ARLINGTON, Va. - Jeff Forker, longtime HVACR industry champion and publisher ofContracting Businessmagazine, died Jan. 22, 2004, after a long battle with cancer.

The son of a sheet metal contractor as well as an employee in the company, Mr. Forker was also an accomplished artist by the time he joined the staff of Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Business magazine. He worked his way up through the production, editorial, and sales departments of that and other publications owned by Penton Media.

He was eventually named publisher of Contracting Business magazine, and later vice president of Penton's Mechanical Systems group.

Mr. Forker was selected by ACCA to receive the 2004 Spirit of Independence Award, presented occasionally to a person who has made significant contributions to the HVACR industry. Mr. Forker was presented the award at a dinner given in his honor last December.

According to Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA president and CEO, Mr. Forker considered the HVAC contracting industry "as a community to which he was proud to belong."

Stalknecht announced that the association's annual Training Excellence Award, which is presented to a contractor with an extraordinary dedication to training and education, will be renamed the Jeff Forker Award for Excellence in Training.

"Jeff's passion for industry education and certification helped HVACR contractors grow and improve, and he was a driving force behind the establishment of NATE certification," Stalknecht said.

Mr. Forker was greatly respected by the staff at The News for his dedication to the HVAC industry as well as for his creativity and pragmatism in magazine publishing. He will be missed.

Publication date: 02/02/2004