1994-1995 – Paul K. Melton

Paul graduated from Iowa State University in 1966, and was employed by The Trane Company his entire career. He transferred from the LaCrosse, WI corporate office to the Des Moines office in January 1967, where he retired on December 31, 2004. He joined ASHRAE in 1971, served as Region VI Historian 2009-2013, and is now a Life Member.

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

“Board meetings back in the 1960’s and 1970’s were held just prior to the chapter meetings. The board was much smaller in numbers than the current board, less than 10 members as I remember. The board and chapter meetings were frequently held at country clubs and restaurants.  The meetings generally had a speaker who spoke for about an hour on a technical subject similar to current meetings. About once a year there was a panel of four or five local businessmen or others from the area who would discuss items of local interest.  Dress was more formal back then. Suits or sport coat and a tie were the norm. For me, the worst thing about attending a chapter meeting was that a very high percentage of the attendees were smokers! Current meetings are a lot more enjoyable.

“The early systems were constant volume, double duct, multi-zone or induction. There were lots of unit ventilators, fan coils, cabinet unit heaters and gas, water or steam propeller unit heaters. Chillers were reciprocating, absorption or centrifugal. There were no scroll or screw compressors for several years. Variable air volume was the new and upcoming system. The first VAV systems had the manufacturers scrambling for methods to control the volume out of the air handling units and to produce a terminal box and diffusers that would do a good job.

“Most of the manufacturer’s equipment selections were done using tables and graphs from catalogs. Computer selection programs became available to equipment suppliers first and ultimately to the engineers. We still made selection mistakes, but we could make more of them and a lot faster. With the use of computers it seemed that safety factors became smaller and standardized rating methods became much more important.

“My favorite memories of Iowa ASHRAE include interacting with the individual members. I think a good organization is a product of the membership and the leaders. ASHRAE has good local and national leaders who donate a great deal of time, talent and money to advance the HVAC industry. I have enjoyed the relationships and being a member of ASHRAE.”