AABC Hall of Fame

AABC Hall of Fame2023-06-09T08:30:53-05:00

Hall of Fame Purpose

Associations succeed by having a shared mission, but there is always a smaller number of members who go above and beyond, giving back through volunteer service year after year. AABC has had many such individuals spread across its remarkable 55+ year history.

Established in 2021 and intended as the highest honor that the association can bestow, the AABC Hall of Fame is reserved for AABC members, past or present, who over the course of their careers have provided extraordinary service and contributions to the association, or more generally to the field of testing and balancing. They should also fully embody AABC’s founding principles of quality, integrity, and independence.

Explore this section of the website, updated annually, to learn more about Inductees and Nominees—from original founders to still-active members and others in between.

Joe Baumgartner

Baumgartner, Inc.
AABC Board Member, 1998-2012
AABC President, 2008-2010
TAB Journal Technical Editor, 1991-Present

Joe Baumgartner became a certified test and balance engineer in 1990. Within a year, he had volunteered to serve as one of the technical reviewers for TAB Journal, a brand-new quarterly technical magazine that AABC launched in the summer of 1991.

In the early years, the peer review of the articles was done by a committee (including Joe) but by the early 2000s Joe was the primary and soon the only technical peer reviewer. Issue after issue, year after year, Joe has received batches of potential articles written by AABC members and others in the industry, thoroughly vetting them for conformance to AABC standards, industry best practices, relevance and clarity.

Most issues of TAB Journal have roughly 5,000 words of technical content, spread across anywhere from 5 to 10 articles. But not all articles are ultimately deemed worthy of publication, so Joe reviews more than that for many issues.

A conservative estimate would be that over 30 years and more than 120 issues of TAB Journal, Joe has reviewed and helped edit more than 1,000 technical papers across every conceivable topic related to testing & balancing. The value to AABC of that volunteer service—ensuring the technical accuracy and relevance of one of its primary educational and marketing publications for nearly half of the association’s existence—is simply immeasurable.

While that alone would merit nomination, Joe also served on the AABC Board of Directors for 14 years, including as President from 2008-2010. In that role he took on a variety of additional assignments, and served always as a quiet but insistent voice of professionalism, clear thinking and integrity.

Gaylon Richardson

Engineered Air Balance Co., Inc.
AABC Standards Committee Chairman, 6th & 7th Edition
AABC Board Member, 2014-Present

The most important thing that AABC’s founders did, with the possible exception of the concept of independence, was establishing standards for how testing, adjusting and balancing should be properly and professionally accomplished. In its modern era, AABC has had no greater champion for advancing TAB standards than Gaylon Richardson.

His most obvious contribution was serving as the chairman and driving force behind both the 6th and 7th edition of AABC’s National Standards for Total System Balance, the most highly regarded standard in the industry. Each publication was the culmination of years of work representing extensive revisions necessitated by evolving measurement practices and significant shifts in the kinds of equipment and systems encountered in the field. Simultaneously, he worked tirelessly on ASHRAE technical committees to advance the interests of AABC and the test and balance industry—work that earned him both ASHRAE’s Distinguished Service Award and recognition as a Fellow.

But Gaylon’s contributions to AABC go well beyond standards. He has long been a one-man rolodex when ideas for technical presentations run short—and if he couldn’t find one, he’d often do it himself. Technical questions directed to AABC inevitably end up in his inbox. Despite his many other responsibilities he joined the AABC Board in 2014. The state-of-the-art, AABC-endorsed training center at his company office in Houston was based on his original vision, and he created much of the training content. Recently, the ongoing technician exam revision had stalled somewhat until he rolled up his sleeves and spent many hours attacking the problem from a completely different angle.

A tough and uncompromising Texan when it comes to business and principles, with a genial side and a belly laugh that defies you not to join in, Gaylon has long been a force to be reckoned with and an immense asset to AABC.

