With deep sadness, IAPMO announced the passing of Vice President of Advanced Energy Programs and RPA Executive Director Les Nelson. Nelson died May 20 at his home in Corona, California. He was 66.
Nelson joined IAPMO in January 2012, bringing extensive industry knowledge and experience to The IAPMO Group’s rapidly expanding solar energy profile. He also brought uncommon kindness and warmth to his fellow staff members at World Headquarters in Ontario, California.
Nelson was instrumental in incorporating additional hydronics code language and the new sections of geothermal into the Uniform Solar Energy Code, making it the Uniform Solar, Hydronics and Geothermal Code it is today. He was working on projects related to the increased electrification of hydronic systems.
As the executive director of the Radiant Professionals Alliance and staff liaison to the Hydronics Industry Alliance – Commercial (HIA-C), Nelson was able to gain increased cooperation within the industry. He was skilled at keeping the teams focused in order to maintain and grow these industry segments.
“Les’ ability to coordinate the efforts of multiple manufacturers, many of us competitors, for the good of the industry was vital,” said Rick Bostian, HIA-C chairman.
Greg Cunniff, HIA-C chairman of Engineering and Software, added: “Les provided invaluable insight and focus on how HIA-C could ‘tell our story’ to the construction industry and building owners. He was able to take involved technical topics and make them understandable. He also was the consummate professional and his approach created an atmosphere of cooperation.”
Nelson authored several technical journal articles and was interviewed numerous times by industry press for his expertise. He also worked closely with BNP Media's Plumbing Group to produce the biannual Radiant Comfort Report.
Prior to joining IAPMO, Nelson was president of Western Renewables Group, through which he provided consulting services to federal, state and private clients since 1992. His involvement in the solar heating industry began 20 years earlier, two decades during which he worked in solar thermal manufacturing and contracting, regulatory and policy development, and solar energy advocacy at the state and federal levels.
Nelson was at times a director of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and chair of its Solar Heating & Cooling Division, a director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CAL SEIA), and a director of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). He also served as operating agent for the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Program's Task 43: Solar Rating and Certification Harmonization.
“Les was an incredibly kind and extremely knowledgeable professional who will be missed terribly,” said IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney. “Our hearts go out to his wife, Christine, and their family during this difficult time.”
Nelson is survived by his wife, Christine, and their two children, Ian and Ariana. For those wishing to express condolences or send a charitable gift to Nelson’s family, please forward it to Mrs. Christine Nelson, c/o IAPMO, 4755 E. Philadelphia St., Ontario, CA 91761-2816.