The HVACR industry lost a good one Feb. 10 with the passing of WaterFurnace president and CEO Tom Huntington due to cancer. Huntington passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family at the Kansas City Hospice House.
“Tom Huntington was a true credit to our industry and to the human race,” said AHRI president and CEO Steve Yurek. “He was just 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 experience for the good of the industry. He will be sorely missed, and our industry is diminished by his loss.”
Under his leadership at WaterFurnace, the company grew its core business to represent a wider portfolio of clean, sustainable solutions. WaterFurnace was rewarded with market share gains in both the residential and commercial space, as well as a number of awards for the innovation of its new products. During Huntington’s tenure, the company also continued to grow its footprint around the world through strategic acquisitions and a joint venture.
Tom cared as much about sustainable growth for the company as he did about the personal growth of its employees. That included promoting a culture of continuous training/education, wellness initiatives, and employee participation in community programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Huntington served in many different roles throughout his HVACR career: 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 International/Johnson Controls. He proudly served as chairman of 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 the planning board for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).
Huntington was born in Syracuse, New York, to Marie and Joseph W. Huntington Jr. He received a bachelor of science in engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master of science in engineering from Syracuse University.
He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed time hunting, fishing, golfing, and woodworking as well as home improvement projects. Tom was an active member of the Sylvia United Methodist Church of Sylvia, Kansas.
Huntington is survived by his wife, Susan Kuhl Huntington; daughter, Lindy (Mark) Landzaat, 2 sons: Daniel (Shauna) and Adam (Nikki) Huntington, and 6 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.
“Tom will be deeply missed by the HARDI community,” said HARDI CEO Talbot Gee. “Being a wholesaler early in his career most certainly helped influence a fantastic career in manufacturing that included forging strong, prosperous relationships with distributors everywhere he led. When I was new to the industry he made me feel welcome and stressed how important HARDI and my role within it was to the industry and I’ll never forget that. The industry lost one of its true greats and distribution in general lost a powerful advocate.”