Fred Pirkle grew up in the Texas
Hill Country near San Antonio. After graduating from Harlandale High School in
1964, he moved to Dallas where he worked for Van Winkle Motor Company as a
mechanic’s helper while receiving training to become a General Motors Guardian
Maintenance Service Craftsman. After working two years in Dallas, he returned to
San Antonio and attended San Antonio Junior College.
In the summer of 1967, Fred
enrolled at Sam Houston State University, declaring a major in industrial arts.
He worked during the summer months for H. B. Zachry Construction Company in San
Antonio to fund his educational expenses. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree
in 1970 and went on to earn his Master of Arts in industrial technology with a
minor in marketing in 1974.
Pirkle taught in the Cypress
Fairbanks Independent School District for a while in Houston, and then left to
work as a sales engineer for Commercial Industries Division and later Eggelhof,
Inc. While employed by Eggelhof, Inc., he was assigned to Ogontz Controls in
Pennsylvania became home as he met and married Linda Pirkle, who had two daughters of her own. Their family grew with the addition of two sons – Fred Pirkle Jr. and James Pirkle.
Realizing the future in energy
conservation, Pirkle left Ogontz Controls and founded Therm-Omega-Tech Inc. in
1982, to manufacture valves of his own patented design. The company grew to be a
leader in the field of manufacturing temperature control values and devices,
gaining worldwide respect across diverse industries. Therm-Omega-Tech freeze
protection valves have become the railroad industry’s standard for preventing
freeze damage to diesel locomotives, annually protecting billions of dollars of
railroad equipment worldwide.
Since then, he has patented more
than 20 products, including the BBQ Guru, the first temperature control device
for charcoal grills/cookers. Pirkle’s patented products are manufactured in the
Therm-Omega-Tech facility in Warminster, Pa.
Pirkle resides in Warminster and continues to design and experiment with prototype products. He remains an inspiration and source of information to colleagues in the manufacturing industry.