Kids growing up the 1960s and 1970s didn't have access to instant news like people do today. All we had was television and radio. Some say these technologies would change the world (they did) and others looked at them as babysitting tools so our parents could work and play without having to worry about what we were getting into (they were).
It was these two electronic marvels that eventually lead me down a career path in journalism. Particularly the television. You see the broadcasters of the day were newspaper guys like Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, and Jim McKay. They were, in my eyes, larger than life. They brought the world into our living rooms and not only told us what was happening, but explained the events to us so we'd understand why it was important.
One of those intrepid broadcast aces was a guy named Mike Wallace. He was the young kid on the block back in those days and already had quite a reputation as a tough interviewer. He became the part of one of the earliest news magazine programs in the field of broadcast journalism- a show known as 60 Minutes - in 1968, and remained with that show until his retirement four years ago.
He was one of those guys who helped me make the decision to study journalism in school. He had style, was provocative, and had a reputation that proceeded every interview, event, or show that he was taking part in. He set the standards that many broadcast journalists still follow today.
He died just a few days ago at the age of 93. He was the last of my journalistic heroes. Rest in peace, Mike Wallace.
Now the fact that I had journalistic heroes could be the subject of ridicule among my sports-minded friends, but my point is that a field like journalism in the 1960s wasn't something that people considered sexy or glamorous. It wasn't cool like being an athlete, an actor, or an astronaut. Of course that changed: these guys wound up having front row seats to some of the most tumultuous stories and events that shaped our lives and our society. They became household names.
In the HVAC Industry we have heroes too - perhaps not at the same level, but heroes nonetheless. I'm not sure how many kids grew up idolizing fellows like Willis Carrier, Doc Rusk, or Tom McCart, but these guys were thought leaders, bringers of change, and they helped shape the modern HVAC industry as it exists today.
It's something that we talk about from time to time, but not something young people talk about. In fact, many of the youngsters in this industry don't even know who these guys were. I suppose it's safe to say that the HVAC industry doesn't have much in terms of glam or sexiness, but it does have a coolness factor (pun intended).
As a journalist who reports on this industry, I see these guys as heroes. But who cares what I think? The real question is: who are your HVAC industry heroes and why? If we get enough response to this, we will put together an article based on your feedback.
Now wouldn't that be something?