If you never met David Brumbaugh at your plant or office, or at a user-group vendor fair—often with wife Shelley and occasionally daughters Abigail and Hannah—that’s unfortunate. The late president of DRB Industries LLC was particularly knowledgeable on gas-turbine inlet and exhaust systems, air filters, and cooling towers, and always willing to share best practices and lessons learned. He was positive-minded and had an engaging personality; many in the electric-power industry benefited from his caring/sharing nature.
David died last Saturday evening (April 16) of a heart attack—so unexpected it left even close personal friends in shock. Rick Shackelford, division director, powerplant operations, for NAES Corp, knew Brumbaugh well, both personally and professionally. He told CCJ, “Such a terrible loss for Oklahoma. . .the power industry. . .his family. . .and his friends. David was a true-life world-changer.”
Industry people generally are aware that David founded DRB Industries to support powerplant owner/operators in the selection, installation (including design and construction services to the degree necessary), inspection, and maintenance of filtration and cooling products. But that was only the tip of the iceberg for this perpetual-motion machine of a man.
Family, politics, and religion were David’s passions. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the House (of Representatives, State of Oklahoma) Majority Caucus. A representative from the Broken Arrow area since 2010, he authored numerous bills that have been signed into law. His legislative focus was streamlining of government processes, job creation, transparency of government activities, and protection of religious liberties.
Local news reported that House members held a moment of silence for their colleague on Easter Monday and sang “Amazing Grace” together. The photo here, from The Washington Times, shows the folded American flag on David’s desk at the front of the chamber to honor his service in a rapid-deployment air assault infantry unit attached to the 101st Airborne Division, as well as the state flag draped across his empty chair.
David’s body will lie in repose Thursday (April 20) in the state Capitol building.
Deeply religious, David was an ordained deacon, former chairman of the deacon board, and Sunday school teacher at Tulsa Bible Church. Reflecting on David’s years of teaching Sunday school, Phil Martin, the Tulsa Bible Church’s associate pastor of discipleship, told local news, “He was a legend there.”
David was well known to the editors. His work was featured in several CCJ articles over the years and more were in the works. At least one of those was to address filter testing to help guide users in product selection. He was working with EPRI on a methodology for verification of manufacturers’ claims at the time of his death. David shared his thoughts on cooling-tower performance assessments both in print and by way of webinar; the latter still is accessible to you and just as pertinent today as when it was presented and recorded.
David achieved more in his 56 years than most would accomplish in multiple lifetimes. But no one really does everything on his, or her, own. Much of David’s strength derived from strong family support. He was the very visible part of Team Brumbaugh, but Shelley, with help from Abigail and Hannah, helped to make that possible by managing both the family home and daily business activities.