Foster McCarl Jr. dies at 83

BEAVER FALLS, PA. Foster McCarl Jr., founder of mechanical giant McCarl's Inc., died Jan. 24 at age 83. McCarl, founder of McCarl's Plumbing & Heating Co. in 1946, served as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America in 1993. He served on MCAA's board of directors from 1986 to 1994. In 1995 he was chairman of the Mechanical Contracting Foundation and served on the President's Advisory

BEAVER FALLS, PA. — Foster McCarl Jr., founder of mechanical giant McCarl's Inc., died Jan. 24 at age 83. McCarl, founder of McCarl's Plumbing & Heating Co. in 1946, served as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America in 1993. He served on MCAA's board of directors from 1986 to 1994. In 1995 he was chairman of the Mechanical Contracting Foundation and served on the President's Advisory Council from 1995 to 2006.

McCarl founded his firm with a $4,000 GI loan after serving in the Army Air Corps from 1944-1946. The firm outgrew its name and was rechristened McCarl's Inc. in 1976. It now employs more than 800 people and bills more than $100 million.

In 1949 McCarl's was incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania. As the industry advanced, the company became involved in air conditioning, sheet metal and process piping.

In 1973, an Altoona, Pa., operation was opened, performing all construction work in central Pennsylvania. The firm's service department was expanded in 1980. In 1989, McCarl's Process Systems originated as an affiliated company specializing in industrial water and wastewater treatment.

McCarl's mission statement says that it has a moral obligation to be fair, honest and reliable in every business transaction and be profitable to ensure long-term success for its customers and for employee security. The company promotes The McCarl's Way, a value statement that includes qualities such as honesty and integrity, commitment to the company's word and value for the dollar spent.

Foster McCarl gave back to the community as a founder of the McGuire Memorial Home in New Brighton, Pa., a home that serves retarded children and adults, an effort for which McCarl was awarded Ronald McDonald Children's Charities Big MAC Award.

McCarl received the Mechanical Contractors Association of America lifetime achievement award in 1995. CONTRACTOR's sister publication inducted him into the Contracting Business Hall of Fame in 1994.

McCarl accepted the Beaver County Foundation's Pioneer Award in 2006 and won a lifetime achievement award from Pennsylvania Society Sons of the American Revolution.

He served as president of the local United Way and sat on the board of the Salvation Army, Medical Center Foundation and Pittsburgh Symphony Society. He achieved the Scottish Rite Freemasonry 33rd Degree.

To honor McCarl's lifetime of service, the Mechanical Contracting Foundation in 2000 created the Foster McCarl Jr. Philanthropy Award to recognize the exceptional efforts of an individual, company or local association to raise funds in support of its mission.

"Foster has been passionate and innovative in his approach to fund raising for the Foundation," said Bill Bianco, then president of the Mechanical Contracting Foundation. "He knew his role was to 'champion' that effort, and I don't know anyone who ever did it more effectively. Our award is a tribute to those persons or organizations who, like Foster, combine a keen understanding of our industry's need for the Foundation with a certain ingenuity that helps them succeed."

Closer to home, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Northwest Pennsylvania created the Foster McCarl Jr. Scholarship Program for students entering plumbing, HVAC, engineering or construction fields of study.