Spotlight on Dalton McIntyre
interviewed 2009.01.15

I had the pleasure of visiting Dalton McIntyre at his home recently with the intent of interviewing him for a History article. He revealed that he had previously taken part in a videotaped Leadership Recall Interview about ten years ago, and most of the following is an edit from the document he wrote himself to recite during that interview - Rod Potter.

Dalton Mcintyre was born in Ottawa in 1921, the eldest of eight boys. He attended elementary and high school, plus two years at St. Patrick's College in Ottawa before going to Queen's University where he took mechanical engineering. This was interrupted by two and a half years in the Canadian Navy during WW2. He graduated in 1947.

Soon after graduation he was fortunate to obtain employment at Canadian Sirocco Co. in Windsor Ontario for the princely sum of $208 per month. The company was owned by American Blower Corporation in Detroit where he received an intensive training course on all their air handling products. Dalton was particularly interested in the fluid drives that they also handled.

While working in sales out of Windsor, he met Bob Tamblin who was working for Cimco in Toronto. Bob impressed him by proving that a backward inclined return fan which was classed as non-overloading, could overload when the supply fan pulls more air through it than its rated capacity [who knew? – ed]. This problem occurred at an International Harvester plant in Chatham Ont.

Dalton was transferred to the Canadian Sirocco Montreal office in January 1949 where he joined ASHVE and the Order of Engineers of Quebec. He became active in both organizations and served on several committees. One of the first problems that he was asked to investigate was a complaint by a contractor that a fan was tripping out before it got up to speed. This was in the mechanical penthouse of the Canada Steamships office building. A large double width backward inclined fan with a split housing had been assembled on the job with the fan wheel “in backwards”. The contractor had his hands full rectifying that problem to say the least. Speaking of large fans, in those days Dalton had to design induced draft fans in the sales office to select the correct partial fan width and shaft and bearing sizes. He used slide rules and prepared fan curves by hand. Variable speed fluid drives were used frequently for capacity control of these fans.

Canadian Sirocco had an agent in Ottawa named Tom McGrail, and Dalton set up a part time office and spent some time here during these early years. Tom invited him to the formation meeting for an Ottawa ASHVE chapter at the Chateau Laurier, which took place in January 1949. Later Dalton attended as a guest from Montreal the charter meeting of the Ottawa Valley chapter in September 1952 at the Prescott Hotel.

In 1952, Dalton met and married his lovely wife Edith, who put up with his workaholic tendencies, and together they raised four sons and a daughter, all of whom are happily married and have provided them with (now fifteen) grandchildren. Edith came from a family of twelve children whose annual family unions in Gananoque are still well attended.

Also in 1952, Dalton was made manager of the Montreal office which included agents in Halifax, Saint John, and Quebec. John Green took over the Ottawa office operations.

John Green

In 1956-57, Dalton was chairman of the Program Committee of the Montreal chapter of what was then called ASHAE, and attended as a guest a CRC held at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. Jake Klassen was the secretary, but somehow Dalton was commandeered to take the minutes, and all Jake had to do was vet them. Later that spring, he received a phone call from Hayward Murray, chair of the nominating committee asking him to accept the nomination to be president of the Montreal chapter for 1957-1958 because all others currently on the executive were unable to accept it. Hayward said that if he declined, he would call the Sirocco head office in Windsor, knowing that both Dalton’s boss Dick Noyes, and the company president Clare Johnson, were past presidents of the Montreal chapter. Needless to say, he accepted.

One of his first duties as Montreal chapter president was to attend a cocktail party on board a Canada Steamship at the docks prior to it leaving to bring ASHAE members to Murray Bay, where the Montreal chapter was sponsoring the Summer Society meeting.

He bought a tux to wear at the banquet at Murray Bay, but was not aware that everyone wore white at the summer meetings. His wife Edith knew Aylmer Hamlet who was in charge of arrangements and placed her in the centre of the head table next to the Society president, while Dalton was placed at the end of the table in his black tux. He still has this tux and can still wear it today!

Because he had never attended a board meeting until becoming president of the chapter, everyone on the executive were very cooperative. The Montrealer newsletter was started, and they had their first Christmas Dance complete with a Santa Claus.

Two years later, when Hayward Murray was chapter president, ASHAE merged with ASRE to form ASHRAE. Hayward, who was Dalton's mentor, was a great supporter of this merger. Later, to permit Canadian businesses to claim tax credits for support of ASHRAE Research, he promoted ASHRAE Research Canada, and became its first president. There is now a Research Promotion Award named after him.

In the 1950's Dalton was a member of the Ventilation committees of the Pulp and Paper Association, the first National Building Code, and the Canadian Standards Association. Grant Wilson of NRC was coordinator of this section of the National Building Code at that time.

Grant Wilson

In 1960, Dalton joined Ernest Leblanc Ltee., a Ventilation and Air Conditioning contractor which had installations from St John's Newfoundland to Toronto during the eleven years he was with them. It was a very efficient contracting firm which had a peak production of 80 to 100 tons of sheet metal per week. All the spiral ducts in the Toronto city hall were fabricated on site on a machine designed by his then boss Roger DesTroisMaisons P. Eng., and built in a local machine shop in Montreal.

