. With two grown children, they are focused on various personal activities in their local community, increased physical fitness activities and traveling.
CHRISTINA E. TRONDSEN
As a respected leader, Trondsen has experience in the North American and international markets in industrial, commercial, and residential HVAC/R. She has led strategic business plans resulting in record achievement of managing sales promotions, marketing, advertising, communications, technical communications, customer service, and successful product launches for new technologies, which resulted in driving record-high sales.
Trondsen has performed several system creations and methods to reorganize, streamline, and strengthen start-up operations. Her proven financial management skills have reflected increasing profits and decreasing operational expenditures through careful budget analysis and vendor relationship. Throughout her career, Trondsen’s business acumen proved instrumental in negotiation and achievement of numerous multi-million dollar accounts.
Her most recent tenure for the past 7 years was with Daikin AC developing and implementing the strategies with the next technology solution, Variable Refrigerant Flow/Volume (VRF/V) and inverter-driven heat pump systems. While at Daikin AC, she authored and implemented marketing and sales plans from a start-up company to a mature $120M per year organization over 5 years. She had the foresight to work with HVAC industry associations such as ASHRAE, HARDI, ACCA, and MCAA regarding new technologies in research, promotion, and acceptance. Trondsen developed the residential and commercial dealer program including 1,200+ dealers and is still growing today.
In 2004, she started working independently as a consultant to Daikin US Corporation in assisting them in integrating a start-up company into a $12 Billion Japanese global framework and developed major company policies and guidelines. The following year, Trondsen was hired to develop the branding strategy and dealer program as Marketing Manager for Daikin in North America. In 2006, she was promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications for North America and assumed responsibility for Daikin’s marketing and branding strategy.
Trondsen began her career in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry in 1997 working for an OEM manufacturer of refrigerant compressors for the commercial and industrial markets. Her background includes customer service, marketing, communications, and management positions with HVAC manufacturers including Daikin, RefComp, and Dunham-Bush. She has experience in the global HVAC OEM market and North American HVAC business as it relates to vertical markets, end users, architects, engineers and mechanical contractors for residential and commercial applications. Prior to her HVAC/R career, Trondsen worked in consumer marketing and advertising roles for a consumer goods manufacturer and in the financial industry.
With 14 years of experience in the HVAC/R industry, Ms. Trondsen also holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Ms. Trondsen has been married to her husband Jeffrey for 16 years and they are proud parents of son Michael who is 9 and daughter Grace who is 7. They currently reside in Coppell, Texas.
DAVID E. HOMRICH
EVP Finance and Investments
AMB Group, LLC
David Homrich is Executive Vice President – Finance and Investments of AMB Group, LLC, the management and support services arm for Arthur M. Blank’s diverse businesses. He is President of Exodus Capital, LLC (Mr. Blank’s private investment company), Treasurer of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and a senior officer of several other companies that comprise the Blank Family of Businesses.
David has been working with the Blank family for over twenty years. His current responsibilities include financial and strategic planning, and investment strategy and management as well as new business analysis and development.
David is a CPA, a Certified Financial Planner, and has earned the Personal Financial Specialist designation from the American Institute of CPAs. He has authored a book and several articles on financial and investment matters and has been quoted in numerous business publications. He has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best financial advisors in the United States.
In 2001 David joined AMB Group, LLC. Formerly, he was Chairman and CEO of Homrich Berg, an Atlanta-based wealth management company he co-founded in 1989. While at Homrich Berg, David served as personal financial and investment advisor to Arthur Blank and his family for 12 years. Previously, David was a principal in an investment advisory company and a manager in the tax department of the Atlanta office of Price Waterhouse.
David is on the Board of Advisors of the Atlanta Falcons Football Club. He serves, or has served, on the boards of several private companies. David serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He is a former member of the Governing Board of the State Properties Commission and the Georgia Building Authority.
David is past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta YMCA and presently serves on its Executive and Board Development committees. In 2008 he was honored to receive the Bransby Christian Leadership Award from the Metro Atlanta YMCA. In 2007, the Georgia Society of CPAs presented its Public Service Award to David in recognition of his public service to the community and the State of Georgia.
A magna cum laude graduate of The University of Georgia with a degree in accounting, David also earned his Master of Accountancy degree with a tax concentration from UGA.