News & Press: RETA News

RETA and Smithfield Foods Launch Training Program for Veterans

Tuesday, February 11, 2020  

The Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association and Smithfield Foods Launch Training Program for Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Work

The initiative, RedWhiteandCool, seeks to place veterans in highly sustainable careers


FORT EUSTIS, Va., Feb. 11, 2020- The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are pleased to announce RedWhiteandCool, an initiative focused on recruiting, training and hiring transitioning military veterans into the growing and highly sustainable natural refrigeration industry as refrigeration technicians. Smithfield Foods, the founding sponsor of the program, is dedicated to supporting veterans through employment and philanthropic initiatives like RedWhiteandCool.

“There is a shortage of skilled labor in our country and the commercial and natural refrigeration industry is not exempt from this employment deficit,” said Lois Stirewalt . “There are currently more than 40,000 jobs open nationally for refrigeration technicians. At the same time, many veterans remain unemployed once they transition to civilian live. RedWhiteandCool is taking action to address this very issue.”

The RedWhiteandCool program will work hand in hand with the Department of Defense and transitioning military personnel, family members and veterans to recruit them into the commercial refrigeration industry. The partnership, administered by RETA’s non-profit arm RETA-Training Institute (RETA-TI) in conjunction with the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, is the organization’s newest and highly innovative Career Skills Program (CSP).

“At Smithfield Foods, supporting the men and women who have served our country is core to who we are as an American company,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans; this training and transition program is just one way we demonstrate our appreciation. Partnering with RETA was a natural fit to help connect these veterans with skilled trade jobs at our company and in our industry.”

Transitioning military veterans met yesterday with program staff during an information session to learn more about the training program and refrigeration industry. The free four-week course will begin on Mon., Mar. 23, 2020 at Joint Base Langely-Eustis in Virginia. Participants will receive certification testing at the end of the program and have the opportunity to interview for a career with Smithfield Foods as part of the company’s veteran hiring initiative.


About the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association

The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) is the most recognized organization in the country dedicated to the professional development of industrial refrigeration operators and technicians. Founded in 1910, RETA is a non-profit membership and certification organization currently based in Albany, Oregon. The RETA-Training Institute is the 501 c 3 arm dedicated to addressing workforce development issues across the industry.

Ammonia and CO2 features many sustainable benefits. They are naturally occurring green substances with no potential for ozone depletion, and no potential for direct global warming impact. It requires less primary energy to produce a given refrigeration effect than other common refrigerants, has a low replacement cost, and its self-alarming odor helps to detect leaks and  minimize emissions.

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About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food  company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and have made us one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including  many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Media Contacts:
MWWPR for Smithfield Foods
Greg Nyhan 646.215.6884


Lois Stirewalt 703.980.4278,


Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association
Toll Free: 844.801.3711 · Phone: 541.497.2955 · Fax: 541.497.2966
1725 Ferry St SW, Albany, OR 97322