During this time, he still maintained his membership in ASHRAE, but devoted more time to the Montreal Construction Association, eventually becoming a vice president representing the sub trades.

Later he spent a year with Valta Refrigeration, a subsidiary of Ernest Leblanc Ltee., during which time he took a course from Milt Garland (Mr. Refrigeration) at the Frick plant in Waynesboro Penn. The ASHRAE "Ice Man" Award is named after him (awarded for best refrigeration chairperson).

Allan Hanley, after whom the TEGA Award is named, arranged for Dalton to work with Brais, Frigon and Haniey Consulting Engineers until he joined McQuaig Jarmac, another Refrigeration and Air conditioning contractor in Montreal. During this time, he was a member of the Quebec Bid Depository review committee even though he could not communicate very well in French. He was also on the Labour Relations and Tenders and Contracts committees of the Montreal Construction Association.

In 1975, Dalton moved to Ottawa, with BFH Shawinigan Consulting Engineers, and transferred to the Ottawa Valley chapter. The Board meetings were held in the Wellington Club on Frank Street at that time. He remembers, as chair of the program committee attending a board meeting there and suggesting that they have a chapter meeting with a French program [perish the thought – ed]. In Ottawa, unlike his Montreal experience, he served in all the executive positions. Over the years, he has served on the program, membership promotion, research promotion, education, nominating, and audit committees with the Ottawa Valley chapter.

Dalton and Clint Phillips

During his year as president in 1982-83, they had a thirty year celebration a little late, as it was actually held in 1983, and Clint Phillips, then Society president, attended. He returned later that year to attend Al Oakes’ funeral (more later). The Ottawa Valley chapter joined the Montreal chapter golf tournament at La Chute for several years, although Dalton wonders how some of the members were able to drive home afterwards. Then the chapter started having its own golf tournaments with very good turnouts every year. He notes that for some ASHRAE members it is the only event that they attend. The chapter curling events have also been well attended. Christmas dances were held at the Cedarhill Golf and Country Club, the Salon of the National Arts Centre, and the RA centre. The year that he was president, it was cancelled and has not been held since. He recalls the last one was not well attended, and it appeared that they could not please everyone with the type of music to be provided [I have often wondered why we have no Christmas party of some sort-ed].

When he transferred to the Ottawa Valley chapter in 1975, Charlie Hobbs was president, and the meetings were held at the Cathay House restaurant in the upstairs room with the “noisy air conditioner”. Often the attendance exceeded 100 and quarters were somewhat cramped. Some years later the meeting place was moved to the Philias Fog Restaurant across the street, where it stayed until the restaurant was closed. Meetings were then held at the Hellenic Banquet Centre on Prince of Wales Drive, followed by Capone’s, CLEO, and now the Travelodge of course.

Al Oakes was a personal friend of Dalton’s and they first met in Montreal when Al was a sales engineer with Trane. They belonged to The Austrian Board apres-ski group and spent a week at Gray Rocks each winter. The last event they had was a trip to Aspen which was arranged by A1 Oakes. They were the only attendees from Montreal, and the rest were all from Ottawa.

Al Oakes

Dalton’s most memorable CRC was probably the last one that A1 Oakes conducted in Halifax, when he had to lie down and rest between sessions. He did a fine job under trying circumstances. It was a spring CRC and that summer he was operated upon and never recovered. The chapter Al Oakes Award was started the following year, and they arranged for Al's widow, Pat Oakes, to make the presentation to another Ottawa Valley chapter great guy, George Carscallen.

Dalton’s most memorable ASHRAE event was when he received the Centennial Award at CRC `94 in Ottawa from the delegate from Quebec chapter. It was completely unexpected, and the message he got was that his bumbling presentations in French as DRC at the meetings in Montreal Quebec, and Saguenay Lac St. Jean were much appreciated.

Chapter committees have changed over the years of course, but the death of the refrigeration committee is probably the most significant in Dalton’s opinion. He can remember attending a special meeting of the ammonia refrigeration members in New Orleans shortly after the merger. They were very upset that ASHRAE was downplaying ammonia. Now ASHRAE is downplaying all refrigeration...

John Lunde

Dalton’s involvement at the regional level began when John Lunde asked if he would be willing to stand as backup for RVC of Education. Thinking that this would give him three years to work on the education committee, he said yes. At the CRC in Quebec, John informed him that those whose names were already on the list backed out, and asked if he would accept the nomination immediately. Since he did not like to say no to ASHRAE, he accepted.

Thus began his Regional and Society experience. At his first Society meeting which was in Washington in 1983, someone was trying to put forward a document for presentation to students that described how projects generally developed, with contractors first obtaining the project, and subsequently hiring the consulting engineers and architects. Dalton stated that this might be the way it was done in the States, but in Canada the engineers and architects are first employed by the owners, then they design the projects, and finally contractors bid on them. He was supported by Alex Boome, a consulting engineer from Vancouver, and the whole project was shelved. Dalton was surprised that something as erroneous as this could have been put forward and it revealed that there were many academics on the committee who did not understand the design process.

