ATLANTA – Thomas Watson, a former ASHRAE president and retired chief engineer at Daikin Applied, has been awarded the Institute of Refrigeration’s (IOR) J&E Hall Gold Medal Award for his ground-breaking work to improve the efficiency of chillers and industrial heat pumps. The J&E Hall Gold Medal Award recognizes the most noteworthy practical contributions in the field of refrigeration.

Watson’s work included the introduction of large capacity oil-free magnetic bearing compressors and the first centrifugal chiller with zero-ozone depleting potential. He also was the lead engineer in the development of  the Templifier® industrial heat pump.

"It was certainly surprising and overwhelming when I learned I would be receiving the award,” said Watson. “Everything you do requires dependence on those around you from your co-workers and your family to supervisors and the people that work for you. This honor is not just for me. To be singled out is of course a tremendous privilege, and sometimes I don't feel totally deserving because of all the things people have done before that I have built on."

“Thomas Watson has long been an icon within ASHRAE,” said ASHRAE President Tim Wentz. “Thomas’ extraordinary technical expertise was coupled with a ready smile and a sincere desire to see our industry improved. The prestigious J&E Hall Gold Medal Award is further testimony of Tom’s important contributions to the industry worldwide.”

Watson’s career spans nearly 45 years, and he has been involved with ASHRAE since 1972 serving in various capacities – most notably as president in 2012-13. Watson recently retired as the chief engineer at Daikin Applied where he has overseen new product development for centrifugal compressor technology and holds five patents related to refrigerant, gas, and chiller compressors.

He remains active in the industry as the chair of the Flammable Refrigerants Subcommittee of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute’s Research and Technology Committee.

Watson said his love of technology stems from being taken to a railway station to see the steam trains every Sunday by his father from the age of two. “Thermodynamics is my favorite subject,” he said. “It is a job made in heaven for me and it has always been that way.”

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Publication date: 4/4/2017

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