Right: Terry Gallagher, F.AIRAH, pictured in 2017 with AIRAH Board Director Paul Jackson, F.AIRAH. Gallagher received a certificate in recognition of his time on the WA division committee (March 2014–November 2017).
Terry Gallagher, F.AIRAH
Terry Gallagher, F.AIRAH, has played a hugely important role in AIRAH’s Western Australia division for many years.
Originally from Sydney, Gallagher says he’s spent enough time in Perth to comfortably lay claim to being Western Australian. Family circumstances brought him to the state in the mid-1960s. He would go on to study mechanical engineering at the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT; now Curtin University).
He married his wife, Judy, in the 70s, had children, and found employment.
After joining AIRAH in 1972, Gallagher went on to serve as WA President from 1993–1994, and was also on the committee from 2014–2017. He has continued to volunteer his time to help the Institute with its divisional events, including assisting with our Perth Industry Nights, golf days, and annual members’ lunches.
While serving as WA president, Gallagher oversaw the development of close ties with the Technology Centre at South Metropolitan TAFE’s Carlisle campus and the introduction of the Technician Affiliate membership grade.
Outside of AIRAH, he was active in training and organised and presented the TRANE training course – highly regarded and deemed to be essential training for refrigeration technicians and engineering students throughout the WA industry. In 1994, he also co-authored the original Refrigerant Guide.
What brought you to the HVAC&R industry?
After two years of full-time study, I saw a job posting on WAIT’s engineering department notice board. AJ Baker & Sons were looking for an air conditioning supervisor, and the main requirement was ownership of a car.
I had a car, so I applied and had the great fortune to meet and be employed by John Hoar, F.AIRAH. John is a gentleman, an exceptional engineer, and a very good friend to this day. Thank you, John.
After four years of part-time study and working in contracting, I met Norm Steketee. Norm had recently arrived from the USA and had started the Perth branch of Trane Australia. I’d go on to spend over 30 years working with Norm, who is also a gentleman with an impeccable work ethic. I am very thankful for the opportunity he gave me all those years ago.
There are certain individuals who can impact one’s personal and professional life for the better. For me, both John and Norm were in that category. And still are.
What’s your favourite HVAC&R-related memory?
I do not really have any particular favourite memory. What I can say is that I would not swap any aspect of my working life for anything else.
It has been, for the vast majority of the time, a lot of fun.
Sure, when the transport company calls to say that the chiller that is urgently required is on a truck that hit the only tree on the Nullarbor, well … that can be stressful.
When I think back to the 70s, I realise how vibrant the industry was then. This was the time before instant communication and business was done on a personal basis at all levels. One would actually leave the office and visit a consultant or contractor and also have to hand-deliver quotations because the mail was so slow.
That also reminds me that those of my generation witnessed the introduction of photocopiers, golf ball typewriters, fax machines, PCs, mobile phones, the internet, and more. And we all tried to learn how to type!
A fond memory is the many Trane air conditioning clinics that Norm and I ran every year. When we first started, the slides were in black and white on a continuous roll of film that had to be rotated by hand. Each slide would be followed by “Next!” That progressed to normal slides and then, of course, PowerPoint.
How long have you been a member of AIRAH?
John Hoar “encouraged” me to join AIRAH in 1972 and I am glad he did. He was also instrumental in my membership to Engineers Australia, however, to me the industry focus of AIRAH was far more pertinent than the broad scope of Engineers Australia.
My years with AIRAH have all been great, but it must be mentioned that there are many individuals who, over the years, have made AIRAH what it is today, particularly in WA.
As the industry grew, so did AIRAH. It is thanks to those who volunteered their personal time to organise and run events that AIRAH now enjoys its high standing in the industry.
What’s something everyone should know about you, your work, or the HVAC&R industry?
I joined Trane in 1973 as a sales engineer. The following year, Judy and I went to Trane’s American headquarters in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Trane ran a six-month training course in air conditioning theory, as well as product training. There were 36 of us is the course – half of whom were from overseas, but only two of us from Australia. That was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
The reason I mention it is that I had recently graduated from WAIT with a qualification in mechanical engineering. The WAIT engineering curriculum meant that my educational standard was as good as those from America and many other countries. I was very happy to pass that on to WAIT when we returned to Perth.
How do you see the HVAC&R industry developing over the next 100 years?
If the HVAC&R Industry develops at the same rate that it has over the past 100 years, one would only have to think that a project exists and – hey, presto! – there it would be.
If we compare it to the 100m dash, then would we have a human running the distance in say two seconds? Perhaps not. The laws of physics will probably not change in the next 100 years, so heating and cooling will still have to rely on those pesky thermodynamic principles. But how buildings and equipment are designed and built will change.
The quest for a better mousetrap will continue and, as we experience COVID-19 lockdowns, our experiences of working, shopping, and eating differently may influence building and transport requirements for the future.