Arkansas ASHRAE Newsletter: The Razorback Report

Newsletter Archive

President's Report

The President’s Message

By:  Ron McCarty

Reminder that our December meeting will be on December 5th at Camp Aldersgate.

This is a great time of the year with the holiday season that is in full swing.  It is also a time to step back and give thanks for the things that we have and ask what can do for others. 

This coming month the Arkansas Chapter will be highlighted in the Region 8 newsletter.  The Arkansas Chapter has a great history and has provided significant contributions to ASHRAE over the years.   The Chapter appears to be strong with good growth and should continue to be a positive force for the Region and Society in the coming years.

Our next meeting is on December 5th at Camp Aldersgate, where we will have another distinguished lecturer as our speaker.  The first three meetings have been a great success with record attendance.  Steve McConnell has done a great job this year in lining up interesting and exceptional speakers.  Look forward to seeing everyone at the meeting and if you can please bring a non-member to the meeting to introduce them to ASHRAE.

All the committees are in full operational mode promoting ASHRAE across the state.  Our Student Activities committee has done a great job with arranging opportunities for our speakers to present at the universities during their visits.  There is also a lot of activity is being put forth on the K-12 fronts to promote ASHRAE and engineering.   Again, this is the future of our profession, so if you are asked to help this committee please take a few minutes to help.  

Upcoming and ongoing events with each of the committees are full swing.  Pork Butt sales to support Student Activities is currently underway.  Poker tournaments and Sportsman’s Raffle are coming up for RP promotion.  Membership Promotion events are being arranged for upcoming meetings.  Additional events are coming up for our YEA and Student Activity groups.  Please look for times and places in the upcoming newsletter.

In closing, I want remind everyone that all of the things happening with Arkansas ASHRAE has been made possible from volunteers.  I want thank everyone that gives their time and effort to help make our Chapter great. 

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Chapter Meeting Announcement

Arkansas ASHRAE Chapter Meeting

Hosted By: Arkansas ASHRAE Board of Governors

  Agenda for Wednesday, December 5th:

10:30-11:30   Board of Governors' meeting
11:30-12:00   Lunch Buffet and Announcements
12:00 - 1:00   The (un)Ethical Engineer: A Study in Principle and Practice by Devin Abellon, P.E., ASHRAE Distinguish Lecturer

Speaker Spotlight:

Devin Abellon, P.E. (Uponor)

Mr. Abellon is a registered professional engineer with over 17 years of experience in the HVAC field, designing systems for commercial, institutional, industrial, health care, and municipal projects. Mr. Abellon was Vice President and managing principal of LSW Engineers California, Incorporated in San Diego until 2009, when he accepted a position as Business Development Manager for Uponor North America. He now works closely with engineers throughout the country, supporting projects that integrate radiant heating and cooling strategies to maximize energy efficiency.

Mr. Abellon earned his B.S. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1993. He is an active member of ASHRAE on the local chapter, regional, and Society level and is currently the Programs Subcommittee Chair for ASHRAE TC6.5 – Radiant and Convective Space Heating and Cooling, as well as a Regional Vice Chair in Region X.


The integrity of the HVAC industry is dependent on sound technical design, reliable products, skilled construction practice and consistent maintenance and operation. But another critical element that is sometimes overlooked is professional ethics. As members within the HVAC industry engineers, contractors, architects, manufacturers, vendors and building owners are expected to exhibit the highest standard of honesty and integrity to safeguard the confidence that the public has in us.  In this very competitive climate, however, it is sometimes tempting to "bend the rules" to some degree in order to gain an advantage over competition or to simply get the job done on time. But how much is too much? Is there a clearly defined line between ethical practice and "just the way things are done?"

“The (un)Ethical Engineer” is an interactive, multimedia, dramatic presentation that explores these issues through the eyes of a well-intentioned engineer.


