Wallace Lee, past president of Lee Company, Franklin, TN, died on March 26 at his home —The Triple L Ranch, in Fernvale. He was 81.

Wallace Lee studied engineering at Vanderbilt University, and later worked for DuPont Corporation and served in the U.S. Navy as a guided missle officer.

He joined the family business — then known as Lee Refrigeration — in 1958. Lee and his brother Ted assumed leadership roles upon the death of their father, company founder L. Leon Lee.  

Wallace Lee retired in 1997, after taking the company to $38 million in annual revenues with 350 employees. Under his leadership, Lee Company had become nationally recognized, and was performing work in 26 states.

“Wallace was an icon in our industry,” said Richard C. Perko, P.E., the president of Lee Company. “I recall travelling the U.S. as a young engineer and running into people who knew of Lee Company, because Wallace was one of the first proponents of Design/Build, and was a National ACCA President. He spoke at events around the country and was always willing to promote and grow our industry. They don’t make them like him anymore.”

In 1985, Lee Company was the third firm to receive the coveted Commercial HVAC Contractor of the Year award from ContractingBusiness.com magazine. He was a charter member of ASHRAE and Associated Builders & Contractors, and is a member of the ContractingBusiness.com HVAC Hall of Fame. Lee served as national president of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) from 1984-85, and was a recipient of the ACCA “Spirit of Independence” award.

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