James R. Hutton, a mechanical engineer with Compressor Engineering Corp. (CECO) died in Houston on April 8 at the age of 96.
Hutton was a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In October 2012, Hutton also received the Edward N. Henderson Award from the Gas Machinery Research Council (GMRC). The award honors distinguished service to the GMRC and the natural gas industry.
“Mr. Hutton was an inspiration to so many young engineers over the course of his career,” said Mike Grubb, president of the GMRC. “His passion for mentoring, especially in the area of ethics, helped many professionals in our industry grow into the positions they enjoy today.”
Richard Hotze, president of CECO, said, “It has been an honor and a pleasure to have worked with Mr. Hutton over the past 30 years. He will always be remembered as a leader, a friend, and a consummate salesman and extraordinary engineer. He was an integral part of the CECO family.”
Hutton was born December 18, 1920 on a farm near Bonham, Texas. He got his first taste of engineering life in the summer of 1941 when he enrolled in the School of Engineering at the University of Texas.
Two years later, the U.S. Navy called and ordered him to report to engineering midshipman’s school at Columbia University in New York City in the midst of World War II. Hutton received his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in October 1943 and finished his training at Diesel School, first at North Carolina State in Raleigh, then General Motors Tech in Flint, Michigan.
In February 1946, he was formally discharged from the Navy. He went to Austin to complete his Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration degrees at the University of Texas.
Upon graduation, Hutton began his career with Clark Brothers, a division of Dresser, which manufactured compressor and integral gas engines. Hutton retired from Dresser in 1986 as president of the International Division of Dresser Machinery.
Hutton then joined CECO, a Houston-based compressor parts manufacturing firm, serving as vice president of sales until his death. He is also the author of How to Sell Technical Equipment and Services, which was published by PennWell in 2005.