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Julian Martin

Born in Brooklyn, N Y, in June of 1923, Julian Martin attended public schools, then a special coed music and arts high school named New Utrecht. He played classical violin for many years in the school system. He attended New York University College of Engineering and enlisted in ROTC, but those studies were interrupted by World War Two. His service ended with a shrapnel leg injury. Then Julian worked on former Vice President Henry Wallace's campaign to become U. S. President via the new Progressive Party. Soon after, Julian finished his training at the University of Alabama, earning a 1949 Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering emphasizing aeronautics.


His first job as a young engineer was at Boeing in Seattle WA, where he met and married Frances Patricia "Pat" Stevenson. Then he moved to Chance Vought in Dallas TX, followed by work as a civilian at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. His work with the army at White Sands was to develop a mechanical computing machine which, among other uses, would be able to navigate rockets with more precision. Julian earned an Army Certificate for his suggestions made to White Sands in October 1951.


While in the desert Southwest, Julian became intrigued with the air conditioning industry and made a career switch. He was a system designer, then erstwhile salesman for several air conditioning companies in the Southwest, including becoming the sales manager for the Los Angeles office of Trane. He had his own company in Las Vegas NV for three years, then in Stockton CA for two years.


In 1961 the family moved to Tucson where Julian worked for Ray Ash at Temp-Rite for a while, but saw a better way. He began his own contracting business nicknamed ACCA (Air Conditioning Company of Arizona Inc.) in July of 1962. By 1966 he built a custom industrial building near the Irvington Road TEP plant, and later the short street off Tennessee was named "Julian Avenue." From 1966 to 1971 Julian built ACCA's mechanical contracting business to include installing air conditioning and plumbing systems, at one time having 150 employees.

Julian was active in ASHRAE and later SMACNA. In October 1969 he completed a course on Architectural and Sound Control in Modern Buildings. One year he was on the team for negotiations with the sheet metal union. And to meet the shortage of qualified mechanics, Julian helped organize a sheet metal apprentice program, in which his oldest son, Stewart, participated. He also served as an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association. Julian's engineering training gave him unique skills when it came to submittals, getting new products to be "approved equal," and innovative solutions in HVAC, plumbing, dust collection and other mechanical systems.


He always loved playing tennis and was very good at it. In 1971, to simplify his life, Julian changed from being a contractor to manufacturing products for contractors. He started MMI (Metal Manufacturing, Inc.) with its primary products being spiral duct and related fittings made from a variety of different metals. Julian was the first in the Southwest to manufacture polyvinyl-coated steel, then identified markets in fume collection and underground duct.


As MMI became self-sustaining, Julian took up gliding as a serious hobby. He joined the Tucson Soaring Society, became interested in weather forecasting, and took graduate courses in atmospheric physics at the University of Arizona to become a better "meteorologist" for contests. He participated in several local and regional Soaring meets. Son David and wife Pat frequently went along as crew. Pat especially remembers those at Victorville CA and Colorado Springs CO. One year he tried for an altitude record in Tucson, did not quite make it, but the attempt was written up in the Arizona Daily Star.


Julian died on July 16, 1980 when his glider crashed at Ryan Field. The family held a memorial gathering at the Arizona Inn, and people from all the many interests of Julian's life, including engineers, architects, contractors and suppliers, all attended. Many wrote their favorite story or memory of Julian for the family, they have become a family heirloom for Pat and their four children. Son David Martin continued growing MMI as a business and making it more profitable, with help from Pat Martin, until the business was sold in 1998.


Above all, Julian was an independent thinker who believed in the value of strong local organizations. We think he would be pleased with what ASHRAE has accomplished over the years, then encouraging us all to work together toward a better future.

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