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Thomas E. Watson

A headshot of Mr. Thomas E. Watson.




  • BS, mechanical engineering, Virginia Tech, 1966
  • MS, mechanical engineering, WVU, 1969

Thomas Watson earned a BSME degree from Virginia Tech in 1966 and a MSME degree from WVU in 1969. He then served in the U.S. Army as an Ordnance Officer until 1972, when he joined McQuay International at the Staunton, Virginia facility. Mr. Watson has worked his way up the ranks in McQuay, providing technical and management leadership in the design and manufacture of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, including several generations of controls. Staring at McQuay in 1972, Mr. Watson worked as a Product Engineer, responsible for both reciprocating and centrifugal chillers. His responsibilities included work on pressure vessel codes, electrical controls and refrigerant controls. In 1974 he was promoted to Senior Design Engineer, performing R&D on centrifugal compressors, including rotor dynamics, lubrication, bearing design and compressor aerodynamics. During this time, he also worked on solid state controls and microprocessor controls for centrifugal chillers. In 1980 Mr. Watson was promoted to Manager of Product Engineering, and in 1984 he became Engineering Manager, responsible for all engineering and laboratory functions in the Staunton facility. 

Since 1997 Mr. Watson has served as Chief Engineer, primarily involved in Global New Product Development, supporting facilities in China, Japan, Italy and North American Mr. Watson holds five patents related to refrigerant, gas and chiller compressors. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mr. Watson also has a long and distinguished record of service to the primary professional society in his field, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). A member since 1972, Watson now serves as President of ASHRAE , a building technology society founded in 1894 with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and sustainability within the industry. En route to the presidency, Mr. Watson has served on and chaired more than a dozen technical committees, has served on the Board of Directors, and was elected to the rank of Fellow in the society in 2008.