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Updated on: 1/8/2018


SoCal Chapter 80th Birthday

Harold Kushner- Lifetime Achievement Award November 3rd, 2009

My parent's families immigrated to the United States to escape the persecution of the Jews by the Czarist Regime in Russia. They met and married here in the United States.

I was born at the Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn New York on May 15, 1931. While still a child my family moved from Coney Island to Flushing, New York, in Queens.

As a child I attended Public School P.S. 20 from kindergarten through the 8th grade, graduating in June of 1945.

In September 1945, I entered "Flushing High School" graduating in June of 1949. The following September I entered the "City College of New York" at the "Uptown" campus in Harlem (the downtown campus housed the Business School) as a freshman in the Liberal Arts & Science College as a chemistry major. I dropped out of school in the middle of my junior year, having decided chemistry as not the career I wanted.

In 1952 I was married and shortly after drafted into the Army near the end of the Korean War. I was discharged during basic training due to a herniated spinal disc.

During this marriage I had four children, Jonathan and Kim born in New York and Jeffrey and Kao born in California.

I was divorced in 1966 and remarried in 1968, my second marriage ended upon the death of my wife in 1988 of ovarian cancer.

In 1998 I was married to and still married to my beloved Dona Maria.

I obtained my Engineering Education at the City College of New York (CCNY). My first employment was with the New York City Office of the "Carrier Corporation" in 1951 as a Mechanical Draftsman.

Preparing assembly drawings for motor, engine and turbine driven gas compressors.

In 1954 I was hired by the "Raisler Corporation", a New York based mechanical contracting firm where I worked as an Assistant Project Engineer on several high rise office buildings within the city.

In 1956 I was hired as an Engineer by the "Air Conditioning Company of Glendale" (ACCO) where I prepared Design/Build HVAC Plans for many different categorizes of buildings in Southern California and Nevada.

In 1960 I went to work for "Hellman & Lober" a mechanical engineering firm as an "Associate" Mechanical Engineer.

In 1965 I obtained my P.E. Registration in California and left "Hellman & Lober" to start my own practice. In 1967 together with Edward Saltzberg we formed the Firm of "Kushner & Saltzberg." Our partnership was dissolved in 1970 when I accepted the position of V.P. of Engineering for the "Elsters" Division of the Hyatt Hotel Corporation where I was in "responsible charge" of the mechanical designs for several Hyatt Hotels and various chain restaurants throughout the United States and Canada. During this period I obtained P.E. Registrations in 34 states.

In 1974 The Hyatt Corporation divested itself of "Elster's."

In late 1974 I again started my own firm which was active until my (semi) retirement in 2003.

Since then I have been associated with South Coast Engineering Group and have been providing M.E. Services to "20th Century Fox" on as "as needed" basis.

"When talking about his career, my father had said that he originally wanted to get into aerospace engineering. He said he was "lucky" that Carrier in New York offered him a job in the up and coming field of HVAC because there were not many opportunities in aerospace engineering. He reiterated that sentiment every time the aerospace industry hit hard times. He had several offers to relocate within New York, but accepted a lucrative offer to relocate to California.

Within a couple of years he was able to buy his first home in Canoga Park and comfortably supported his growing family.

Harold always said that he would never stop working and he continues to stay active in the field to this day. In addition to the pleasure he gets from working, Harold is devoted to his wife, his children and step-children, and his dogs. At age 60 he bought himself his first Harley Davidson motorcycle and continues to this day to ride it on a daily basis." Kim Kushner Nishita, Harold's daughter

From left: Richard Holzer (President of Glumac ), Sally Ehrmann, Russ Swenson, Victor Lee, Ali Sherafat and Herb Lin.

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Fifty years ago in the summer of 1956, the then Chapter president, Hank Ulovec, brought up the question, "Why doesn't Southern California Chapter have a publication or journal?" No one within hearing distance seemed to have any answer. Hank had recently returned from Portland, Oregon, the site of the First Regional Meeting of Region X where representatives of all Region X chapters got together and discussed mutual problems. Results of this meeting were conveyed to the Society's Board with request for resolution of operational problems being encountered at the Chapter level.

Experiences of chapters with Technical Meetings, Product Shows, Student Assistance Programs and Publications or Newsletters were presented at seminars during this Region X meeting. Hank's question was, no doubt, a result of one of these seminars, where several chapters showed off their newsletters.

Hank was determined that Southern California Chapter would have a publication and formed a committee to study the situation. With Hank as chairman, the committee consisted of John R. Hall, Tom Marshall and Elbert Kelly. They met at Hank's house on a Saturday afternoon in July. Items discussed included format, what the content should be, how it should be financed, Society regulations, periods of issue, and what it should be called.

It was decided that it should be a formal format with a masthead and pictures where possible, that it should be an announcement of chapter meetings, have news of members and firms, carry timely technical articles when available, report past meetings, report actions of the Board of Directors, the actions of Chapter Committees and financial status of the chapter should be reported at least once a year.

Much time was spent at the meeting in discussing names. The Oregon chapter had "The Oregon Diffuser", the Puget Sound chapter had "The Fog Dispenser", Houston chapter had "The Recorder". It was finally decided that as solar energy was quite popular at the time and that the movement of air was a backbone of our industry, that SOLAIR would be the name. The masthead would include a sun with rays and a blowing face to represent the wind and would be written with an asterisk in the middle to represent the sun and the blowing man, thus SOL*AIR.

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The SOL*AIR has had many, many Editors and staff members including assigned Associate Editors, Co-Editors, Assistant Editors, Staff Writers, Circulation Managers and Photographers. Tom Marshall was chosen as the first Editor. He went right to work and issued No. 1, Volume 1 in September 1956. Thus SOL*AIR was born and will celebrate itís 50th Birthday with this years June issue.

The front page has had many formats including terse meeting announcements to banner headlines with notables' pictures and headline stories when appropriate. Other pages have varied throughout the years. They have included technical articles, stories of functions, a melange of pictures taken at meetings or golf outings, "prexy" says, editorials by the editors, letters from members to the editors, notices of people seeking work or firms seeking people, business cards of people giving donations to help defray the costs of publication of SOL*AIR, and others items.

Computers have, no doubt, eased the labor of putting together an issue for publication. Originally each page was "dummied up" by hand with estimated copy space, picture arrangements, etc. prior to delivering it to the publishing company. Then the editors would have to stand by for a couple of days to answer or work out the problems with the typists and printers. It has been said that putting out the paper is a "labor of love." All those who have worked on the 50 Volumes will surely verify this.