George Ebert

Fluid Dynamics, Inc.
TBE Exam Developer, Grader & Custodian, 1983-2018

Chairman, TBE Exam Revision Committee, 2017-Present

There are few things more important to AABC than the quality and fairness of its primary certification exam, for the Test and Balance Engineer (TBE)–the industry’s premier credential for TAB professionals.

Stewardship of the exam had changed hands several times by the mid-1980s, when George Ebert became involved as part of a committee charged with rewriting the test. George eventually took on the task himself, developing and maintaining the challenging, highly technical, critically important examination. He also devised a consistent and fair scoring system, including rules for awarding partial credit, to apply to the pencil and paper exam with many complex, multi-step calculation questions.

George also scored each and every exam by hand, by himself, in his free time. Regardless of the number of exams, or a high priority rush job that would decide whether or not a new company could join AABC or an existing company could remain a member, he always made the time despite his own business and family commitments.

Over his more than 30 years managing the TBE exam, AABC certified more than 400 TBEs. Add in those who didn’t pass and conservatively, George graded more than 600 exams. And, a teacher at heart, for those who did not pass, he always made himself available—insisting that staff communicate this to failed candidates—to discuss which concepts or areas of test and balance they had struggled with. When AABC decided in 2017 that it was finally time to create an electronic TBE exam with automatic scoring, George naturally agreed to chair the committee and helped ensure that the exam remained as comprehensive, as challenging, and as fair as it always had been. George’s technical acumen, ever-present smile and truly tireless dedication represent a legacy to be proud of.

Hall of Fame Selection Process

Each year, the AABC Board of Directors will select one or more candidates from AABC’s history to honor with induction (“historical inductees”). They also nominate “modern” candidates who they believe are worthy of induction, which are then voted on by the AABC membership.

Induction takes place at the AABC Annual Meeting in the fall.

Information about both historical inductees and current modern nominees can be found using the tabs above. Please note that building the Hall of Fame is an ongoing endeavor: the current honorees are by no means the only people (from AABC’s past and present) who are worthy of this honor. Others will be selected in the coming years to make this a yearly event celebrating service to the Associated Air Balance Council—the original testing, adjusting and balancing organization that is still thriving and influencing the HVAC industry more than 55 years after its founding.

2023 Historical Inductee

Theodore “Ted” Cohen, PE, TBE Air Conditioning Test & Balance Co.

Ted Cohen

After earning his engineering degree from Cooper Union in New York City with the help of the GI Bill after the end of World War II, Ted Cohen worked for a sheet metal company for 18 years before founding his testing and balancing firm in 1968.
He soon became an active member, with highlights including working on the 4th edition of the AABC National Standards (published in 1982), and serving on AABC’s Board of Directors, including as President from 1990-1992.
Most visibly to us today, TAB Journal—something Cohen believed in strongly—was conceived and launched during his presidency in 1991.
A member from the association’s earliest years until he retired in 2013, Ted left a lasting mark on AABC with both his technical acumen and his profess.

2022 Historical Inductees

After the induction of three of the principal founders of AABC — Arnold Pearl, Walt Lipski and Taylor Kahoe — in 2021, the Board chose two to add additional seminal figures from AABC’s early years to induct this year:

George Young, of Test and Balance Corporation

George Coultas, of Kahoe Air Balance Company

George Young

George Young was a mechanical engineering graduate of Auburn University whose first career was in fan engineering and design with Boston-based B.F. Sturtevant Co. This was followed by starting his first company, Belcher-Young, where he designed and manufactured Gulf-Coast-friendly cooling towers. After selling that business and consulting for local engineers to investigate and troubleshoot projects, he opened Test and Balance Corporation, and was well established as a TAB firm by the time he helped found AABC in 1965.
Based on his experience and technical acumen, he was tasked with developing AABC's first test and balance engineer examination, for which he also performed the grading for many years. While AABC was also making a name for itself and testing and balancing more generally by creating the best standards and procedures in the industry, the importance of successfully developing a reliable, challenging, recognized TAB credential, the TBE, cannot be overstated.
Young's other most noteworthy accomplishment was development of the industry's first cooling tower testing procedures. The test procedure, which was so associated with him that it was commonly referred to as "the George Young Test," was adopted by ASHRAE shortly after he published it. Young's knowledge, achievements, and legacy are also evident through the active, lifelong involvement and contributions of his three sons to AABC.

