ASHRAE is calling me back!

ASHRAE LogoFor those of you who were technically inclined toward the HVAC industry, I’m sure you will recall that ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and AirConditioning Engineers) is the primary industry association in that industry.

Since ASHRAE had their annual show and technical/business meeting in Chicago this past January, I took the time to take the train down there for a few days. I guess old habits are hard to break. It’s a glitzy gathering of 50,000 of our closest industry associates. It completely fills McCormick Place on Chicago’s lake front with wall to wall HVAC’ers of all flavors and ages.

I was happy to see that Johnson Controls had come back with a booth at this show. Our prior employer had been a bit irregular on the show floor for quite a few of the recent years. There is a consistently growing international flavor to the show, both from attendees and those showing products. The world is definitely shrinking.

There are really two distinctly different groups of attendees at a gathering like this one. While the show at McCormick Place draws the largest attendance of sales and vendor folks, the ASHRAE society and technical meeting is also held concurrently with the January show. It draws about 2500 members to a local conference center (the Palmer House Hilton) to conduct the ongoing business of running a society of this size. There is not much mixing of these two groups, primarily due to time commitments. This ASHRAE crowd is mostly engineers. My gray hair and PE registration are much more the norm in that crowd.

By now you may be asking (like others did to me in Chicago) “Why are you here – now that you don’t HAVE to attend?” It is a way to stay connected to the profession and industry in which I and many of you reading this newsletter spent most, or all, of our career. If you have been in ASHRAE long enough to qualify as a Life Member (a life sentence) you receive a break on the attendance fee. I also had to get the Chapter 2 of the 2016 Handbook approved for publication, as part of one of the technical committees I’m on. The evening train ride from Chicago to Milwaukee is also like a reunion of present and past JCI folks. Not all those attending prior Johnson folks are from Milwaukee, Verle Williams from California and Warren Hahn from Florida are common attendees as well.

At our WSJ Society of Retirees reunion, one of the repeated concerns was, how to stay connected to your profession and fellow associates once you leave the active work life? I offer this as an example of a way to do so. If involvement at the National level is not for you, the local chapters are always looking for folks. While ASHRAE may apply to all, there are certainly other options.

Gene Strehlow