The following is an interview with Lyle Willis, San Diego Chapter President 1988-1989.
Having known Lyle Willis
for many years, it was a pleasure to meet with him in his
office at PWNA,7175 Construction Court San Diego for an interview.Lyle has a degree in architecture as well as being a professional engineer.He is also an ASHRAE Fellow and recently received the San Diego Chapter Distinguished Service Award for his numerous contributions to the profession.
Rather than insert a list of his
many projects, memberships and professional achievements here, they are included as an attachment at the end of the interview.Lyle was born and grew up in the East Bay area of San Francisco.He
hung around the river a lot, hence his
love of fishing.He
has an older brother and a younger sister.His
early schooling was in the East Bay area and then college in Berkeley, University of California
,1961-1965,majoring in Environmental Design.From 1979 to 1980 he studied Computer Sciences at UCLA and Computer Engineering Sciences and Fire Protection Systems at UCSD.He then went on to receive a Bachelor of Architecture Degree at Cal State Polytechnic University (1984-1988).His
early interest in engineering started with a natural skill and liking for drafting.His
dad was planning a room addition to their house and Lyle
, although only in the seventh grade, prepared all the necessary drawings, which readily passed through the City Plan Check.With that success, he
was hooked.Since his
dad was in contracting, Lyle
worked in heavy construction when not in school.He became a journeyman steel worker, which gave him insight into how things are done in the field and an awareness of job safety and the importance of checking your work carefully.
In 1965, Lyle
moved to San Diego, and if you had been in a coffee house (which were popular at that time), you may have heard a folk singer with guitar called "San Francisco Slim".That was Lyle
entertaining the patrons and earning enough to pay his
became friends with another guitar player, Joe Paoluccio, a consulting mechanical engineer and architect.This led to a life-long friendship and professional partnership.Although he
did not join ASHRAE
says the handbooks were standards for the design work.In 1973, Lyle joined the San Diego Chapter and rapidly became involved in the Committee activities.He moved up to be Chapter President in 1988-1989 and his service on Society Committees include: College of Fellows, 1997-2003;Audit and Awards, 1988-2001; National Science Award Committee, 1982;Solar Energy Committee, 1981-1982; Registration Council Committee,1987 and 1988.
Several of Lyle's significant projects listed in the addenda include a fuel cell systems design, a class 10 clean room facility, as well as laboratory facilities, central plants and base-wide steam and gas distribution systems.He
remarked that many of his
design details appeared in manufacturers' standard manuals..One of his
design projects was a Standards Testing Laboratory for Saudi Arabia
noted that this project had an unlimited construction budget. (Not too many of those around!)
A few people who influenced Lyle's life include first, his
father who gave him an appreciation for honesty and a diligent work ethic.Next, was his fifth grade teacher who encouraged his design for a new space-age jet boat project.
It had special induction scoops and was powered by a CO 2 cartridge.His
teacher had taken the time on a weekend to help Lyle
boat on the river.
remarked that two things that impacted ASHRAE
were the energy crisis and Legionnaires Disease.Both occurrences looked to ASHRAE
for solutions.This put ASHRAE
in the forefront and led to other venues, such as air quality standards and equipment efficiency ratings.The future will include more solar energy as photo voltaic cells become more competitive.Lyle
also noted that ASHRAE
has stood out as an independent source of information and technical data.A major activity is the funding of research grants to a variety of laboratory facilities in universities and certified facilities.This data is published in handbooks, journals and other publications and is the subject of discussions at Chapter and Society Meetings.He
feels that there are many opportunities in the HVAC field for young engineers, but cautioned that they should always understand the "why" of a design approach to a new project while considering the basic fundamentals.
Lyle's passion is fly-fishing for steelhead in Northern California.They are exciting to catch.He
is also interested in photography and now spends as much time as he
can trying to keep up with his
grandson, Kelvin, who his
pushing 15 months.His
wife, Anna, is very supportive of Lyle's activities and they are both proud of their daughter, who has a PhD in Dramatic Arts &Literature.