Tom Huntington, president and chief executive officer of WaterFurnace Renewable Energy Inc.

It’s not often that you start a job as head of an energy efficiency-focused manufacturer and one week later get a visit from the United States Energy Secretary promoting incentives for the installation of just the kind of technology your company makes.

But it has been that kind of year for Tom Huntington, who on May 26 became president and chief executive officer for WaterFurnace Renewable Energy Inc., and then on June 2 hosted U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the company’s Fort Wayne, Ind., headquarters. During the visit, the nation’s energy czar toured the facility, participated in a roundtable discussion of energy issues, and announced a federal program to encourage the installation of geothermal heating and cooling systems like the ones made by WaterFurnace.

“Secretary Chu’s visit was very inspirational,” Huntington said. “It was another example of the high-level interest in geothermal and the attention it is receiving.”

But it is not as if Huntington serendipitously found himself involved in all the hoopla. He had a long track record of energy efficiency efforts before coming to WaterFurnace.

“The board of directors was delighted to have been able to attract Tom Huntington,” said Tim Shields, chairman of the board for WaterFuranace. “His breadth of experience in our industry will prove invaluable.”

“I found wonderful people and companies to work with throughout my career, and WaterFurnace is the apex,” said Huntington.

Huntington has a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a MS in Engineering Administration from Syracuse University. He began his career with GE, completing the manufacturing management program. Then he spent nine years with Carrier and another five with Carrier Distribution

From 1992 to 1995 he helped grow Evcon/Coleman Industries from $35 million to $150 million in sales at which time the company was acquired by York International. He continued as general manager of Evcon until 1997. He then served as senior vice president of engineering and vice president of global sales and marketing at Bristol Compressors. He then became president of York Unitary Products Group from 2000 to 2006, continuing to run that group after Johnson Controls acquired York International in 2005.

Within the industry he also is past chairman of the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and is currently on the planning board of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the board of North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and the board of the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium.

Huntington said he took the WaterFurnace job because the company has that “entrepreneurial spirit that gets you out of the bed in the morning. It has a wonderful culture of integrity, teamwork, and innovation. I feel like I’m in exactly the right place at the right time.”

In commenting on the “right time,” he said, “The next dominant force in the HVAC industry is geothermal. Geothermal heat pump technology - readily available from WaterFurnace and our competitors - lightens the load on the power grid, which then lowers the threshold for viable wind and solar technologies.

“In addition, geothermal has a long track record, established manufacturing base and distribution channel, as well as a growing contingent of qualified installing contractors.”

Energy Secretary Steven Chu was center of attention during his visit to WaterFurnace headquarters in Fort Wayne, Ind., just one week after Newsmaker Tom Huntington became president and chief executive officer of the company.

Sidebar: 2009 Newsmakers

NAME:Tom Huntington


COMPANY:WaterFurnace Renewable Energy Inc.

LOCATION:Fort Wayne, Ind.

NOTABLE QUOTE:“The next dominant force in the HVAC industry is geothermal. Geothermal heat pump technology lightens the load on the power grid, which then lowers the threshold for viable wind and solar technologies.”

Publication date:12/21/2009