Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr, well-known for his Caleffi North America seminars and regular columns in PHC News, was presented with the 2020-2022 Carlson-Holohan Industry Award of Excellence last February at a Radiant Professionals Alliance event held in conjunction with the AHR Expo in Orlando.
“It’s as good as it gets,” Rohr told us after winning the award. “It represents everything I’ve learned from a lot of people. So, I really think this is an award I share with everyone in the radiant industry.”
Every two years, an individual from the United States or Canada is selected for demonstrating a passion for hydronic technologies manifested through education, marketing and philanthropy.
Rohr is the eighth heating professional to receive the distinguished award. Prior to the night’s announcement, past winners Robert Bean, Mark Eatherton, John Gushalak, Dan Holohan, Ingrid Mattsson, John Siegenthaler and David Yates were on hand to recognize Rohr.
Rohr received the award, in part, for sharing his three decades of experience as a plumbing, wet heat and renewable energy contractor. However, Rohr’s been an advocate for radiant long before underfloor heat became cool.
“I was actually helping my dad install it when I was growing up,” he added. “Back in the 1960s, we were using steel pipe. It wasn’t in vogue back in those days, but the people who did do it did it because it just made sense.”
Obviously, the introduction of plastic tubing helped popularize radiant heat, and Rohr installed plenty of heating and snowmelt applications when he ran a plumbing and heating business in Park City, Utah. Later, Rohr even marketed a line of radiant components named after his son, Max, that were launched in time for the first RPA convention held at the Thunderbird Casino in Minnesota.
While most buildings in this country predominating rely on forced air, Rohr remains committed to promoting radiant and hydronic heating.
“We still have a part to play,” Rohr said. “I think we can get our mojo back with air-to-water heat pumps, for example. You still have water involved with these, and we can do panel radiators and domestic hot water. We have a seat at the table.”
The Carlson-Holohan Award
Since 2006, the Radiant Professionals Alliance has handed out the Carlson-Holohan Award for Excellence.
Criteria for nomination includes the following:
Gil Carlson, a mechanical engineer and legendary hydronics industry instructor, served for many years as director of technical services for Bell & Gossett. Carlson spent his entire career at B&G and by the time he retired, he had taught an estimated 175,000 students. Carlson died in 1994, however, educator and author Dan Holohan kept Carlson’s memory alive in his many articles, books and classroom teachings.
The award used to be an actual System Syzer, a round slide rule Carlson developed, which was used over the years by hundreds of thousands of engineers. (The System Syzer lives on as a digital download available from B&G.)
Due to its delicate condition, however, the wheel is now enshrined behind glass at The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York. The society, located in mid-town Manhattan, was founded in 1785 to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen.
Recipients currently travel with a framed copy of the wheel and are obliged to share the story of Carlson’s invention.
Rohr joins this esteemed crowd: