Home | Contact us

Home » Education »
Speaker Bios


Don Donald R. Fisher, P.E.
President / CEO Fisher-Nickel, inc.

Don Fisher, President/CEO of Fisher-Nickel, inc., manages the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, CA. This Center develops and applies standard test methods for evaluating the performance of food service equipment.

Don received a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 1972 and a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 1974 from the University of Manitoba. Soon after graduation, he jumped into the world of foodservice energy research on a program funded by Energy, Mines and Resources Canada. After ten years of promoting energy efficiency in Canadian restaurants, Don migrated to California in 1986 with his partner Judy Nickel to operate what has become North America’s foremost center on energy performance in commercial foodservice – namely the PG&E Food Service Technology Center. This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Conducting hundreds of restaurant energy audits over his career, Don cultured a passion and expertise for kitchen ventilation. Don was founding chairperson of a technical committee on kitchen ventilation for the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) to develop guidelines and standards for foodservice operations. He was the 2006 recipient of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy [ACEEE] Champion of Energy Efficiency Award recognizing his leadership, technical skills, innovation, and persistence in changing national markets for energy-efficient food service technologies. He is a popular speaker at industry forums and is the author of numerous industry research papers and articles.


Richard Richard Young
Senior Engineer / Director of Education

Richard is the senior engineer and Director of Education at the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), an unbiased research facility that focuses specifically on commercial food service applications.

The FSTC works at all levels of the industry, from mom-and-pop restaurants to the largest chains, as well as with manufacturers, trade associations, utilities, and state and federal government. The Food Service Technology Center is the primary information resource for the EPA's ENERGY STAR program for commercial food service and has contributed significantly to the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Retail rating system.

Richard’s electrical engineering background led him into alternative energy and the opportunity to design several cogeneration plants. He changed course from energy-generation to energy-efficiency when he was invited to join the Food Service Technology Center’s research team almost two decades ago. Richard started by developing several of the FSTC’s standard test methods and subsequently became involved in green buildings as project manager for The Energy Efficient McDonald's (TEEM) project.

He currently focuses most of his efforts on technical outreach - translating the research into practical information. He has 15 years of experience creating and presenting seminars on energy efficiency and currently delivers about 75 sessions a year on this subject. He has authored numerous research reports as well as articles in magazines, newsletters and on the web. Richard and his colleagues at the Food Service Technology Center are currently partnering with the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program; finding new ways to promote the sustainability message to a wider food service audience.


David David Zabrowski
Senior Engineer

David Zabrowski is responsible for the Food Service Technology Center’s (FSTC) standard test method development program. Over his fifteen-plus year tenure, he has been instrumental in overseeing the development and maintenance of over 35 test methods for ASTM ratification. Mr Zabrowski also manages the Center’s testing and evaluation program. He has been involved in the testing and reporting of 100s of different commercial cooking appliances.

Mr. Zabrowski is the past Chairman of the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) F26 Committee on Food Service Equipment and the acting chairman for the F26.06 Subcommittee on Productivity and Energy Protocols. He led the NAFEM Committee on Life Cycle Cost Model development team that resulted in a spreadsheet-based life-cycle cost model for commercial cooking appliances, available from NAFEM.


Todd Todd Bell
Sr. Energy Analyst

Mr. Bell is responsible for the Food Service Technology Center’s (FSTC) energy audit/site survey program, which examines the cooking equipment, HVAC, lighting, refrigeration, water heating and sanitation systems in commercial food service operations.

In a typical year he will conduct nearly 100 site surveys under the FSTC’s CPUC-funded Energy Efficiency for Commercial Food Service program. Essentially the “man in the trenches”, Mr. Bell visits commercial food service sites ranging from the very small, such as coffee shops and delis, to large full service kitchens like those found in hotels and public school cafeterias.

With his “real world” field experience and continuing research activities in the FSTC’s equipment testing laboratory, Mr. Bell brings a formidable array of knowledge to the myriad of energy efficiency and sustainability workshops and seminars he conducts, all of which are designed to help commercial food service operators reduce energy use and operating costs.


Amin Amin Delagah
Project Engineer

Amin Delagah is a project engineer at the PG&E Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), an unbiased research facility that focuses specifically on commercial foodservice applications.

Amin holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. in Renewable Energy Engineering with a minor in Environmental Management. He has been at the center for four years and currently focuses most of his efforts on hot water systems research and technical outreach. Highlights of his research include the completion of a California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research Report titled, “Energy Efficiency Potential of Gas-Fired Commercial Water Heating Equipment in Foodservice Facilities” and a Design Guide on “Energy Efficient Heating, Delivery and Use”. Amin maintains a close working relationship with many water heater manufacturers and water heating experts and has been a leading advocate for the development and promotion of condensing commercial water heaters.

He participates as an industry expert on the Consortium for Energy Efficiency Gas Committee Meeting on Commercial Water Heaters held monthly and provided input to Joanne O’Donnell in the development of the report titled, “CEE High Efficiency Commercial Water Heater Initiative”. Amin has both organized and presented at two to three sessions annually for the last three years at the ACEEE Hot Water Forum on hot water systems in commercial kitchens. He is the upcoming Handbook Chair of the ASHRAE Technical Committee 6.6 Service Water Heating. Amin is actively working with California utilities to develop a high-efficiency water heater rebate program for food service facilities and continues to do laboratory and field research on hot water systems.


Rich Rich Swiercyzna
Senior Engineer

Rich Swierczyna manages the Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Laboratory (CKVL) for Fisher Nickel, inc. (FNi) at the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC). Mr. Swierczyna brings over 25 years of experience to the FSTC-CKVL project. He is heavily involved with ASHRAE (formerly American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and ASTM (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) as a technical committee member, as well as an author of numerous reports and papers.

Mr. Swierczyna has been instrumental in the development and adoption of best practices for optimizing commercial kitchen ventilation, and for building HVAC and replacement air systems. Through design guides and revisions to the ASHRAE Handbook, as well as through championing changes to codes and standards, he has helped the industry minimize restaurant operating costs while maintaining operator comfort.


Vern Vern Smith, P.E.

Vern is an energy engineer specializing in energy instrumentation, monitoring, retro-commissioning, modeling, and HVAC fault detection and diagnostics. He has over 20 years of experience in energy engineering, including 18 years with Architectural Energy Corporation. Vern is active in ASHRAE as a voting member of Technical Committee 7.5, Smart Buildings, as well as a corresponding member of TC 5.10, Kitchen Ventilation. He is a member of ASTM’s Food Service Equipment Committee.

Vern earned his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and his Master of Science in Business at University of Northern Colorado. He is a registered engineer in Colorado.


Related Links

- Educational Seminars