10 Top HVAC Heating Professors

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When it comes to being comfortable, the whole world relies on heating systems to get the job done. Whether it’s forced air, solar heating systems, or gas-powered models, heat is the key to making life possible for many people around the world. And advancements in renewable energy and sustainable design have necessitated that HVAC students learn innovative ways to heat that will lower a company’s (or country’s) carbon footprint.

There are a number of professors who have spent their careers actively teaching traditional heating models in addition to creating and researching new ways to generate heat. These 10 professors represent the best when it comes to teaching excellence, inventiveness, and dedication to sustainability in the heating arena of the HVAC industry.

Douglas Zentz

Douglas Zentz

Ferris State University

Dr. Zentz is a professor and the Program Coordinator for the HVACR Engineering Technology and Management program at Ferris State. He is very active in the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) as a Distinguished Lecturer. In addition to being on the board of the West Michigan ASHRAE, he is also the Student Activities Chair for his region. His mentorship has been a direct influence on the success of his students, helping them earn First Place in the annual ASHRAE Student Design Competition (2004, 2007).

Mike Feutz

Mike Feutz

Ferris State University

Dr. Feutz is known for his exceptional and innovative teaching skills. He has been asked to speak about his HVACR program's online and career partnerships at conferences for the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) and the United Association (UA). His students won the 2003 HVAC System Design Award from the ASHRAE for developing a thermal energy storing unit using ammonia and geothermal looping to reduce off-peak utility rates in Singapore. In addition, he won the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Educator of the Year (2008).

Srinivas Garimella

Srinivas Garimella

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech

Dr. Garimella is a Distinguished Chair of Heat Transfer, Combustion, and Energy Systems at Georgia Tech. He also teaches courses in sustainable technology and phase changes in heat exchangers. His research in the areas of heat absorption, compression heat pumps, and automotive climate control elements have earned him national recognition. In 2013, he was awarded a $2.3 million grant from the US Department of Defense to develop an absorption heat pump for use in military applications. 

Luke Leung

Luke Leung

ITT Technical Institute

Dr. Leung is arguably one of the most influential professors when it comes to sustainable energy in heating systems. As an active member of ASHRAE, he is both a Distinguished Lecturer and the recipient of eight Excellence in Engineering Awards. His work with sustainable energy plans has also earned him two Beyond Green Awards from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and three Sustainable Design Awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). His expertise is in heating systems of tall buildings. 

William P. Bahnfleth

William P. Bahnfleth

Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Bahnfleth is the Director of the Indoor Environment Center and a professor at Penn State. His research, which focuses on indoor environmental control topics like chilled water pumping systems, thermal energy storage, and germicidal irradiation systems, has resulted in over 150 technical papers and 13 books. He has been very active in the ASHRAE as a Director-at-Large, Distinguished Lecturer, and President (2013). His students benefit from his mentorship and expertise, earning them the HVAC System Selection Award (2003). He currently teaches Fundamentals of HVAC, Advanced HVAC, and Centralized Heating Systems.

David B. Meredith

David B. Meredith

Pennsylvania State University - Fayette Campus

Professor Meredith is well-known for his hands-on teaching style and gregarious mentorship of his HVAC and Engineering students. His work with students has been honored at both the state and national level, earning him the Penn State Engineering Society Outstanding Teaching Award (1992) and two Student Advisor Awards (1993 and 2001), plus the ASHRAE E.K. Campbell Award for Excellence in Teaching (2008). Before teaching, Meredith helped design the first operational solar cell heating system for McDonald's restaurant and helped develop the solar water heating system at the White House under Jimmy Carter's presidency. He currently teaches Thermodynamics, First Year Engineering Design, and an Energy and Environment course.

Eckhard A. Groll

Eckhard A. Groll

Purdue University

Dr. Groll is the Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue in addition to being the Director of the Office of Professional Practice. His research in the area of combustion, energy utilization, and thermodynamics as related to HVAC studies has put him on the national stage. He is currently a Distinguished Lecturer with the ASHRAE and previously won the E.K. Campbell Award for his teaching in the subjects of thermodynamics and heating systems. 

Charles Culp

Charles Culp

Texas A&M

Dr. Culp's background in Electrical Engineering, Architecture, and Physics gives him a uniqely holistic perspective from which he teaches his heating systems courses. As the Associate Director of the Energy Systems Laboratory (ESL) at Texas A&M, he has implemented and written diagnostic software for a "Continuous Commissioning" process, an energy efficiency program at the ESL that has helped tosave over $100 million in energy costs since its inception in 1995. In 2015, he earned the E.K. Campbell Teaching Award from the ASHRAE for his high-interest courses in heating systems and energy efficiency.

Judith Steciak

Judith Steciak

University of Idaho

Dr. Steciak is a Professor Emeritus at Idaho, although she continues to teach Heat Conduction, Thermal Radiation Processes, and Combustion and Air Pollution courses. She has been recognized for her dedication to her students, earning both the Young Faculty Award from UI in 2000 and the celebrated E.K. Campbell Award for Excellence in Teaching from the ASHRAE. Her research focuses on alternative fuel and combustion methods for transportation, specifically with ethanol and water-fueled modes of combustion. 

William A. Ryan

William A. Ryan

University of Illinois-Chicago

Dr. Ryan's experience as a researcher for the Gas Research Institute has given him unparalleled knowledge about developing and harnessing the heating power of natural gas. He is currently the Director and Creator of the Master of Energy Engineering Program at UIC, in addition to developing the texts and course outlines for the High Efficiency Buildings and Renewable and Emerging Power Generation courses. In 2011, he earned the ASHRAE E.K. Campbell Excellence in Teaching Award and was the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) Chair for the Executive Committee for the International Absorption Heat Pump Conference

Methodology

Each of the members on this list have been chosen through careful research based on the following criteria:

  1. Active Teaching. All of these professors are actively teaching or mentoring students at an accredited college.
  2. Publication. Many of these professors have been published in online or print professional journals.
  3. Thought Leadership. Professors on this list have been chosen due to their leadership in the HVAC heating systems community, based on speaking engagements or research contribution.
  4. Extracurricular Involvement. Each of these individuals are involved in both teaching and outside professional engagements, such as HVAC heating education, advocacy and activism groups.

Barry Franklin

Before co-founding Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, Barry Franklin was a VP at a Silicon Valley software company. He is an investor and advisor for DataSimply and Impellia. Barry believes that education and lifelong learning are paramount. Barry met his wife at Carnegie Mellon University and they have two beautiful daughters. He also volunteers for various committees at his kids’ high school.