Jeff Forker, Feb.14,1943 - Jan. 22, 2004

Jeff Forker, former publisher of Contracting Business magazine, died at his home on January, 22 2004. A three-year battle with cancer shortened a vibrant life and a career dedicated to the service of the HVACR industry.

His extraordinary commitment to the industry began in 1971, when he first joined the staff of Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Magazine, the forerunner of Contracting Business. He worked his way through the production and editorial side of the publishing business while working on several magazines at Penton Media, Inc.

Eventually, he became publisher, and was later named vice president of the Mechanical Systems group, which included Contracting Business, HPAC Engineering, and Contractor magazines. Forker was always known in the halls of Penton as a visionary who could successfully transfer his dreams into realities.

Forker’s innovations while at the helm included:
  • Commercial and Residential Contractor of the Year Awards programs
  • Quality Home Comfort Awards Design/Build Awards
  • Design/Build Seminar
  • HVAC Comfortech Seminar & Product Showcase
  • Hall of Fame for contractors
  • Dialogue meetings between manufacturers and contractors
  • Assisted in the formation of the North American Technician Excellence.

Industry Awards & Recognition

  • ARI Special Recognition Award, 1999
  • ARI Meritorious Service Award, 2000
  • Hall of Fame, 2003
  • Lennox Special Recognition Award, 2003
  • ARI Special Achievement Award, 2003
  • ACCA Spirit of Independence Award, 2003

The Legacy

Jeff’s premise in operating Contracting Business magazine had always been, “If it’s the right thing to do for the readers, it’s the right thing to do for the magazine.” That philosophy will be continued in his honor.

The family has suggested that any contributions be made to the American Cancer Society, 10501 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106.


“The HVACR industry has lost a true friend in Jeff Forker whose extraordinary work lives on in the many innovative industry projects he pioneered and supported. His leadership in unifying support for the North American Technician Excellence program will provide lasting benefits to those working in the HVACR industry. ARI expresses condolences to the Forker family and Jeff’s many friends and co-workers for whom he will always be an inspiration.”

William G. Sutton, president, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI)

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