Meet the pioneers

The Mobile Air Conditioning Industry Pioneer Award was originally established by the International Mobile Air Conditioning Association (IMACA) in 1988. In 2003, MACS Worldwide assumed the role of continuing the tradition of recognizing individuals from all parts of the mobile A/C industry who have made significant career contributions to the mobile A/C and heat transfer industry.

On Thursday, February 5, 2015 the Mobile Air Conditioning Industry Pioneer Award was presented to the following three individuals at the MACS Worldwide/ Mahle Keynote Luncheon during the MACS 35th Annual Training Event and Trade Show at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center.

Jim Graham began his engineering career in 1966 at the age of 17 working as a student technician at the University of Dayton Research Institute in the composite and materials laboratory. In 1969, he became a full time technician with responsibilities that included the fabrication and testing of advanced glass and graphite composite materials for a U.S. Air Force design guide.

In 1976, Jim transferred to the Vibration Damping Group located at Wright Patterson Air Force base in Fairborn, Ohio. His duties included the testing and application of viscoelastic damping materials to reduce engine and inlet guide vane fatigue related failures on jet engines.

In 1978, Jim joined the Delco Moraine Division of General Motors at their brake plant in Dayton, Ohio. His responsibilities included vibration testing of front disc brakes and other brake system components. He worked there for almost two years before being laid off during the oil crisis.

In 1980, Jim was assigned to the Delco Air Conditioning Division Noise and Vibration Group. Here he worked on compressor and vehicle noise related issues, and started updating the division’s vibration test procedures. When the Delco Air Division was merged with the Harrison Radiator Division in 1984, Jim relocated to Lockport, New York. Here he continued his work on vehicle noise issues and started the development of road related vibration and synergetic testing for component validations.

Jim received his Bachelor of Science in Technology from the State University of New York in 1988. He was promoted to product engineer and transferred to the International Systems Engineering Group. He was assigned to be the liaison engineer for GM Mexico and GM Venezuela with additional responsibilities for the development and testing of air conditioning and engine cooling systems for various GM vehicle divisions including Opel, GM Mexico, GM Venezuela, GM Brazil and GM Holden. It was during this assignment that Jim began his annual test trips to the GM Proving Grounds in Mesa, AZ, his cold weather test trip to Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada and his A/C and engine cooling tests in the Australian outback.

Jim was transferred to the Delphi Thermal Rio Bravo 20 plant in Juarez, Mexico in 1999 where he served as business development and engineering liaison. In 2000, he transferred to the Delphi Mexico Technical Center in Juarez where he established the Thermal Aftermarket Group with OE service and independent aftermarket responsibilities. Jim transferred in 2001, to the newly formed Delphi Product and Service Solutions Division (DPSS) and continued with the responsibilities of the service and aftermarket group while serving on the center’s leadership council.

Jim’s latest assignment was Global Compressor Lead Engineer for the Aftermarket. He was responsible for aligning the division’s regional compressor engineering activities and creating standardized methods and procedures for developing and validating the organization’s compressor product line and suppliers.

During Jim’s 36 year career with General Motors and Delphi, he traveled to thirteen countries on five continents. Jim retired from Delphi in September 2014. Jim and his wife Ann have been married 40 years; they have one daughter, Jenny, and they reside in El Paso, TX.

Danny was originally from Indiana, but has lived in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for the last 30 years after he found out that it doesn’t snow in Florida. Danny opened Fort Walton Radiator Service in 1977 and has grown it into Fort Walton Radiator Auto Air and Repair with five employees.

Fort Walton Radiator Auto Air & Repair provides a full range of HVAC and radiator services for most cars, trucks, RV’s, and busses and even marine heat exchangers. A part of the business also retails and wholesales air conditioning and cooling parts. Over the years, Fort Walton Radiator and Auto Air and Repair gained a regional reputation for providing expert care for those more difficult thermal jobs.

A member of MACS since 1981, Danny has always felt that trade associations are very important to the mobile air conditioning and engine cooling systems industry, and has always been an active participant whenever possible. Danny has served on the NARSA Southeast regional board of directors for 10 years, and has served multiple terms on the MACS board of directors since first being elected in 2000.

Through his voluntary participation with both MACS and NARSA, Danny has gained a real appreciation for how much trade associations have improved the quality of life for members.
He has also learned that when you serve on a board, “You leave your ego and company loyalty at the door and work for the common good and learn all about showing and gaining respect and the art of compromise.”

Klaus Zenk emigrated with his parents as a World War II refugee from Germany in 1956.

He grew up in Massachusetts, graduated from high school at 17 and attended New England Aeronautical Institute in New Hampshire the same year. He enlisted in the
U. S.  Air Force in 1972 and also attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

In 1976 after serving in the Air Force, he obtained two degrees from Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas. During this same period, he was pursuing a career as a military aircraft parts broker. In 1986, one of his best mil-spec customers, Santech, hired him to head up their military aerospace program. Having a strong technical background from the manufacture, procurement, and sales of military and aerospace type products, Klaus was a perfect fit for heading up the automotive A/C division of Santech, which he did with Valerie Rowe. His experience selling to the likes of Boeing Military, and Parker Rocket Fuel Systems confirmed his place at Santech in dealing with all aspects of sales, marketing, engineering and procurement.

During his career at Santech, he was credited with initiating and growing most of the new programs for parts, including the first lip seals, clutch bearings, control valves and clutch components. The humble beginnings of the Master Technicians program goes to his credit for the first four drawer parts cabinets coordinated with pictorial wall charts, and a new neutral numbering system.

As Santech grew and the company matured, the beginnings of the orifice tube, retrofit, and Idemitsu double end capped PAG oil sales programs are to his credit.

Over the years of developing parts, suppliers, and customer base, Klaus had an opportunity to travel to all ends of the world working with parts manufacturers, selling new ideas, new products, establishing new customers and suppliers globally. For the last 10 years, Klaus has served Santech as international distribution and remarketing sales manager.

Michael Deese, former president of Santech who worked many years with Klaus remarked, “Klaus always put the customer first; of course he did this in a balanced way, but customer satisfaction was his primary goal. He is also an extremely creative individual.  He was always discussing a new invention, new tool, or new method.  He is also a premier problem solver; he had to understand why a problem happened so that it could be prevented.”


The New Year brings a new role for Klaus. He has retired from Santech, and he and his wife Norma will work in their real estate investment company. Klaus will be doing some selective consulting for the remanufacturing industry, and aftermarket business community.

Klaus thanks Michael Deese, former president and owner of Santech, Beccy Deese and Valerie Rowe and all the great associates he worked with, and especially, the great friends he found in his customers, that contributed to his successful 27 year career at Santech.

Klaus says, “Auf Wiedersehen”, which is German for goodbye. However, the literal meaning is “until we see each other again.”



About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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