David Hughes was presented with the distinguished Carlson-Holohan Industry Award of Excellence during a presentation at the Caleffi North America booth at the AHR Expo on Monday, Feb. 6. Hughes is the ninth recipient of the award.

Iconic Carlson-Holohan founders and past recipients were on-hand to present the award to Hughes. The ambassadors included Robert Bean, Dan Holohan, David Yates, John Barba (Taco Comfort Solutions), John Siegenthaler (Appropriate Design), John Goshulak (Weil-McLain Canada), Ingrid Mattsson (Uponor North America) and Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr (Caleffi North America). Mark Eatherton and Kenneth Webster (Viessmann-Canada) are also prior award recipients.

In the spirit of Gil Carlson and the vision of Dan Holohan and Bean, the Carlson-Holohan award was conceived in 2006. The award is presented every two years to a nominee with attributes including technical mastery and a passion for hydronic technologies, demonstrated leadership as an educator and mentor, and an aptitude for cultivating fundraising opportunities for industry causes. Learn more about how the award came to be in this brief video by founder Bean.

Hughes hydronic career began as a journeyman plumber, gasfitter and steamfitter. He quickly wove into his career his passion for teaching the trades, instructing at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). He invested time with the National Hydronic Design Subcommittee of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), resulting in the Certified Hydronic Designer and Certified Hydronic Installer programs. Hughes was strategically active in defining the CSA B214 Installation Code for Hydronic Heating Systems. He has participated in the Alberta Hydronics Advisory Council, CIPH-Edmonton and Canadian Hydronics Council. In 2022, he spent five months “training-the-trainer” in Uganda for a trade curriculum at the Uganda Technical College Elgon (Mbale).

Hughes likes to say he came to his profession honestly — his father was a plumber while his mother was a teacher, so he followed in both of their footprints.

"I only found out I was in the running for the award the week before," Hughes said. "Hot Rod emailed me and asked me to attend the presentation at the Caleffi booth. I said 'OK, I'll be there,' but I didn't expect to get it or anything."

Hughes was shocked to hear his name called during the presentation.

"I was in the back listening to Robert Bean and Dan Holohan talk about the award," he said. "It was definitely nice to be considered, but I didn't expect them to call my name. I was very surprised.

"The names that came before me are all peers that I respect and admire," Hughes added. "This is probably the highlight of any award I've ever received. It's such a thrill. To be recognized by this group of people is just monumental."