Mourning the Loss of an Industy Friend and Contributor

Rich Walker
May 11, 2012
COLUMN : Industry Watch

Charles O. Everly—a friend to many in our industry and a prolific contributor to its advancement—passed April 8, 2012 at the age of 81 after a long illness. Charlie’s dedication to the codes and standards arena will not be forgotten, as he was instrumental in promoting industry positions and facilitating the understanding of complex code provisions and enforcement challenges.

Charlie spent his childhood, youth and early adulthood in his hometown of Alexandria, Va. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute—more popularly known as Virginia Tech—with a degree in architectural engineering. As a professional engineer, he received numerous awards and became highly regarded for his years of leadership and contributions in the codes and standards arena locally, nationally and internationally. He served on many professional boards of directors including the Council of American Building Officials, the National Institute of Building Sciences and the Building Officials and Code Administrators International—a predecessor of today’s International Code Council.

His career path took him to the enforcement side of the building code arena, as director of the Department of Building and Mechanical Inspections for the City of Alexandria. Then, in 1984, he moved to Sarasota, Fla., to take on the role of director of building and zoning for Sarasota County.

One could argue that Charlie didn’t hit his stride until he “retired” in 1996, when he began a practice as a code consultant. As a consultant for PGT Industries, he served as chair of AAMA's codes working group and was very active in the organization.

Charlie’s forte lay in the study of the behavior of high winds, and he was considered one of the world’s foremost experts of wind effects and wind resistant design. Among his credits in this discipline is his prominent role in developing impact-resistant window and door standards for Southeastern coastal applications, as well as developing the windspeed tables used within the International Residential Code. These tables determined design pressure requirements for cladding and building components.

Working within AAMA, his voice was instrumental in gaining acceptance for the first joint window standard, now international in scope and known as the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) in the International Building Code.

During his lifetime, Charlie loved adventure. He obtained a private pilot's license, built and raced sailboats as a young man and was an avid hunter and fisherman who came to love wildlife. Charlie’s passion for bird watching was evident in the photos he proudly displayed. He identified hundreds of species, not only in Florida but as far away as Vietnam and Thailand. He particularly enjoyed spotting rare species on their yearly migrations, even to the point of spending drafty nights with Audubon Society friends at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, located off the coast of Southwestern Florida. Fort Jefferson is a regular stopping point for several rare bird species on their migrations between South America and Canada.

Aside from outdoorsmanship, Charlie’s voice was heard in more than just the code arena. In addition to singing in many church choirs, he was a lifelong “Barbershopper,” singing with the Alexandria Harmonizers and Key Chorale in Sarasota. As an ordained deacon and elder in the Presbyterian Church, he truly epitomized a purpose-driven life.

Few of us can claim any legacy at all beyond our contributions to the welfare of our immediate families. Charlie was one of those rare birds who accomplished both. He went that extra mile, and for that we are all grateful. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Sandy, and the family during this difficult time. Rest in peace, Charlie.

Rich Walker is president and CEO of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, 847/303-5664,