The importance of ongoing HVACR education involves both the getting and the giving. So there is a need for those who want to learn, and for those who understand that learning didn’t end when they left the high school, college, or vocational school classroom and lab. And just as important, there is a need for those who can teach the latest in technology, which surely exceeds the lessons that were taught way back when.

Ray Clary of Richmond, Va., and Rich Hoke of South Elgin, Ill., are members of RSES. At the most recent RSES International Conference in Isle of Palms, S.C., they were honored with the society’s top honors. Clary was named Member of the Year and Hoke was selected Speaker of the Year through an award sponsored by the RSES Garden State Chapter, in memory of Walter Stopera.

According to RSES, the Member of the Year award is given in recognition of an individual member’s outstanding contribution to RSES and the HVACR industry in the areas of education, public relations, safety, and society growth. The Speaker of the Year award is granted to an individual who has consistently presented outstanding educational programs at all levels of RSES meetings and conferences.


In announcing Clary’s name, it was noted that he has a “won’t say no” attitude when it comes to accepting tasks from fellow members at local, state, regional, and national events — sometimes to the point of acting as a chauffeur.

But more than that, it was noted, he has served on a number of standing committees within the society over the years, the most recent being the Membership and Membership Benefits Committee, and the Journal Technical Review Committee at the time of the 2012 International Conference.

Clary is employed in the building automation controls division of Colonial Webb Contractors, a commercial, mechanical, and electrical contractor in the Mid-Atlantic region, specializing in construction, service, industrial refrigeration, and manufacturing. And, while the RSES Auxiliary is normally geared for spouses of those in the industry, he serves as a member because he saw needs within the group and signed on to help.

Clary said his multifaceted RSES involvement is offered as a form of repayment for the education he’s received and taken. In fact, he continues to attend numerous RSES courses, including those focusing on controls technology.

The ongoing learning comes despite the fact that Clary said he grew up in the industry as his father was a contractor and member of RSES. “I carried the toolbox with him and asked questions,” he said. “Now, within RSES there is a sense of community where I am able to ask questions, get information, and get help.”


It may come as a surprise that Hoke, the Speaker of the Year award winner, finds time to share his technical expertise.

He works full time as building maintenance superintendent for the city of Elgin, which has a population of more than 100,000 and is the eighth-largest city in Illinois. He’s also held elected offices within RSES for more than a decade, most recently serving as a regional director on the board of directors. And, as of November 2012, he served on the RSES Educational Foundation, Awards and Exhibits, and Bylaws/Policy and Procedures committees, as well as the Educational and Examining board.

His teaching, which has encompassed much of his 25-year tenure as an RSES member, has ranged the gamut from hour-long presentations at local, state, and regional meetings, to all-day seminars, to 16-weeklong classes.

“If it involves anything related to heating and air, I enjoy it,” he said.

Early on in the society, he was taking ongoing training. “I went through the process,” he said. “People helped me when I was starting out, and it was time to give back.”

Hoke and Clary continue to contribute to the HVACR industry, and both see the need for continuing training and teaching, serving as living examples that HVACR education extends well beyond college or vocational school basics; it’s a lifelong commitment.

Publication date: 4/29/2013

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