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2018 Women in HVACR President: Mary Jo Gentry
For the year 2018, Women in HVACR elected Mary Jo Gentry to serve as the WHVACR President to succeed Julie Decker, a leader in the HVACR Industry, who will move to the Immediate Past President position on the executive board.

"With a new year upon us, I can’t help but realize how fast the time goes by. This was evident when preparing for the recent holiday season. As I took the ornaments out of the box to decorate my Christmas tree, I couldn’t shake the feeling that only a few short months had passed since I had last gone through this process. While my children eagerly anticipated each day to pass so they could open their gifts, I longingly wished for time to stop. But alas. It does not. And so I realize I have very little time to accomplish the goals I have for this group during my year as president.

That said, I want to emphasize that my number one goal for 2018 is Involvement. More specifically, an increase in involvement. Our membership has grown to over 400. We are so very proud of that number, but want to be sure that our members are getting what they need from our organization. If you are new to the industry and want to explore this trade with personal guidance by one who has gone before you, our mentorship program holds that key. We will connect you with a mentor who will provide one-on-one leadership and guidance. This is a give and take program. Likewise, if you have years of experience that you would like to share with one who has recently entered the field, we would like for you to be one of our mentors. Please contact if you have an interest in further pursuing either of these avenues.

We couldn’t accomplish what we do in a year without our board members. They lead the sub-committees of the Women in HVACR organization, which include the mentorship committee mentioned above as well as membership, sponsorships, partnerships and alliances, scholarships and education, events and marketing committees. Each board chair will be challenged this year to create a sub-committee of members to assist with the planning and implementation of action items in each of these key areas. If you are a member who would like to be more involved on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, please fill in the form on our contact us page and let us know the area of your interest. We are excited about the new ideas that our members can introduce as well as the additional partnership opportunities that they might be able to bring to the organization through their own contacts and involvement.

We are excited about planning for our ever-growing scholarship program and our annual fall conference which comes on the heels our first stand-alone 2017 event which attracted over 120 attendees. We are also anticipating increased involvement in the area of partnerships and alliances, working with other key industry groups striving toward similar goals and objectives to share resources and involvement. Involvement from all levels of membership and partners who are proud to work in this industry. We hope you’re ready to come on board!"

- Mary Jo Gentry 2018 WHVACR President
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Do you recall powerful women in your past? Perhaps you are working with one now?

I remember a few women that made an impact on my life. One was my 7th grade English teacher who seemed to be the hardest teacher ever! She was tough and didn’t allow any slack from any of her students. Then my 10th grade history teacher almost made her look easy. These ladies pushed the students toward excellence and to this day, helped me with sentence structure and the love of history. I also admit that looking back, they were two of my favorites because of that drive for excellence.

Another example was watching a woman in a very powerful position at a utility company I worked for. To be a Vice President of this type of company in the late 80’s was especially interesting. As I watched and worked with her, she became an inspiration of strength. She proved herself powerful by her actions and decisions.

Throughout our Legacy series, we have talked about our Legacy as a journey; a journey of discovering who we are, where we are going and what we want to be remembered as. We have had great examples from our very own organization of great leaders who have brought us to where we are today. It has been very rewarding these past few years to watch us grow not only in numbers but in confidence, success and personal growth.

Legacy is not just a thing of the past, but an ongoing development of where we want to be.

Happy New Year to all!

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#HVACGirlProblems - Women in Leadership: “If She Can See It She Can Be It”

By: Karen Lamy DeSousa, Advance Air & Heat

As a young girl, I didn’t have much in the way of female role models. It was basically my Mom and Wonder Woman. Both true superheros by all accounts. It’s thrilling to see the growth of female athletes, business women, politicians and other leadership positions. Being able to see women fill important and diverse roles in society will help today’s young women see these roles as “normal” and “obvious” whereas I may have seen them as “odd” or even “unattainable.” Their dreams and goals will be shaped by what they see as possible. So sharing the stories of women in leadership positions will in turn create more women leaders.

If you’re not familiar with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, please allow me to introduce you. Because it’s AWESOME. To dramatically sum up it’s mission, it’s goal is to bring about change in the media to reflect, well, reality, as well as promote equality, eliminate bias, etc. If you think for a minute about how much impact the media (tv shows, movies, etc.) has on the world-view of our children (not to mention ourselves as adults), the mission is pretty profound and impactful. The “If she can see it, she can be it” tagline comes from the Institute, who’s website is (clever, right?)

One that note, I want to share this article excerpt with you from Industry Week, which focuses on three amazing women in leadership roles. I encourage you to read ALL of the profiles because they are impressive, but I share with you this one for the obvious reason that it is HVAC-related. It’s so important to celebrate the success of women in all industries but I think this is especially important in industries where women are critically underrepresented, like HVAC and construction in general. So read on! See it, be it and share it!

