Obituary: Industry Mourns the Loss of Tom Huntington
The HVACR industry lost a good one Feb. 10 with the passing of WaterFurnace Intl. Inc. president and CEO Tom Huntington. Following a battle with cancer, Huntington passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at the Kansas City Hospice House.
“Huntington was a true credit to our industry and to the human race,” said Stephen Yurek, president and CEO, Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). “He was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. He had industry knowledge and depth that few possess, and he was always willing to share his knowledge and experiences for the good of the industry. He will be sorely missed, and our industry is diminished by his loss.”
Under his leadership, WaterFurnace grew its core business to represent a wider portfolio of clean, sustainable solutions. The manufacturer was rewarded with market share gains in both the residential and commercial space, as well as a number of innovation awards for their new equipment. During Huntington’s tenure, the company also continued to grow its footprint around the world through strategic acquisitions and joint ventures.
Huntington cared as much about sustainable growth for the company as he did the personal growth of its employees, evidenced through continuous training/education, wellness initiatives, and employee participation in community programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Inc.
Throughout his HVACR career, Huntington served in many different roles, working as a division marketing general manager at Carrier Corp., director of sales and marketing at KeepRite, vice president of corporate marketing at Climatic Corp., vice president and general manager of Evcon Industries Inc., vice president of global marketing and sales at Bristol Compressors, and president of unitary products group of York Intl./Johnson Controls Inc. He proudly served as chairman of the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) and Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Additionally, he served on the board of directors for North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and AHRI’s planning board.
Huntington was born in Syracuse, New York, to Marie and Joseph W. Huntington Jr. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in engineering from Syracuse University.
He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed spending time hunting, fishing, golfing, and woodworking as well as conducting home improvement projects. He was an active member of the Sylvia United Methodist Church of Sylvia, Kansas.
“Tom was a tremendous leader who genuinely understood that every sector of the industry has to work together for any of us to accomplish great things,” said Paul Stalknecht, president and CEO, ACCA. “When I became president of ACCA, Tom stepped up to help me form better relationships between contractors, manufacturers, and distributors. It’s because of his willingness to come together and understand the views from all sides that the industry functions the way it does today. His passing creates a void for so many in our industry because he touched so many people on both personal and professional levels. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Huntington is survived by his wife, Susan Kuhl Huntington; daughter, Lindy (Mark) Landzaat; two sons, Daniel (Shauna) and Adam (Nikki) Huntington; six grandchildren; sister Joette (Ted) Moss; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations can be directed to the “Sylvia United Methodist Church” 321 South Main St. Sylvia, KS 67581 or “University of Kansas Hospital” and mailed to Fund Development, 2330 Shawnee Mission Pkwy, Westwood KS, 66205.
Publication date: 2/29/2016