George Coultas

George Coutlas was not one for the spotlight. While other founders of AABC were more visible - serving as presidents or on the Board, ever-present at meetings and this becoming recognizable faces - Coultas, a professional engineer, was most at home in the test lab when he wasn't in the field. And thank goodness for AABC that he was.
The perfect complement to Taylor Kahoe, his more outgoing business partner with whom he formed the company in 1963, Coultas's dedication helped advance both AABC and the still-young TAB industry. In addition to serving as the chair of the technical committee that did a complete review of the 1973 AABC National Standards, he co-wrote many industry articles with Kahoe, in many cases forgoing a byline.
He co-designed and built Kahoe Labs, a calibration facility for velometers, amprobes, and pyrometers - all still mechanical in that predigital era. The lab included a wind tunnel that was traceable to the National Bureau of Standards (the organization now known as NIST).
Coultas was also known as a gifted teacher and mentor for balancing professionals, remembered as a stickler for proper technique and accuracy. An avid fly fisherman, Coultas (unsurprisingly) insisted on meticulously tying all of his own flies.

2021 Historical Inductees

After several discussions, the Board determined that the most fitting initial inductees to the Hall of Fame would be three of the principal founders of AABC: Arnold Pearl, Walt Lipski, and Taylor Kahoe.
Around 1961 Pearl, Lipski, and Kahoe began brainstorming how to market independent testing and balancing. Their hard work culminated in the first meeting of the Associated Air Balance Council in 1965. Their companies National Air Balance Company, Inc. (Pearl), Kahoe Air Balance Company (Kahoe) and Engineered Air Balance Co., Inc. (Lipski) became charter members with five other companies.
More about the three honorees can be found below.

Arnold Pearl

Arnold Pearl was AABC’s first President as well as its National Chairman. He was widely considered the driving force behind the formation and launch of AABC. In addition to having a personality and vision that inspired and motivated people, Pearl personally developed the original test and balance procedures, the first National Standards, membership requirements, union negotiations, technician training and examinations, and national promotions.
Pearl’s vision for a professional association of independent test and balance agencies became a reality through his tireless devotion, innovative marketing techniques, and his ability to organize and motivate individuals for the common good of the association.

Walter Lipski

Walter Lipski had already been in the industry for years following service as a Navy pilot when in 1955 he moved to Dallas, Texas and saw a major opportunity to start a company that would test and balance heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. He founded Engineered Air Balance Co., Inc. in 1956, the same year he established his vision:
“Engineered Air Balance was established to fill a major need of architects, consulting engineers, building owners and contractors – the need for a qualified organization to be responsible for the fulfillment of specified design and obtaining optimum performance and economical operation from the air conditioning equipment installed in commercial, institutional and industrial installations.”
Working closely with the other founders, Walt served as an AABC Director, and assisted in writing the first three editions of the AABC Standards. In 1971 he started a Task Group to cover Testing and Balancing in ASHRAE, evolving in 1973 into Technical Committee 9.7, which Walt chaired for eight years.

Taylor Kahoe

Taylor Kahoe's key contribution to AABC was developing a series of technical papers on testing and balancing, many of which formed the basis of the AABC National Standards. Taylor also developed the Kahoe Field Manual, which was used to disseminate information throughout the nation on testing and balancing. The Manual is still widely used today as a reference guide for field balancing technicians.
Kahoe also served as AABC President for 6 years, longer than anyone else, during a crucial period of AABC's development. In addition to his technical acumen and many contributions to the test and balance industry, he was also highly regarded for his generosity and fun-loving lifestyle.

2024 Modern Nominees

The AABC Board of Directors will announce the next modern nominees in summer 2024
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