The Southern Piedmont Chapter of ASHRAE was founded in 1952. However, it should be noted that ASHRAE as it is known today did not begin until 1959. The following is a summary of the predecessor societies that were active in the Carolinas. The activities of these societies led to the founding of the Southern Piedmont Chapter of ASHRAE.
- In June of 1938, 20 men who were members of the American Society of Heating and Ventilation Engineers, (established in 1896, then known as ASHVE, petitioned the Society in New York to form a chapter known as “The Carolina Chapter of ASHVE”. The original signers of the charter were individuals such as Bob Rice, former Secretary to the Board of Registration; T. C. Cook, head of T. C. Cook Engineers in Durham NC; W. M. Wallace and W. M. Wallace, II. Most of the members were from Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham. The petition was approved and Bob Rice became the first president of the state chapter of ASHVE. T. C. Cook was secretary-treasurer. The group met quarterly in Durham consisting of a dinner and technical meeting.
- The old records show that the Carolinas Chapter’s meeting schedule frequency changed in 1946. However it is important to note that this was still the Carolinas Chapter and it covered the entire state. The industry itself was small and almost everyone knew of the other people involved in the heating and ventilation industry. Therefore, friends were genuine, long lasting and a state-wide comradeship developed as the meetings were held in various locations around the state. All was well until 1952 when there appeared to be sufficient numbers of members from Charlotte who were perhaps becoming a little upset with traveling to Durham. Since there were a large number of members in the Charlotte area, this group petitioned ASHVE in 1952 to form the Southern Piedmont Chapter that would be headquartered in Charlotte. Bob Warren was President, Robert E. Mason Vice-president, J. A. Rice, Secretary, and J. W. Barr, Treasurer. Approximately 10-15 People met monthly at the old Elks Club.
- The remaining members of the Carolinas Chapter mainly from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham and other parts of the state changed their chapter name to Northern Piedmont Chapter of ASHVE. During this time both Southern Piedmont Chapter and Northern Piedmont was part of Region V of ASHVE.
- As air conditioning began to become prevalent, the old heating and ventilation society of ASHVE changed its name to ASHAE, which represented the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers. This occurred in 1956 and did not affect any of the chapter structure at all. Also in 1956 the Society approved the formation of Regions. Region V included the area east of the Mississippi River from Washington DC to New Orleans. The first meeting of Region V delegates and alternates was held in Atlanta. The regional director at the first meeting was G. B. Gambill from Atlanta. The first delegate and alternate from Southern Piedmont Chapter were George Garrett and W. P. Wells. In 1959 The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers, ASHAE, and The American Society of Refrigeration Engineers, ASRE, merged to form The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers or what we know today as ASHRAE. In January 1960 Region IV of ASHRAE was formed which included North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico. J. G. Woodruff was the first coordinator of Region IV which is the same position as Regional Director is today. The first meeting of Region IV was held in Greensboro and chaired by George Rottman.
- In the mid 1970’s ASHRAE was restructured to have twelve regions. Southern Piedmont Chapter remained in Region IV which included North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
- The chapter meeting places were generally held close to downtown Charlotte. Some of the early meeting places included The Elk Club, Keusters Restaurant, the old Selwyn Hotel, the old Mecklenburg Hotel, the old Barringer Hotel, and Honey’s Restaurant. After Honey’s closed the meetings moved to the General Motors Training Center on North Tryon. They were held there from 1974 to 1978. After 1978 we moved to the Coliseum Motor Inn on Independence Blvd., the FYD Banquet and Catering Cafeteria and The Marriott Hotel near I-77 and Tyvola. One of most favorite meetings of the year began in 1981 at Public Service Co. of NC where ASHRAE Research Promotion was the theme and all money collected for dinner was donated to research by Public Service Co. The chapter has been meeting at Byron’s Southend the last few years.