“Where’s Tom?” I’m can’t even remember everyone who uttered that question while I was at last week’s ARI Spring Meeting. Let’s just say many concerned attendees pointed the query in my direction.

Of course they were referring to Tom Mahoney, long-time writer, marketer, and editor at Business News Publishing (BNP), predominantly on The News — until now.

Yes, Tom Mahoney will no longer be attending ARI meetings, or any other hvacr-related event, for that matter, on behalf of The News. If he places his serves correctly, from here on out his goal in life is to defeat his wife, Carol, in tennis. (That’s not an easy task. Have you ever seen Carol Mahoney operate on the court?)

Tom will have plenty of time to practice on and improve his backhand, since he officially retired from BNP on March 31. I cannot speak for Tom, but it seems like just yesterday that he was filing another report on the CFC issue, or making everyone laugh at another News gathering.

If you don’t know Tom, you missed a witty personality with a highly literate sense of humor. I know the staff here at The News will miss his presence.

Always there

From a strictly selfish point of view, I will miss Tom (a.k.a., “The Man You Can Go To”). And that could be for a story assignment, asking him to edit a freelance article, to attend an important hvacr meeting in Boston on Tuesday (and asking him on Monday), or forwarding yet another call from a reader seeking to locate some obscure fact or figure, or “some story” they read inThe News,but have no idea what year.

Regarding the latter, Tom would gladly oblige, picking up the receiver. These types of calls are important, but can definitely interfere with the day-to-day production of the industry’s only weekly publication. Yet, Tom knew it was important to answer the calls, e-mails, and faxes from readers.

That’s why he’s been the “go to” guy in these situations. And I know he is well respected by the hvacr public. Many asked for his assistance right from the start. Many even bypassed BNP’s operator and dialed Tom’s direct number.

If you ever needed numbers regarding any industry matter or piece of equipment, Tom was The Man. Ask Tom, for instance, if he knows how many contractors are unionized; chances are those figures will roll off his tongue with inimitable ease.

And if, for some reason, the needed information is not milling around in his cranium, you can bet he’d get his hands on the required information sooner rather than later. As he always told me, “Don’t worry, my man. Mahoney’s on the case.”

You could count on Mahoney to come through with the big story, statistical updates, or just “clean copy.” Of course, we’ve got this covered within the rest of our excellent staff, but these are mighty big shoes to fill.

Handing down an industry legacy

Tom has sources all over the hvacr map. This doesn’t come naturally, even if you have been in the hvacr arena for so many years, as has Tom. He earned every stat and every source because he worked at his craft, making sure he always knew what he was talking or writing about. In my eye’s he’s a journalist’s journalist.

Regarding The News quarterly Statistical Panorama reports, staff writer and New Products Editor Greg Mazurkiewicz has assumed this duty. Before Tom left last Friday, he passed on his resources to Greg — where Greg finds room to store them is another question.

Watching Tom vacate the halls of BNP for the final time last Friday was touching and sad. We’re glad that he and Carol will have time to enjoy their family, including the latest grandchildren. Maybe we’ll even get together for a “friendly” game of tennis or bridge.

Thanks for everything, Tom. We all wish you a safe, healthy, happy retirement. And just remember: We’ve got your phone number on speed dial.