1990-1991 – James A. Lee

A self-described “farm boy from South Dakota”, Jim Lee graduated from South Dakota State University in 1978 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for Environmental Engineers, Inc. from 1978 to 1985, before joining Shive-Hattery, Inc.

At Shive-Hattery, Jim held various positions over the years including Project Manager, Mechanical Group Leader, and Building Team Leader. He now serves as President of the company, located in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Following are some of Jim’s memories of his time in ASHRAE:

“It’s hard to remember a lot from 25 years ago, but a few things come to mind.  Prior to being elected Treasurer of the Iowa Chapter, I was the newsletter editor for many years.  Much of the newsletter was cut and pasted for years, because we were just developing any form of electronic word processing.  Then, after finalizing the master, I would have to deliver the newsletter proof to the printing company for making the copies, folding and stapling.  Then I would deliver to the Post Office for bulk mailing.  But after becoming an officer in ASHRAE, Dennis Hogan relieved me of my editor duties and with the help of SMCI’s administrative staff streamlined the development and delivery of our newsletter.  There was no e-mail in those days and, in fact, the Worldwide Web and HTML language was just rolled out in 1990.  So the newsletter was mailed for many years after.

“The Board Meetings were all held at SMCI’s office, which continued on for many years….and may even continue today.  I’m not sure where you are having them today.  We had an excellent Board of Governors while I moved up through the ranks.  People like Chuck Pedersen, Clint Leonard, Jack Culp, Greg Maxwell, Paul Melton, Jeff Hammer, and, yes, our favorite lawyer, Hogan.  All very dedicated and involved individuals that certainly helped make my job as President of the Chapter very easy.  I remember we spent a lot of time trying new ideas to make our chapter programs and social events, like the golf outings, be something special people would appreciate and attend.

“I believe most of our Chapter meetings, if not all, were held at Christopher’s in Beaverdale.  We generally could count on 50 or 60 attendees every meeting……we didn’t have to lure them in by offering free dinner……and everybody wore TIES!!  Yes, those things around our neck that cut off our circulation.  But, it was a different time then with different expectations and priorities than what we have today.

“The new and/or emerging technologies at the time, of course, revolved around the internet and what capabilities it was going to allow us to do by monitoring and controlling buildings remotely.  Another hot technology I remember at the time was ice storage and harvesting to help offset the cost of utility demand charges.  We had just completed the ice storage project at DMACC which provided the college significant cost savings and a nice rebate from MidAmerican Energy.  And we were underway designing our first hydronic in-floor radiant heating system for Anderson Erickson’s new corporate office building.

“My favorite memories of my time with ASHRAE… the meetings after the meetings.  A chance to sit back, relax and discuss the issues, rumors, or stories of the day with your competitors, contractors, and reps… while sipping a cold adult beverage.  The relationships developed among many people in our industry at those get-togethers was the most valuable time of all.”