BCV alumnus Sam Ringwaldt is the CEO of an innovative tech company that is reinventing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and radically decreasing carbon emissions.
But his life-journey, and route to get there, wasn’t quite what he expected.
As a school leaver, the main thing Sam wanted to do was to serve God fully.
“I always wanted to make sure that I was giving everything that God has equipped me with, back to him,” Sam says. “I was quite good academically, I liked doing things with my hands and building things, and I loved people and building relationships. The question was: how could God use all of this?”
Sam thought he could combine his skills by becoming a Bible translator who could fly into remote areas and fix his own plane. He moved from his home town of Adelaide to study Flying, Engineering and Theology at Bible College of Victoria (later MST), but quickly realised he couldn’t afford the flying tuition fees.
And when he contacted Mission Aviation Fellowship and other similar ministries to share his vision for his future, they all disagreed with him. Sam could be a pilot, or an engineer, or go and be a Bible translator, but not all three.
Deciding on the Bible translator path, Sam took up theology instead.
“I wanted to be what I understood as a ‘hardcore missionary’ and live in a grass hut,” he says. “If you go somewhere where there’s no written language, it’s a 30-year commitment to learn the local language, create an alphabet, teach literacy and then translate the Bible. I was good for that.”
Sam was confident he was in the right place, but then life took a different turn.
In his move to Melbourne, Sam met Brenda, his wife-to-be, and the daughter of Ron Conry, a brilliant inventor. When the couple decided to get married, Ron asked them to come to Canada to help promote some new air conditioning technology he’d invented.
They moved to Canada a week after they got married, built a mobile showroom and drove around North America showing off the new air conditioning technology.
The business grew and the family moved to Asia—where instead of Sam’s ‘grass hut’ dream, they found themselves living in mansions. Yet Sam’s passion for what he understood as ‘mission’ wasn’t blunted.
“I kept saying, ‘Alright, God, I’m ready when you are’,” he says.
It took two more years before Sam realised that God was using all his giftings and Sam was partnering in God’s work, right where he was, at work, at church, and at home. They were building a business, sharing his testimony and reflecting God’s character within the workplace. Sam’s business was his ‘mission’.
Fast forward and Sam’s business, Conry Tech, has developed an innovative HVAC system that could revolutionise the industry even further. The company recently received a $3 million grant from the New South Wales government to work with the University of New South Wales, developing technology that could cut carbon emissions by over a gigaton.
But running a profitable company that’s helping the environment still isn’t Sam’s primary passion.
“For me the main driver is that people can have eternity with God.”