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Calendar of Events

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ASHRAE Events & Sponsorships

CRC (Chapter Regional Conference) is the annual meeting for all 15 chapters in ASHRAE Region VIII.  The CRC is a golden opportunity for all the chapters to come together and learn about and from each other.  CRC ends with the big event of the awarding of the Golden Gavel to the best chapter of the year.  The conference also gives everyone an opportunity to meet and fellowship together. Each year a different chapter hosts the CRC and opens their doors to the Region. This years CRC Region VIII event will be hosted by the Mexico City Chapter in Cancun, Mexico. Mark your calendar and lets have a strong representation of our Central Arkansas Chapter. 

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Arkansas ASHRAE Research Promotion

By: Steve Keen, RP Chair

Thank you all for your generous contributions and sponsorships benefiting ASHRAE Research. I’d also like to thank our Arkansas ASHRAE leadership for making Full Circle again this year by all members of the Chapter leadership donating a minimum of $100.00 toward ASHRAE RP.   We have a chapter goal of $42,600.00 this year for RP.  In the past the number has been higher.  But, this year the Northwest Arkansas chapter will be responsible for meeting their new chapter goal, which has reduced our chapter’s goal slightly.  We had intended to recognize or chapters RP donors at last month’s meeting but due to time constraints we have postponed that recognition until the December monthly meeting.  Please attend and join me in personally thanking these individuals and business’ for contributing to our industries future.

We are planning some fun activities like Poker Nights, Fall and Spring Golf, Raffles and a Trap Shoot to help raise funds for ASHRAE Research.  Be looking for these dates in the monthly newsletters and on our Arkansas ASHRAE website.  In the meantime you can go to ASHRAE’s website,, to donate to RP programs including, ASHRAE Research; ASHRAE Scholarships for undergraduate students; ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI); development of new courses & materials; Graduate Research Projects (Grants-in-Aid); Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA) Leadership Training; and Permanently endowed support to all of the above programs.  The ASHRAE RP campaign raises over $2.2 Million a year from over 6,000 contributors in our industry.  Arkansas and Region VIII are a major part of that success.  Again, thank you for your support in the past and this year’s campaign.


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YEA & Student Activitites

Student Activities is having their Smoked Pork Butt Student Fundraiser for ASHRAE Winter Conference. Pork Butts are being sold for $30 each and all profits go toward fundraising for the ASHRAE students to attend the ASHRAE Winter Conference. They are being sold now until December 1st, so hurry and order yours before it’s too late!  Pork Butts will be ready for pickup on December 6th & 7th, just in time to reheat for family gatherings or football games. Contact Fallon Lee or Josh Faulkner if you would like to place an order.

Student Activities is still looking for volunteers to sign up to speak to K-12 classes about STEM.  If you are interested, please sign up in the link below or contact Fallon Lee (

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Arkansas ASHRAE History

Arkansas ASHRAE History

By: Russell Black, Historian

Continuing with our publication of leadership recall interviews, here is an interview with:

Bill Simpson, Arkansas ASHRAE Chapter President 2011-2012

Interview Date:  April 1, 2016

Among his many ASHRAE achievements, Bill was a Golden Gavel President and has received the Chapter Service Award.

  1. Provide a brief biographical sketch of your life (Place of birth, early schooling, higher education, and employment background).

    1. I was born in Columbus, OH, but my family bought a small fish and ski resort on Lake Norfork near Mountain Home when I was five.  I always loved Arkansas and growing up in Mountain Home had plenty of advantages, but when I graduated high school I was ready to experience a more urban setting.  As such, I attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta where I would eventually graduate with a BSME.  Since college, I have been fortunate to have worked these last 12 years at Harrison Energy Partners (or Trane Arkansas as it was called when I was originally hired).

  2. Please describe what attracted you to the engineering industry, as well as your first job in it.

    1. There was a TV show in the late 80s and throughout the 90s called Beyond 2000 that showcased technological innovations.  That was my impetus for pursuing an engineering degree.  Reality struck somewhere between my freshman and senior years in college when I realized jobs designing sexy, “high-tech” machinery were not easy to come by.  During my senior year I took an HVAC class that resonated with me and met several people in the HVAC industry.  I interviewed for several consulting positions as well as my current position in technical sales and ultimately made my decision because of the Trane Graduate Training Program and the investment Trane and HEP made in developing their new associates.

