The Early History of the Shreveport Chapter of ASHRAE:
The history of the Shreveport chapter of ASHRAE began far before the actual events that happened in the late 1940’s when the chapter was charted. Without the presence and influence of such companies as Richardson’s Plumbing, FitzGerald Contractors, and Berg Incorporated, as well as the many product sales companies, and mechanical consultants, there would have been no need for ASHRAE to ever be brought to Shreveport.
If the latter part of the last century in Shreveport was one that witnessed the passing of the steamboats with their great roaring boilers and steam engines and the early part of this century was one that brought growth from the oil industry, then the period after WWII was one that saw tremendous growth in the way people expected to live and do business. WWII was a time of great change and many young men were sent away from their homes to places that they had only read about in books before. When they came back home, much of the industry created to make war machines needed to be converted to peacetime production. Many returning veterans needed to be included into the work force and the government had educational programs that allowed men to go to college in record numbers. Construction was booming, new ways of constructing buildings evolving quickly, and air conditioning and mechanical contracting was just becoming prevalent.
In the fall of 1947 the American Society of Heating and Ventilation Engineers (located in New York City were contacted by Mr. B. Segall about the interest of 20 or so engineers in Shreveport who thought that they would like to form a chapter in their city. On August 30, 1947 Mr. Reg. Taylor, a consulting engineer from Houston, Texas wrote to Bill FitzGerald (of FitzGerald Plumbing and Heating Company) stating that he was the chapter relations chairman for ASHVE and that on September 3rd he was coming to Shreveport to see a local architect, Mr. Sam Wiener. Mr. Taylor said in the letter that if Bill would gather a group of engineers together, then he would be glad to tell them about the organization and what was required to form a chapter.
After the meeting Mr. Taylor wrote an enthusiastic letter to ASHVE headquarters and stated that he had met with about 20 men and felt they would make a good chapter. (It should be noted that Mr. D. Daniels was mentioned as one of four members presently a member of ASHVE living in Shreveport and that he attended the meeting also.)
During the following months, Shreveport recruited the required number of prospective members, sent in the correct paperwork and fees and in the Spring of 1948 was awarded a charter from ASHVE. They elected the following officers: William E. FitzGerald President E. J. Kearby Vice President B. Segall Treasurer O. J. Dykes, Jr. Secretary
Much has changed since then, but much has remained the same. Most all of the names found on the chapter’s first meeting list are still familiar to present members.