Omni has dedicating this blog to a true pioneer in our industry; Mr. Bernard (Barney) Besal. Barney passed away on September 15th and leaves behind a long list of family and friends. Our dedication is more of a celebration of Barney and his contribution to us personally and professionally; he truly helped shape the industry we serve and we will be forever grateful for his vision, guidance, and friendship.
A few of us here at Omni had the privilege of personally interacting with Barney at IKECA events and while performing our duties within our areas of influence within the industry. Skip, Scott, and I would like to share some of those experiences.
From Skip Lewis
I have had the opportunity to meet with and listen to Barney at quite a few IKECA conventions. Two things stand out to me when I think about those occasions. Barney often conducted seminars on various subjects at IKECA shows. I was always impressed by how well prepared he was and how confidently he presented his material. He spoke with authority and passion and no one ever nodded off when he spoke! I left his seminars wiser than I was before.
Evenings at IKECA shows include a lot of networking and socializing. If you happened to be hanging out at Barney’s table, you found that he was passionate and knowledgeable about other topics besides hood cleaning. He could talk about motorcycles and military aircrafts for quite a while. If he started in on his exploits as a younger man you were in for a treat. He was a fascinating storyteller. He was a great man who will be missed but not forgotten.
From Scott Justis
I had the pleasure of first meeting Barney Besal at the Annual Membership Meeting in New Orleans, LA in 2010. Having only been in the industry just over a year, it was time for me to get certified and what better way to gain KEC industry knowledge than to attend Barney’s Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning and Code Compliance Class. I was immediately drawn in as Barney’s passion and knowledge of this industry were displayed during his instruction… I was hooked! I can remember saying; ‘Wow this guy knows everything’! (Not knowing at the time he wrote the book)!
Over the years I have had the pleasure of listening to Barney instruct and display his passion in several AHJ training sessions, and have had many opportunities to talk about field inspection challenges we both have had in the field, as well as his passion for motorcycles.
You cannot replace Barney Besal, you can only hope that you can be as passionate about the industry and give back what you have learned as he did. Barney, You Will Be Missed!
Some Final Words from Brian
I meet Barney in 2009 at an IKECA meeting, my first. I had just bought into this industry and began working with Omni who at the time had our Grease Gutter and the unpatented SuperHinge. Barney was immediately noticeable when I first came to IKECA, he is generally surrounded by people that seek him out in venues like IKECA. When I was first introduced he made me feel welcome. Though a tad quiet, his presence was apparent; this was his world.
As I continued to attend IKECA meetings through 2010 and 2011, his passion for the industry fueled my own. As an outsider whose primary professional purpose had not been aligned with Barney’s for very long, he inspired me to become more passionate about those things IKECA stands for; safety and protection of life and property through the products and services represented by its members; Barney helped build my soapbox and develop my voice about my passion in our industry.
Over the years Barney and I had a limited relationship. However, we found common ground in his love of military airplanes and my love of jumping out of them; we also share an interest in motorsports, though his Ducati obsession beat mine by a longshot. It was during these brief off-of-work subject conversations that you could see Barney was in fact a very honorable man. His ability to share his passion regardless of topic was consistent and had a way of grabbing you and making you pay attention. For me, it was Barney who inspired me to develop a passion for IKECA and what Omni does, from a perspective that was less self-serving and more altruistic, and that passion continues to fuel what we at Omni do on an annual basis.
Barney was already missed this past spring for the 2017 IKECA Spring owners convention and now those of us who did not get to say goodbye will have to find our own closure to relationships developed over things critical to life, property, learning, friendship, family, and happiness; all things I know Barney was passionate about.
Till we meet again Barney….