Women in Manufacturing: Profiles in LeadershipLiz Haggerty

Vice President and General Manager, Unitary Products, Johnson Controls

An HVAC job is not for everyone. Especially those who care about sterilized offices, predictable hours, or physical comfort. Or,have a sensitive disposition.

Liz Haggerty is not one of them.

“I recognized early on that to be in business,” Haggerty said during a recent interview with IndustryWeek, “you have to get your hands dirty, have a tough skin.”

An HVAC industry veteran with more than 25 years under her belt, she knows what it takes to succeed in a sector where women historically have had low representation. The industry deals with heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning units in buildings and homes. While some of the jobs might involve carrying equipment such as ladders, checking clogged pipes and vents, or working atypical hours, there are great opportunities in engineering, product management and sales that women can take advantage of.

“It’s true this is a male-dominated industry, you have to recognize that’s the case,” Haggerty said. “From the outside, this can be a daunting industry. Women in this industry have to be assured of their capability. They should not be afraid to have a voice.”

Haggerty has lived by those words to achieve rare success.

Under her leadership, Johnson Controls has undergone a lean drive that has cut costs and improved product quality, achieving a 26% jump in efficiency and an impressive 79% decline in safety incidents at the Wichita, Kan., facility alone. The Wichita safety performance is also 84% better than the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) average for the HVAC industry.

Prior to joining Johnson Controls four years ago, Haggerty was Regional President of Carrier Enterprise, a joint venture between Watsco and Carrier, responsible for distribution of residential and light commercial equipment and parts. That capped a 20-year stint at Carrier/United Technologies where she led a global continuous improvement program and helped build a multi-million-dollar distribution business from scratch.

At every step, Haggerty—a metallurgy engineer by training—proved herself.

Haggerty recalled a particular incident when she, in her early 20s, was dispatched to a Carrier plant in South Korea to resolve certain manufacturing issues. Before leaving for the assignment, she was warned that she may be challenged by the country’s culture where few women held leadership positions.

“I recognized I was going to be challenged, so I made sure I was well prepared for the meeting, understanding the product they were producing,” she said.

“In the meeting room, once the designers rolled out the engineering drawings, I provided some suggestions, showing I had the technical competency and could give sound feedback. That helped me overcome the initial resistance, and get past the gender bias.”

Haggerty acknowledged that men also have helped her professionally, initially as mentors and later as leaders who were vested in her career.

“I was very fortunate to have great mentors, leaders—mostly men—around me who were good about giving me a seat at the table, let me have a voice in meetings,” she said. “They were willing to help me with their time and knowledge when it came to engineering, manufacturing and distribution. So I recognize how important it is to find mentors within organizations.”

Haggerty also underscored how women could be a driving force in the industry. For instance, employment of HVAC mechanics and installers is projected to grow 21% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. Women could close the looming skills gap, if they have the right training.

Johnson Controls has several initiatives underway for women in STEM roles within the company and the industry. For example, it partners with several global manufacturing and engineering companies to support iRelaunch, an initiative of the Society of Women Engineers, to help women who have been out of the workforce two or more years and hold core skill sets in engineering, science and technology disciplines.

“I’d like young women to recognize that HVAC manufacturing is a great place if you are intellectually curious,” she said, “and want to learn how to do new things, gather new experiences and be successful.

“It is OK to be intellectual and interested about mechanical things.”

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NOVA 2017 - Women in HVACR Workshop & Networking Event at the HARDI Annual Conference

By Colleen Keyworth

Over 50 distributors, manufactures, and service vendors attended the Women in HVACR workshop and networking event during the HARDI Annual Meeting on Saturday December 2nd from 2:00-5:30PM at The Aria Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The meeting was kicked off with a welcome message from 2017 WHVACR President Julie Decker. After the welcome message, Marjorie McAllister, WHVACR Immediate Past President, conducted the opening ice breaker. Attendees were encouraged to connect with fellow attendees by sharing their name, job titles and what they are passionate about in order to learn more about one another.

In coming 2018 Halo president Jennifer Boyajian, gave an update on the Halo programs accomplishments in 2017 and their goals for 2018. Helping All Live On (HALO) is dedicated to philanthropic giving, promoting HVACR and educational endeavors. To date HALO has raised a total of more than $150,000 (in cash donations and products) for Homes for Our Troops.

