October 14, 2008 09:03 ET

FAFCO Inc. Names Freeman A. Ford as Chairman and Robert Leckinger as Chief Executive Officer

CHICO, CA--(Marketwire - October 14, 2008) - FAFCO, the oldest and largest solar water heating manufacturer in the United States, announces that Freeman A. Ford has become chairman of the board after serving as company president and chief executive officer. Robert Leckinger, formerly FAFCO's chief operating officer, succeeds him.

Ford is a pioneer in the solar thermal industry and a 2006 inductee to the International Solar Hall of Fame. He and Richard O. Rhodes founded FAFCO in 1969. Ford continues to play an instrumental role in the company's ongoing success.

Before joining FAFCO in June 2005, Bob Leckinger worked for United Technologies Corporation, Hitco Carbon Composites, Worthington Precision Metals, and Pratt & Whitney. Over his 22-year career, he has gained broad experience in the renewable energy, aerospace and automotive industries, working with plastics, metals, and composite materials. An innovative leader, communicator and negotiator, he has a proven track record in business development, operations, manufacturing and sales.

Ford's Legacy

Under Freeman Ford's guidance, FAFCO undeniably pioneered the solar pool heating industry. When the company was launched, the solar pool heating industry was based on expensive, difficult-to-install copper collectors. Despite significant drawbacks, copper absorbers had dominated solar thermal heating for a century. FAFCO's vision was to replace copper with inexpensive, easy-to-install polymer absorbers. It has since spawned an entire industry.

To date, FAFCO has seen more than 150,000 of its solar energy systems installed over the last 30 years. The company has shipped 66 million square feet of pool heating collectors, or the electrical equivalent of 4.3 gigawatts. FAFCO has manufactured more than 1.5 million solar collectors and owns more than 25 domestic and international patents on its technology.

In 1985, Ford directed his company's polymer expertise toward Thermal Energy Storage (TES). Today, FAFCO TES systems allow customers to buy inexpensive off-peak electricity at night, store the energy and then use it to cool buildings in the day when electricity costs peak. In addition to saving customers money on HVAC costs, FAFCO TES systems enable utilities to reduce peak load thus saving the costs associated with building new capacity.

In 1996, Ford once again focused his company on developing ground-breaking solar energy products. In collaboration with the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, FAFCO developed the world's first lightweight, affordable, all polymer, solar hot water system designed to reduce water heating bills by up to 50%. Ford's vision was to not only provide cost-saving benefits to consumers worldwide but also to reduce the environmental impact associated with traditional energy sources.

"Freeman Ford is not only visionary but also an industry icon," said Robert Leckinger, FAFCO's new chief executive officer. "His reputation for quality, integrity, innovation and leadership is unsurpassed in the renewable energy field. He continues to be a stellar role model and a friend."

About FAFCO Inc.

FAFCO Inc. is the oldest and largest solar water heating manufacturer in the U.S. with annual sales approaching $20 million and more than 150,000 customers worldwide.

FAFCO pioneered the application of innovative new materials for solar collectors when, in the late sixties, it replaced expensive and difficult-to-install 100-year-old copper technology with inexpensive, lightweight and easy-to-install polymer absorbers.

FAFCO has three product lines -- solar hot water systems, solar pool heaters, and thermal energy storage. FAFCO's headquarters are located in its own 50,000 square-foot, custom-built, state-of-the-art solar research, design and production facility, in Chico, California. To learn more about FAFCO visit or call (800) 994-7652.

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