His next regional experience was on the Nominating Committee, which also included serving on the Society Nominating Committee. In Dalton’s opinion, this is an experience that should not be turned down. At the CRC as the member, you direct the voting for all the regional officers, most of whom you know; at the Society level, if you are the member, you are voting for the Society officers, and the candidates generally are much better qualified than you are. In all he spent 5 years on the Nominating Committee first as regional rep and then as appointed by the Board. As an alternate, you cannot vote, but you can participate in the discussions, some of which are quite frank. No one can divulge what is said at these meetings.

The most bizarre event Dalton remembers was how he received the nomination for DRC. Being on the Nominating Committee, he could not be nominated, however the delegates insisted that his name be included. He therefore withdrew from the Caucus, and Bob Morris (the alternate) conducted the vote. Afterwards, he found out that there were two other names submitted, and he withdrew his name. Subsequently, both of those nominated withdrew, and hence they did not have any nomination for DRC. Dalton advised then DRC Norm Johnson, who did not know that his name had even been considered, that he would allow his name to again be put forward. He contacted all the delegates and got their approval to put Dalton’s name forward for this nomination which was accepted. This was another great experience for Dalton, because as director you attend all the Board meetings and are called upon to vote on almost everything involving the Society. You meet all the other officers on formal and informal basis. As regional chair you meet all the executives of the chapters in your region each year.

The most disappointing event Dalton remembers was having to withdraw the charter of the Mississauga chapter because they could not get enough members to serve on the executive. Those who did serve did a fine job, but they suffered burnout and had to let it go.

Another disappointing event was trying to get the Saguenay Lac St. Jean chapter to continue its operation. They had committee chairs who were not ASHRAE members. Clint Phillips (then Society president) who presented them with their charter, almost did not do so, because they were not planning on following the proper procedures of operating a chapter.

When Dalton joined ASHVE in 1949, there was only one handbook which was described as the bible of the industry. Now there are four handbooks updated every four years, still considered the bible of the industry. Air conditioning was in its infancy in Canada. Consulting engineers were coming into their own causing some suppliers to back off from their design work in architect's offices [interesting concept – ed]. Transactions were in a single normal sized book form and every member received a copy each year. Now they comprise two very large volumes and are rather expensive even for members. However in this electronic age, this is bound to change. The handbooks are now available on CD's, and transactions are available on the Internet.

Although so many things have changed and become faster, the ASHRAE chapter meetings have not changed a great deal. The format is much the same and the chapter officers are much the same taking into consideration the difference between small and large chapters.

Dalton feels that George Carscallen has probably had the most influence on him at the chapter level. His support of ASHRAE over the years has been exceptional. When Dalton came to Ottawa, he was already a committed ASHRAE member, but George’s help was invaluable. Dalton feels that the most important thing about ASHRAE is the wonderful people you meet. This is true not only at the Chapter level, but also at the Regional and Society levels. It always amazed him to see how many dedicated members attend the Seminars, Symposiums and Forums, as well as the TC committees, at the Society meetings. The volunteer time that is devoted to these is beyond measure. In addition there are all the standing committees which keep the Society on track.

Being a member of ASHRAE is an absolute necessity for anyone involved in HVAC&R work if they want to succeed. Having joined, it is very important to become a member of a committee. It is an excellent way of meeting people and usually does not involve too much work. In establishing your priorities for your time, make ASHRAE the top one and you will not regret it. Also participate in the recreational activities, golf and curling.

The Ottawa Valley chapter has been somewhat negligent in one field, and that is having an event where the spouses can be invited. Inviting them to a Past President's night where the topic of the main presentation is not of particular interest to them does not seem to be the way to go. It is important that your spouse is aware of your ASHRAE activities, and that she/he knows that the sacrifices that she/he makes in this regard are appreciated.

Dalton is very grateful to the Society for all the awards bestowed on him, some only because he has been around so long. At a Montreal chapter meeting circa late 90’s, during a short talk, he noted that he personally knew 50 of their 61 past presidents and 33 of their 53 life members. At about that same time, in the Ottawa Valley chapter he personally knew 45 of our 49 past presidents, and all our life members. He recommends that we [who are not worthy - ed] stick around long enough to join the ever increasing number of Life-Members who do not pay dues!

Dalton tried to arrange to bring his wife Edith to the CRC's and the Annual and Semi-annual Society meetings. While he was at meetings almost every day, she would go on the tours, and tell him about them later. He used to go jogging every morning before breakfast, and managed to see some sections of the distant towns in this fashion. One morning in New Orleans, Gloria Cofer, who was at that time assistant to the Board of Directors, asked to join him because it was still quite dark. However when he headed back because he had an early meeting, she continued on. Dalton learned later the she usually runs in the Boston Marathon and other such events. Edith and Dalton visited many locations that they might otherwise never have visited because he belonged to ASHRAE, Denver and Hawaii typical examples.

Edith and Dalton in May 2008


This article was first published in the February 2009 issue of the Capital Communiqué.