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West Texas Chapter Spotlight

The West Texas Chapter of ASHRAE was chartered in the fall of 1953, when air conditioning was a burgeoning idea on the high plains of Texas. In West Texas, our wet bulb depression is 26 degrees, so we have plenty of great weather, and beautiful sunsets. We are a semi-arid region, with little rainfall and a dry climate. Evaporative cooling and waterside economizers really work up here! Our members design, sell and build $100M research labs and medical facilities, but for comfort conditions, we size our HVAC on the sensible load, meet the codes, and don’t have to worry about much else. Agriculture, Education and Medical Care forms the bedrock of our economy.

Our early HVAC pioneers in the 1950’s and 60’s include legends such as Jack Roberts, Leon Davidson, Norris Fanning, Bill Anthony, George Carpenter, Art Cronk, Pat Huston, Jimmy May, Robert Madden, Glenn Keyton, David G. Halley, Johnny Ralls and Lafayette McKay. These pioneers instilled in the generations that followed a spirit of independent thinking, self-reliance and even survival when the engineers, contractors, and reps from “off” swooped in and cherry-picked the great projects.

It is this independent spirit that still guides the attitudes and actions of the West Texas Chapter. We meet in a side room of a dance hall that only opens on Friday afternoons. They serve free beer, chicken and dumplings, barbeque, and live music. We recently purchased a PA system so our speakers could compete with crooners singing hits from Buddy Holly, Mac Davis and Delbert McClinton, all natives of Lubbock.

As a chapter, we average around 25-30 meeting attendance in a good month. We are a small chapter, but we are all friends. We recommend one another, watch out for one another, hunt with one another and fellowship together. We never met strangers, so if you want to join us out here, c’mon, you’d be welcomed.

This year, our initiatives include reviving our Texas Tech Student Chapter, putting together a slate of great programs to keep our attendance up, and recruiting a new generation of young engineers in ASHRAE to carry on. We have a good start so far. ASHRAE Fellow David Branson has taken on the task of advising our student chapter members. We host tailgates for all ASHRAE members for Texas Tech home games. If you need a frozen margarita with a Grand Marnier floater, come see us. David Small has put together a great slate of programs for the year. Steven Cook is our RP guy and is planning a sporting clays tournament. Tim Morrison takes care of CTTC. Danielle Smith and Micah Kneeshaw head up our YEA committee, and Zach Telchik is our treasurer. Rhett Graham runs our June Jack F. Roberts memorial scholarship golf tournament, which awards thousands of dollars of scholarships to Texas Tech students. Buddy Brown is our newsletter editor and John Dulaney is our immediate past president, having done a great job last year.

Our MVP member is Mike Powell. In a small chapter, you get pressed into service, especially when you host the CRC. When you sign on, you’re in for the long haul. Mike has been the chapter president three times: 1983-84, 1993-94, and 1998-99. I think we hosted CRC all three years he was president. He is our “Mister ASHRAE”. He is the chapter historian, makes every BOG meeting, and is most qualified for that post due to his longstanding active leadership. Get to know Mike if you ever get a chance.

That’s about everything I can tell you about West Texas ASHRAE. We probably won’t win the golden gavel award, and we don’t sweat PAOE points other than to make sure we are aligned with our Society President, but we love what we do and who we do it with, so it’s all good. If it’s not fun, we probably won’t be doing it. If you’re ever out this way, stop in to see us. We’d love to have you.

Scott M. Fanning PE

Chapter President

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