IIAR Remembers Members for Their Service and Contributions

IIAR’s success hinges on the involvement of its members, and the association would like to pay tribute to several members who have passed away. These members generously shared their time and expertise with IIAR and the industry, and they will be missed.

Saul Beck

Saul Beck passed away on December 11th at the age of 106. Beck’s obituary said his greatest passion was his job. He started working for a large publishing company Harcourt Brace Jovanovich on a publication called Quick Frozen Foods. He loved attending industry conventions and writing opinion pieces for the magazine. He became a distinguished member of the Frozen Food Industry, becoming a member of the Zerocrats, and eventually inducted into the “Frozen Food Hall of Fame.” When Beck turned 75, he acquired Quick Frozen Foods and founded Frozen Food Digest. He worked as a publisher his entire life, publishing his final issue in 2021.

Thomas John Heisler

Thomas John Heisler passed away suddenly on January 15th. Heisler graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1982, with a degree in chemistry. He enjoyed a long and prosperous career at Evapco Inc., in Medford, Minnesota.

Pega Hrnjak

Pega Hrnjak received a Ph.D. from the University of Belgrade in Yugoslavia, where he was also on the faculty, rising to the rank of Associate Professor. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1993, becoming a Stoecker Faculty Fellow and Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was also co-director and then director of the University’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center (ACRC). He founded Creative Thermal Solutions (CTS), a research and consulting firm, in 2003. It grew to a state-of-the-art, 100,000 sq. ft. research facility. Throughout his career, Hrnjak was engaged in essential research on natural refrigerant projects, from lowcharge ammonia to ejectors for transcritical CO2 to some of the early CO2 mobile air conditioning systems. Hrnjak received several recognitions, including the Ritter von Rittinger Award, the IIR Gustav Lorentzen Medal, the J&E Hall Medal, and the ASHRAE Holladay Distinguished Fellow Award. He contributed to several industry groups and has written hundreds of papers and articles.

Donald Niederer

Donald Harold Niederer passed away on June 4th at the age of 91. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He served in the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant. His career path took him back to Chicago to his father’s small compressor company. He worked there while attending the Chicago-Kent School of Law and earned his J.D. in 1957. Over the next 27 years, he grew his father’s company to national prominence as a manufacturer of industrial refrigeration systems under the name Krack Corp. Following the sale of Krack, Niederer acquired a struggling insulated panel plant, renaming it Metl-Span Corp. He guided its development as a turn-key supplier of refrigerated warehousing and food processing plants until he retired in 1996. Niederer was named a Distinguished Graduate of the School of Engineering. He was a founding member of the Midwest Industrial Management Association and IIAR.