Former SMACNA President Robert A. Zill Sr., 90, of Darien, Ill., passed away on Oct. 13, 2016. He served as national SMACNA president from 1993 to 1994 and was a member of the Association’s board of directors from 1987 to 1991. He began his career in the sheet metal industry in 1949 as a cost accountant and progressed to president and owner of American Blow Pipe Inc. in Chicago.
In his 1994 national SMACNA president annual business meeting report he stressed that the Association must guard against placing self-interest above the interests of the group, because with a unified front will come survival, growth, and profit for each of us. “Strength in unity,” is how he phrased it.
“Speak kindly, for we all seek what is right, and there’s more than one road to reach success; but, whatever road we do take, it must be headed in a forward direction,” he challenged.
Mr. Zill’s industry involvement included serving as a trustee of the National Training Fund (now the International Training Institute) and a SMACN-IFUS trustee. He was inducted into SMACNA’s prestigious College of Fellows in 1994 and served on the College’s Board of Governors from 1999-2002.
As an officer and director of two Chicago-area associations for sheet metal contractors, he helped initiate a series of mergers that consolidated three area associations. The result was the creation of the Chicagoland Sheet Metal Contractors Association.
He was the Chicago area Sheet Metal Contractors Association president from 1984 to 1985. In addition, he served on the Joint Arbitration Board, and the Metropolitan Chicagoland Sheet Metal Industry Fund.