  3. How and when did you become involved in ASHRAE?

    1. I became a student member of ASHRAE during my senior year of college but, aside from attending our student branch meetings, was not active until I started working.  Because Bill Harrison was active at the highest levels of ASHRAE and many of the leaders of Harrison Energy Partners had served as chapter officers, the benefits of ASHRAE were understood and thus there was (and still is) a strong culture of support for ASHRAE within our company.  I started attending chapter meetings including the Board of Governor’s meetings with Chris Ahne almost immediately after starting at HEP.  As anyone knows who has been involved with ASHRAE, it doesn’t take long to get asked to serve if you show a little interest and enthusiasm.  While attending my first CRC in San Antonio in 2005, then President-Elect Chance Hollingsworth asked me to serve as chapter webmaster and the rest is history.

  4. Please describe the chapter, regional, and Society positions that you have held.

    1. As I mentioned, I started my service within Arkansas ASHRAE as webmaster and then moved on to Student Activities.  Aside from skipping the Treasurer position, I matriculated through the chapter officer roles and on to Research Promotion.  I now serve on the Board of Governors.  At a regional level, I am currently finishing my commitment as Student Activities Regional Vice-Chair and consequently serve on the society Student Activities Committee.  I have also served on other Student Activities related society ad-hoc committees and the Professional Development Committee.

  5. As a past Arkansas ASHRAE officer, what were some of the major issues facing the HVAC industry at the time?

    1. In the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t been that long since I was an ASHRAE officer, and so the issues then are much the same as they are now.  The thing that sticks out in my mind is that the market was just recovering from a slowdown and a period of significant deferred maintenance.  While there was a rapidly growing awareness for energy efficiency and sustainability, there were many so-called “green” facilities that had deteriorated to “grey”.  Commissioning and retro-commissioning standards were in development and USGBC’s term “integrated design” was thrown around quite readily.

  6. What was the single greatest challenge that you faces during the years that you served as an officer in the Arkansas chapter?

    1. Having skipped the role of Treasurer, I was not well prepared for the issues of creating, balancing and maintaining our chapter budget.  While ultimately we were responsible stewards of the Chapter’s money during my presidency, it took us several months just to get a budget passed.  I was fortunate to be backed by a great team of officers and committee members and we were able to get a lot accomplished including updating the Constitution and By-laws.

  7. What people stand out as influences on you?

    1. This list is longer than I can type or you want to read.  In particular, I’ve been blessed to have a strong, close family and I credit my parents for most of my success (as well as my good looks and witty sense of humor).  They sacrificed significantly for me to be involved in many extra-curricular activities and attend college out of state.  I also credit my high school cross country coach for instilling work ethic and personal accountability.  (Some may think he fell short on the former.)  Professionally, whether they want the credit or not, Bill Harrison, Mike McClellan, Jim Bradford and Greg Blair with their unique personalities and skills have taught me invaluable lessons in business and life.  Given the nature of my job, I am also fortunate to learn every day from a diverse group of customers.

  8. What advice would you give a young individual starting out in the HVAC industry today?

    1. Sacrifice early and invest in yourself.  Be humble and pay attention to those with more experience.  Always challenge the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality but strive to understand the reason why things were done that way to begin with.

  9. What advice would you give an individual that is just starting out as an ASHRAE officer?

    1. Read the Manual of Chapter Operations and the Constitution and By-laws and attend CRC.  Be proud of serving in a great organization.

  10. What are your future ASHRAE plans?

    1. I hope to stay involved with the ASHRAE Student Activities Committee possibly going through the chairs.  As my time permits, I would also like to be more involved with technical committees.

  11. Please describe any humorous and/or significant historical events that you recall from your ASHRAE experiences.

    1. Most conversations with Don Huggins or Dennis Stanke have been either humorous or significant historical events in my mind—sometimes both.


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