My dad was under the ocean on the USS Simon Bulivar when I was born, and later when my brother was born. He was a machinists mate. After my dad Harry got out of the Navy, he went to school for computer programming, way back when they were using punch cards.

He liked the logical side of it, but back then programming was tedious and not a lot of fun. He also missed working with his hands, so he moved into refrigeration systems used in restaurants and stores.

He really poured his heart and soul into the trade, and after a few years got his own license. On a single day back in 1979 quite a few things happened. My dad married my pretty awesome step mom, bought a truck and a car, and started Tara Service Company and hired me.

My first day, he gave me a socket wrench without any sockets, and an adjustable wrench. My first job was to hold the flashlight which I did, and then he asked if I could see. I told him I could and he said he couldn’t, and the job of the flashlight holder was to make sure the guy touching the high voltage wires that could kill him could see. That was a huge lesson in empathy.

He also gave me what is still my most prised possession, especially since my dad passed in 2016, his 1968 copy of “Modern Refrigeration”. I sat in the passenger seat reading from it peppering him with questions. Dad always knew the answers because he had read this huge book many times.

When I turned 15 and got my learners license, dad got a free Chauffeur. Then he started peppering me with questions from the book. He was also very big on teaching me every aspect of how to fix cooling equipment and leading men on the jobsite. I at only 15 I was making quite an impression at what Georgia Power then called the “Good Sense Program” on keeping equipment efficient, and how heat pumps could save people money.

Dad was also president of the Cobb County Heating and Air association back in the early 80s, when Cobb and Gwinnett were the 2 fastest growing counties in America.

It was about as good an apprenticeship you could hope for.

1968 Edition of Modern Refrigeration

Harry Lankfords Copy of the 1968 Edition of Modern Refrigeration