The longtime director of the Association of Air Conditioning Professionals — formerly the ACCA’s National Capital Chapter — has retired.

Patricia Lupson announced at a recent board meeting she would step down Aug. 31.

Lupson became executive director of the group while her husband, Warren Lupson, was president of what was then an Air Conditioning Contractors of America chapter. The chapter’s previous director had died in the 1980 Las Vegas MGM Grand hotel fire.

It was a new experience, Lupson recalled.

“I came from a ‘skip-tracer’ background. It was my job to track people down that had skipped out on paying their loan obligations,” she said. “Running an association was totally foreign to me. I remember going to ACCA-national’s office in D.C. and sitting with Jim Norris, ACCA’s executive director when I started, and asking him, ‘What do I do now?’ It’s been a great privilege working with our members. I’ve seen so many of them become second- and third-generation companies and have enjoyed watching as the ‘children’ take over the reins.

Mike Wheat, the AACP’s current president, said the organization has expanded substantially through Lupson’s work.

“This association has grown from 36 company members in 1980 to 197 during Lupson’s tenure. We appreciate her dedication to this association and the friendship she has given to all the members,” Wheat said. “During her time as our executive director Lupson worked closely to develop the association’s Maryland approved and nationally recognized apprenticeship program. She’s mothered’ hundreds through the four year program and applauded their success at their formal graduations at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland. She is well respected nationally by her peers within other local HVACR associations. We wish her much happiness in this new chapter of her life.”

Lupson said she is ready.

“I have been aligning myself to retire for the past few years,” she said. “What with ACCA’s decision to disaffiliate their local chapters across the country and ACCA-NCC needing to do a rebranding, I felt it was a perfect time to step aside. As I say, a new name, a new logo and a new face. It all works together.”