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Stellar Hires Retired Navy Captain to Lead Refrigeration Division

Stellar, a construction, design, engineering and mechanical services firm, has appointed retired Navy Captain John J. Heinzel as its new Vice President of Refrigeration Services.

Stellar is a worldwide leader in industrial refrigeration systems for the food-and-beverage and cold-storage industries.

“Throughout his Navy career, John successively led larger, more complex and more diverse organizations, with a strong track record of success and innovation,” said Mike Santarone, Stellar Chief Operating Officer. “His organizational expertise and proven leadership skills will serve us well as we continue to grow our Refrigeration group and expand throughout the world.”

Most recently Heinzel served as Commanding Officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., the 1,800-person organization is responsible for the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of the shore infrastructure for 16 Navy bases across the Southeast.

Prior to that tour of duty, Heinzel spent three years as Commanding Officer of the Seabee schoolhouses, training sailors to become Seabees, the Navy’s combat construction force. Other roles throughout his 28-year Navy career include Deputy Fleet Civil Engineer of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE, and Director of Operators for Engineering Field Activity Chesapeake.

“Stellar’s corporate philosophy of ‘taking solutions further’ aligns very well with my own values and approach,” said Heinzel. “I’m looking forward to joining a team that has such a strong commitment to delivering innovative, world-class, quality products.”

Under Heinzel’s leadership, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast provided construction services for a $130 million expansion of a military training installation, a $128 million relocation of Third Army to Shaw Air Force Base, and a $33 million Haiti reconstruction effort.

He also spearheaded the planning and execution of $55 million in energy enhancements to 37 major Navy facilities and directed the Navy's largest real estate program, including the expansion of four airfields.

Heinzel holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

About Stellar
Stellar is an architecture, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm. Using a fully integrated approach, Stellar’s team of more than 600 people worldwide create award-winning food and beverage processing plants; refrigerated warehouses; distribution centers; commercial, institutional and military facilities; and industrial refrigeration, mechanical, thermal, cooling and power systems. In addition to its Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters, Stellar operates 12 support locations throughout the United States and has offices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, China and Puerto Rico. The company also serves Central and South America, Europe and India. For more information, visit

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Stellar has upheld our brand promise of Taking Solutions Further® for three decades. With unmatched self-performing capabilities, we offer clients a single point of accountability while maintaining the highest level of quality. Our team has experience across a wide range of industries, backed by a company-wide commitment to exceeding our customers’ expectations. We build relationships to last, and have enjoyed successful partnerships with Fortune 100 and industry-leading companies.

2900 Hartley Road
Jacksonville, FL 32257

Phone: 904-260-2900
Toll-free: 800-488-2900

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