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Vale JJW (Bill) Siganto AM

 18 February 1936 - 18 September 2015

Bill Siganto, one of the best known figures in the Australian Heating and Air Conditioning industry passed away peacefully on 18 September 2015 surrounded by his wife Marie and their six children.

Born in 1936, Bill was the only son of John and Amelia Siganto.  He spent most of his early years among his extended family in Coomera and Mt Tamborine, where his grandfather first settled in the 1870s. Graduating as a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Queensland in 1957, Bill worked first as an engineer at the Tennyson Power House and then contracts engineer for Carrier Air Conditioning up to 1961.  Following a brief stint as a farmer at Coomera on land that had been owned by his father, Bill returned to mechanical engineering. He took a position as Engineer in Charge at Email Ltd, and was later appointed as Qld Manager .  Recognising an opportunity for specialist companies to design, fabricate and install air conditioning, Bill co-founded Siganto and Stacey Pty Ltd with Sid Stacey in 1967.  Under Bill’s leadership, Siganto and Stacey Pty Ltd became one of the leading mechanical service providers in Queensland, with Bill remaining involved until his retirement as Chairman in 2009.  During that time, as well as growing the business, Bill was an active member of the professional community. He was the National President and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH). He also held the positions of President of the Air-conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association of Queensland, Fellow and Life Member of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Fellow, Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers, UK. (CIBSE), a Fellow of The Institution of Engineers Australia and a Registered Professional Engineer. In 1994 he was awarded the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Australia "Doug Staniforth Award for 1994" for contribution to the refrigeration industry. 

 During his professional career, Bill was committed to training and education. In addition to establishing an innovative apprentice training program in his own business, Bill held roles as a Council Member Mt. Gravatt CAE and then BCAE from 1976 – 1989 and Board Member then Deputy Chancellor of QUT from 1989 to 1994.  In recognition of his contribution to vocational training, Bill was appointed Chairman, Vocational Education Training and Employment Commission which position he held from 1991 – 1998, a role which he much enjoyed and through which he made many life-long friends. In 1997 Bill received the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) Board Award. He received a doctorate from QUT for his contribution to tertiary education governance and to industry and in 1997 was made a Member, Order of Australia for services to training as Chair of VETEC and for contribution to the air-conditioning Industry.

Bill married Marie Gabrielle FitzGerald in 1961 and is survived by Marie, their six children and 13 grandchildren.  Bill lived almost his entire life on the south side of Brisbane, growing up at Coorparoo, attending high school at St Laurence’s College and moving into his family home at Paragon St, Yeronga in 1968 where he and Marie raised their six children.  Bill and Marie moved into Tennyson Reach, on the site of the old Tennyson Power Station where Bill had had his first job, in 2009, moving from there to The Village at Yeronga in mid-2015.  

 Bill was a generous supporter, both financially and by the investment of his own time, in a number of different areas, more recently through the Siganto Family Foundation which he established in 2004.  Bill remained committed to his school, being the Founding Trustee and Chairman of Trustees of the St. Laurence’s Old Boys’ Foundation, and maintained a long association with the Mater Hospital and the Mater Medical Research Institute, acting as a board member of Mater Trust from 1992 and Chairman of the Mater Prostate Cancer Research Centre at the MMRI from 2003.

Much loved by his family, employees and colleagues from Siganto & Stacey, the HVAC industry and the many others who have benefited from his generosity, interest and intellect, he will be sorely missed but long remembered.

 

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