Honorary Membership Recipient Paul J. Torpey


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Honorary Membership Recipient Paul J. Torpey - Energy

Paul J. Torpey was always interested in mechanical things, from fixing the toaster to working on bicycles. Experiences in high school fed his desire to pursue a lifetime career in technology.

Torpey is recognized with Honorary Membership for outstanding leadership in the electric utility research field that significantly advanced modern power systems, and for enlightened and insightful activities in engineering societies that improved the quality of the profession. He credits teamwork for his success and views ASME as a big family.

Torpey began his career at Bell Telephone Labs in New York where, during the 1960s, he was instrumental in adapting aircraft derivative gas turbines for emergency power backup for the nation's telecommunications network.

In 1970, he accepted a position at Consolidated Edison, where he helped establish one of the first electric utility research departments. As research manager/director, Torpey initiated projects in environmental control, advanced energy conversion, robotics, energy conservation, and renewable resources. During this period, he also played a key role in the formation of the Electric Power Research Institute and the Empire State Electric Energy Research Corp. These organizations have supported hundreds of millions of dollars of research and development directed at efficient energy utilization, environmental protection, cleaner advanced energy sources, and improved methods for the transmission and distribution of electric energy. Among his notable accomplishments was the planning and supervision of a large-scale test burn of synthetic (coal-derived) fuel.

Honorary Membership Recipient Paul J. Torpey - Energy

Named administrator of ESEERCO in 1974, Torpey guided the organization during its transformation from a nuclear research group into a broad-ranging research consortium to pursue all aspects of electric energy R&D on behalf of New York state's electric utilities.

In 1976, Torpey resumed his duties at Con Edison before subsequently returning to ESEERCO in 1988 as its executive director. Under his leadership, ESEERCO grew into a $20-million operation by the early 1990s. He retired as executive director in 1999.

An ASME Fellow, Torpey's early participation was in the Gas Turbine Division. He served on the Society's Research Board (1974 - 78), where he was instrumental in identifying opportunities for ASME-sponsored research. During his tenure as vice president of research (1984 - 88), a number of important research studies were carried out for the federal government at the request of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

Torpey became a member of ASME's Board of Governors in 1989 and served until 1993. He conceptualized the Leadership Development Intern Program and the Three Year Integrated Financial Plan. He was deeply involved in drafting ASME's new vision and mission statements and in gaining board approval to internationalize ASME's mission.

As the 113th president (1994 - 95) of ASME, Torpey stressed the theme of innovation and lifelong learning to enable today's engineers to cope with rapidly changing conditions in the workplace. He supported the development of the forerunner of asme.org, and the creation of new financial benefits for the membership. He also presided over the first ASME International Presidential Workshops and established a special Task Force of the Board of Governors to streamline the committee structure. He received ASME's Centennial Medal and Distinguished Service Award.

For the American Association of Engineering Societies, he served as vice chair and governor (1996 - 97), treasurer (1997 - 98), chair elect and chairperson of the AAES's Engineers Public Policy Council (1998 - 99), and AAES chair (1999 - 2000).

Torpey earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, New York, in 1959 and 1960.

Paul J. Torpey was always interested in mechanical things, from fixing the toaster to working on bicycles. Experiences in high school fed his desire to pursue a lifetime career in technology.

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March 2012

by ASME.org