Cazenovia resident and professional engineer, Lawrence E. Wetzel, chairman of the board of Air Innovations Inc. in North Syracuse, is the recipient of the inaugural Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering magazine’s “Engineer of the Year” award.
The Engineer of the Year award honors a mechanical or professional engineer engaged in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration or building automation who has made significant contributions to his or her company and customers, the HVAC/R industry, and his or her community.
Wetzel was honored during the Commercial HVAC/R Symposium and Optimum Buildings Conference & Expo, which were held concurrently from Sept. 21 to 23 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind.
Wetzel is a licensed professional engineer in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California, and holds contractors’ licenses in those states as well as Florida and Virginia.
He holds seven U.S. patents and one European patent, with other patents pending in Europe and Canada.
His 1983 design of the first packaged and modular air conditioning system for the cleanroom industry, AdvancAir, is still widely used today for environmental control of temperature, humidity and air quality in the manufacture of semiconductors and other electronics and pharmaceuticals.
Wetzel’s most recent designs include the HEPAiRx, the Wine Guardian Through-the-Wall and the IsolationAir.
The HEPAiRx is a window-mounted, ventilating room air purifier for home or office use. It is designed to quickly dilute, filter and reduce the indoor pollutants that are often cited as causes of asthma, respiratory irritations and allergic reactions.
Wine Guardian Through-the-Wall is designed to control temperature, air circulation and humidity in wine cellars to protect valuable wine collections.
IsolationAir, a portable contamination control unit for health care and emergency preparedness, evolved after the 2001 World Trade Center bombings and the avian flu pandemic.
Wetzel’s design incorporates high-efficiency filtration and anti-microbial lights into a portable, self-contained cabinet that can quickly change any hospital-sized patient room or emergency-preparedness space into an isolation room.