The featured workshop, facilitated by Renee J Joseph, from Johnson Controls, engaged attendees by breaking down personal sales and leadership styles. In the exercise, attendees learned about how to work best with and recognize different personalities in the workplace. WHVACR members also gained insight on their own personal styles and how to best apply their strengths, and improve on their weaknesses to benefit their careers.

Ruth Ann Davis-McElwee, past WHVACR President, presented on the importance of advocacy in our industry. Attendees learned about the importance of getting involved with the government and the benefits to our industry as a whole.

The meeting was concluded with the passing of the gavel ceremony, current WHVACR President, Julie Decker presented the Crystal Gavel to Marjorie McAllister to recognize Marjorie for her many years and contributions to the organization.

The partnership between HARDI and WHVACR will continue to grow and support Women in the HVACR. Both organization have had record breaking attendance at their annual 2017 conferences and are looking forward the impact women will have in 2018 in the HVACR industry.

Photo Credit: Lance Lackey
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While in the past, the HVAC industry was traditionally male-dominated, this image is quickly being shed as more and more women are finding employment in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Feb. 2017) reported that women make up only 1.4 percent of the HVAC workforce, but the nearly 6,000 women nationwide represents a significant leap from years past. Women’s representation is growing in conjunction with the swelling demand for HVAC professionals.

Women are also starting HVAC businesses and securing higher positions in management with a greater degree of responsibility. For example, the Refrigeration School (July 2016) covered a few of the rising industry leaders, including Anderson Plumbing Heating & Air in San Diego, which is helmed by Mary Jean Anderson, as well as Gene Love Plumbing Air Electrical, which is led by Tammy Ferris with more than 30 years of experience. Furthermore, the recent surge of women also inspired the creation of Women in HVACR, an organization that aims to provide education, mentoring, networking opportunities, and other resources for women in this career field.

Ultimately, there are many employment opportunities for women searching for a career in the HVAC industry. By illustration, the BLS (Dec. 2015) projected that there would be an explosion of openings in this industry in the coming decade; specifically, the BLS anticipated a 14 percent increase in HVAC positions nationwide between 2014 and 2024, substantially more robust than the average growth expected across all occupations during that time (6.5 percent). The addition of 39,600 fresh jobs in this industry reflects the continuing demand for climate control professionals. That said, aspiring HVAC professionals—both men and women—must have the requisite education before joining the industry, which can be expensive or even cost-prohibitive for some. Several organizations have stepped up to offer grants and tuition stipends for women in this high-growth industry. Here are 10 standout scholarships for women in HVAC.


Women in HVACR—the aforementioned organization with a myriad networking, education, and other benefits for women working in HVAC—offers three annual $2,000 scholarships as of 2017. Two types of scholarships are available: one is provided for those applying to a technical or trade school, while the other must be applied toward a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year school. For the former, applicants must have at least a 2.0 high school GPA; for the latter, a 3.0 GPA is required. Both of these are open to females who are high school seniors (or older) and interested in working in HVAC, and both require a completed application and 500-word essay answering questions on the organization’s website. Applications must be submitted by June 1st, and scholarships are announced at the end of the month.

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Jackson Systems
Forward Thinking with Honeywell: Meet the New T4 Thermostat

They say that “innovation is change that unlocks new value. ” (Jamie Notter, author) That is certainly true of Honeywell, who has served the HVAC contractor well with innovations that have changed our industry for many years!

Most of us are aware that Honeywell will be permanently replacing eight models of the legacy FocusPro and Pro series thermostats with the T4 Pro. T4 Pro is newest member of the T-series of thermostats by Honeywell.

The T4 Pro is designed for the non-connected user. Simple and programmable, the T4 is available in 1H/1C heat pump and 1H/1C conventional models, 7-day, 5-2, 5-1-1 or non-programmable.

Easy push button functionality makes it the perfect t-stat for contractors to demo to home and building owners who desire simplicity. A bonus feature is the T4 Pro provides valuable filter change reminders. It uses the UWP mounting system that is standard among all Honeywell T-series thermostats so upgrading to a Lyric WiFi thermostat in the future is quick and easy.

The greatest value that Jackson Systems can offer with our distribution of the T4 Pro is that is can be imprinted upon. We’ll print your logo and phone number in an elegant gray on the lower face of this thermostat. Imprinting is free with a purchase of six or more. It’s done within two days of your order and ships to arrive in many cases by the third day. Shipping is free for orders over $100. Don’t lose the business your work so hard to get…conveniently leave your mark so you remain top of mind for all service calls.

For more information or to order your imprinted T4 Pro thermostats, visit

Jackson System is a member partner of WHVACR. Your membership has its benefits with Jackson Systems. Call JD Brake to understand your benefits which may include discounts and rebates on purchases with Jackson Systems at 317-222-7527.


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