Jack Pirie touched a lot of lives as a mentor, an adviser and most importantly a great friend. With his passing on 15 July, 2014, Australia’s HVAC industry has lost one of its great leaders and innovators.
Jack and friend Glen Harries began Fantech in February 1973 from a bedroom in Glen’s house. Together they built the company from virtually nothing but a passion to provide customers with quality products and the service they deserved. He was a visionary, and was not afraid to take calculated risks that would improve the business and the products and services it offered. His commitment to customers and drive to succeed led to a number of market-leading product developments. One such development is the Minivent exhaust fan, which came about when the contractor for a new shopping centre came to Fantech with a ventilation challenge. This ignited Jack’s tenacity and competitive spirit.
He would make it possible, no matter what it took, and set about designing a small roof-mounted exhaust fan, unheard of until that time. He provided the contractor with the perfect solution, and with a large investment in a revolutionary all-plastic cowling, it become the very popular Minivent. As well as his attention to detail and expertise in fan engineering, Jack had a passion for marketing and a strong desire to share his knowledge. This passion drove him to create the first edition of Tech Talk, an informative newsletter that is now in its 79th edition and continues to feature new products and key projects. Jack was the driving force behind the creation of the first Fans by Fantech hard cover catalogue in 1993.
He worked tirelessly at every detail on every page to produce a reference book that proudly set Fantech apart in the industry. Jack saw the potential of providing the market with a tool that would dramatically simplify fan selections and as a result he helped create the first interactive product selection program. It was a massive investment for the time, but he saw the benefits it offered to customers and staff. Confident that the company he and Glen started was in good hands Jack retired from his position as Managing Director in 2000, and continued as a non-executive Chairman until 2012.
His efforts and dedication to the industry through AIRAH and CIBSE earned Jack much respect amongst his peers culminating in 2010 when he was inducted into the ARBS Hall of Fame. Jack is survived by his wife Clare and their three children – Stuart, Katrina and Andrew. Jack made a difference and had an impact on many people’s lives as he was a man who truly valued and believed in the people around him. He will be sadly missed. .