Jan Kreider says that "Kreider" means "teacher" in colloquial German, and he goes on to explain that many members of his family have been teachers and that receiving this award in recognition of his contributions to education gives him particular pleasure. "There is no nobler profession," he says.
Jan was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up near Akron, Ohio. He earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude in mechanical engineering from the Case Institute of Technology and went to work for General Motors in Pontiac, Michigan, designing and testing automotive heating and cooling systems.
One aspect of his job was to drive hand-built prototypes to GM's testing facility in Phoenix, a trip that took him through Colorado. "I drove through Colorado once too often," he recalls, "and had to stay." Having made this decision, he earned an M.S. in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from CU.
Following his graduation, Jan operated his own energy consulting company in Boulder for 12 years and also regularly taught classes here as a visiting professor. In 1985 he joined the regular faculty and in 1987 organized the joint Center for Energy Management, an interdisciplinary research center based in the Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department. Jan has served as director of this center ever since. This center, JCEM as it is called, was an outgrowth of an initiative Jan began in 1979 with professors John Dow and David Feng to develop a building systems graduate degree program. About 5 students were originally in the program and about 50 are participants now, including 12 Ph.D. candidates. The program has had about 160 graduates.
Jan has built JCEM into a world-class teaching and research resource focusing on HVAC control systems for commercial buildings and on alternate energy technologies. The center's primary lab facility is its world-class Gustave A. Larson Building Systems Laboratory, made possible by Karl and Madeleine Larson.
He received the E. K. Campbell Award of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers and is a member of that society's Life Members Club. He is also a recipient of an American Western University Fellow- ship and of this College's Faculty Research Award. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the International Solar Energy Society, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi.
Jan first met his wife Dottie while he was a Ph.D. student and she was an administrative assistant in the Chemical Engineering Department. They have two children, Valerie Ann and Colleen Marie, and three grandchildren.