In recognition of his significant leadership and contributions to the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry, today Carrier Corporation presented William S. Bodinus, P.E., ASHRAE Fellow and Life Member, with the Willis Carrier Lifetime Achievement Award.
Skip Mungo, president of Carrier distributor Temperature Equipment Corporation (TEC), of Chicago, IL, U.S., made the presentation during an event hosted for Carrier customers attending the 2003 International Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration (AHR) Expo, in Chicago.
William S. Bodinus was born in Chicago on Feb. 24, 1909. In 1926, after graduating architectural courses at Lane Technical High School, he began his career as a mechanical draftsman for the Chicago architectural firm of Thielbar and Fugard.
In 1929, he became a junior engineer at the Brunswick-Kroeschell Co.’s Chicago plant, which manufactured carbon dioxide compressors, condensers, cooling coils, as well as sold and serviced refrigeration and air conditioning systems. At the time, carbon dioxide systems were widely used for comfort cooling before Freon-12 systems became popular in 1935.
At Brunswick-Kroeschell, Mr. Bodinus called on engineering firms and architects who had mechanical departments, and provided them with data and information on carbon dioxide systems applications.
In 1930 Brunswick-Kroeschell merged with the Carrier Engineering Co. (formed in 1915) and York Heating and Ventilating Co. to form the Carrier Corporation. Working in Carrier’s Chicago office, Mr. Bodinus found himself surrounded by “top flight” air conditioning application engineers. However, these engineers did not have extensive refrigeration experience. They looked to the 21 year-old Mr. Bodinus for assistance with applying carbon dioxide systems to air-conditioning.
In the mid-1930s, Mr. Bodinus introduced the growing, post-Prohibition brewing industry to the centrifugal refrigeration machine. In fact, he lectured on the subject at the Siebel Institute, a brewery-training center, and sold Carrier refrigeration equipment to both Schlitz and Pabst Brewing in Milwaukee.
Over the next 45 years, Mr. Bodinus would become a Carrier sales legend who would directly influence the use of air conditioning and refrigeration in the candy manufacturing, cold storage and packing house industries. In 1943-44, he secured $4 million worth of contracts with the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Yards and Docks to supply refrigeration units for walk-in coolers, used to store perishables and medical supplies primarily in the Pacific Theater. He would eventually rise to become Carrier Corporation’s Western Zone Manager, responsible for all Carrier direct sales from Pennsylvania to Hawaii.
In 1974, Mr. Bodinus retired from Carrier and, with Stanley B. Bellis, purchased the old Carrier plant in Skokie, IL, U.S., to produce specialty sheet metal. Together they renamed the business the E.H. Gustafson Co., after longtime plant Superintendent Einar H. Gustafson. In 1999, Lindab, a global manufacturer of spiral duct systems, purchased E.H. Gustafson and incorporated it into its Spiral-Helix, Inc. business. Approaching his 94th birthday, Mr. Bodinus still regularly comes into his office there.
Bodinus and HVAC Education
Bill Bodinus has always felt very strongly about continuing education throughout his career.
After high school, he continued his own engineering studies by attending evening classes for nine years at Lewis Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology), receiving his Bachelor of Science in 1935. For many years after that, his evening In honor of Bill Bodinus’s commitment to furthering the HVAC profession, TEC named their training center – where thousands of TEC and Carrier employees and customers have studied HVAC systems – the "William S. Bodinus Refrigeration Lab."
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