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Celebrating Three Generations of ASHRAE Chapter Presidents 

Celebrating Three Generations of ASHRAE Chapter Presidents 

From Insights, July 2022  

It is not rare to find family members following in the footsteps of their predecessors' membership at ASHRAE. One example is the Miller family. They continue that legacy with what is now a third generation of ASHRAE chapter presidents.

Matthew Kremers, 2022–23 Rochester Chapter President, is following in his uncles’ and grandfather’s footsteps as he began his presidency in July 2022. The family shared their path to ASHRAE membership and, eventually, chapter presidency, with ASHRAE Journal.

“For me it was likely a little bit different for Chris and Steve [Uncles] because geographically I am in a different city,” said Kremers. “I also have a different last name too so that makes a big difference. People do not really know my involvement in the family business until they get to know me, but I would say for Chris and Steve it was a scripted path.” 

The Miller Family. From left, Matt Kremers, Member ASHRAE; Eric Miller; Hal Miller, Life Member ASHRAE; Steve Miller, Associate Member ASHRAE; Chris Miller, P.E., Member ASHRAE

The Start of the Miller Family Legacy 

Harold “Hal” Miller, Life Member ASHRAE, learned about ASHRAE from an associate and was interested in learning about “the organization that tuned into our businessair conditioning.” He joined the organization in 1968 and served as the Central New York Chapter President from 197778. 

“It was a good way to learn about everybody that is in this business. So, when I started my own in 1968, the first thing I did was join ASHRAE,” said Hal. “We used ASHRAE as a way of getting the story out and meeting the guys. It’s just a good way for us to get to know each other, and I am happy to still be involved.” 

As Hal grew older, he passed the family business on to his sons, Chris and Steve Miller, while also motivating them to join ASHRAE.  

“I pushed them to come in. You know your people, you trust your people and you hope they see you as a guide,” said Hal. 

Chris Miller, P.E., Member ASHRAE, graduated in 1990 from Bucknell University with a degree in mechanical engineering and joined ASHRAE shortly after. Chris went on to be the 1999-2000 Central New York ASHRAE Chapter President.  

Steve Miller, Associate Member ASHRAE , graduated from Niagra University in 1983 with a business degree. He later went on to be the 200102 Central New York ASHRAE Chapter President. For Steve, his involvement in ASHRAE helped him understand the business of HVAC&R.  

“I was encouraged to join ASHRAE right when I started, especially since I am not a technical person, I am not an engineer,” said Steve. “It helped me understand the business a lot more and meet a lot of architects and engineers who made things happen. I would learn about products and new things coming while at meetings. So, it was good for me because a lot of the times I am just in the office, and I do not get to see a lot of the stuff.” 

Steve also went on to have a son, Eric Miller, who works on the business side of the family business.  

Now, over 40 year later, the Miller family has reached their third generation of ASHRAE Chapter President with Matthew Kremers, Member ASHRAE. Kremers initially wanted to receive a Mechanical Engineering degree concentrated in automotive engineering, but later decided to concentrate in Energy & the Environment to get involved in the family business.  

A 2010 graduate of Rochester Insititute of Technology, Kremers got involved in ASHRAE right out of college and through the inspiration of his grandfather, Hal.  

“ASHRAE had a very strong presence in our industry,” said Kremers. “ASHRAE was a great opportunity for learning because our business is small relative to the industry we are in. It was great to see other owners of the industry that our business is involved in and grow beyond what our company is.” 

A copy of program notes from the Central New York Chapter where Hal Miller was the speaker.

Times Have Changed 

The Miller family has seen a great deal of change in the HVAC&R Industry over the last 40+ years. Chris says that technology has changed the whole way business is done since it started.  

“Everything’s faster, changes at a much more rapid pace. Everything happens at a much more rapid pace,” said Chris. Though the family agreesASHRAE’s staple on training has remained consistent.  

“[Training in the field] does get lost a lot in the increasingly transactional nature of our business as opposed to engineering nature,” said Chris. “ASHRAE stays pretty focused on the training and basic preparation principles that is a great assistance for us as a sales organization, engineers and contactors.” 

At almost 90 years old, Hal Miller expressed his gratitude for his involvement in ASHRAE and the family business. Matt Kremers is looking forward to beginning his presidency with the Rochester Chapter of ASHRAE where he will use his skills from running the Young Engineers group at ASHRAE.