In 1959, ASHRAE was formed when the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE), known after 1954 as American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) and the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) merged. Shortly thereafter in August of the same year, impetus toward formation of a local chapter came from Frank Vaughn, a representative of Sporlan Valve. He and James May of American Air Filter, then chairman of Region VII, initiated discussions with Ed Kennedy of Ed's Supply and these led to meetings with among others, I. C. Thomasson and Don Nichols of I. C. Thomasson & Associates, Dick Wood of American Air Filter and Faulkner Hickerson of Burkhalter-Hickerson Architects. From these early contacts, the circle widened and further discussions culminated in the formation of the Nashville Chapter of ASHRAE.
The early officers were a who's who of the Nashville HVAC community. They included I. C. Thomasson as the first president. I. C. Thomasson and M. T. Gossett, had collaborated on one of the city's first commercial air conditioning systems at the B&W cafeteria in 1933. In addition to president, the charter officers were Roy King, Vice President, James Potter, Secretary, Ted Moats, Treasurer, Bob Bibb, Programs, Don Nichols, Membership, Ed Kennedy, Director, and Faulkner Hickerson, Director. There were 38 charter members.
The original name of the chapter was just "Nashville." However, it soon became apparent that "Middle Tennessee" would be more appropriate since the membership rolls included many from outside the city. Later, the Nashville Chapter sponsored and initiated the Knoxville Chapter and the Chattanooga Chapter. After the founding of these chapters, the Middle Tennessee Chapter once again became just the "Nashville" Chapter.
The chapter held its first few meetings at a restaurant in the Westgate Shopping Center on Highway 100, but soon M. T. Gossett offered the use of Gossett's Barn as a meeting place. The barn, located behind the Gossett residence on Abbott Martin Road was a popular gathering place for catered parties in those times and the Gossett's were generous in their grant of its use to various groups. In appreciation, the chapter installed a heating and air conditioning system in the barn. In later years, ASHRAE met at the B & W Cafeteria in Green Hills, the Ramada Inn on James Robertson Boulevard, the Ramada Inn at Spence Lane, and briefly at the Music City Sheraton.
In 2001, the Nashville ASHRAE Chapter joined with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee (ACEC), and the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) to create the $1,850,000 Tennessee Engineering Center. This addition to what was then called the Cumberland Science Museum, and is now called the Adventure Science Center, created a permanent home for all six contributing societies.
On the national level Nashville has been the host of many meetings and conferences. Nashville hosted the Chapters Regional Conference (CRC) in 1968, 1983, 2000, and 2004. The Nashville Chapter hosted the National Annual Meeting for the first time in 1987, and again in 2004.
Since the chartering of the Nashville Chapter, its members have loyally supported the chapter with their time and resources. Members have worked on research, resource promotion, technical committees, and leadership roles. The members have created a forum for discussion, where members could become acquainted with the work of colleagues, and where the sharing of information and fellowship has served the industry well.
NASHVILLE CHARTER MEMBERS - 1959
YEAR SERVED PAST PRESIDENTS AND CURRENT PRESIDENT
1959 - 1960 I.C. Thomason