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Focusing on the Past, Present, & Future of Women in HVAC
In the spirit of Women’s History Month, the EGIA Foundation is celebrating women in the HVAC industry. Women have been working in the field for quite some time yet, the numbers are sobering.
The HVAC community can do more to close the gender gap by celebrating the significant impact women have had and can have in the industry. Encouraging diversity within our industry is vital to decreasing the skills gap. Together, we can show the public that HVAC is an area rich in opportunities for growth and advancement while providing the industry with highly qualified, engaged entry-level job candidates.
The Women who Forged the Foundation of Residential HVAC
 
She gave us a more efficient way to keep warm

At the turn of the 20th century, women had few opportunities to make an impact on society; even less for a woman of color. Yet, one woman paved the way for central heating, thermostats, and zoning with the invention of the residential natural gas furnace. Her name is Alice H. Parker.

Prior to her invention, the majority of homes used wood or coal as the sole fuel source. Parker believed homes could be heated safely and more efficiently with natural gas, alleviating the need to acquire solid fuels. Specifically, her invention provides "a comparatively simple, reliable, and efficient heating furnace in which gas is employed for the fuel, whereby economy of labor and fuel costs [are] effective and [there is] greater flexibility in the operation obtained."

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She championed residential air conditioning

When the Carrier Engineering Corporation introduced the home air conditioner in the beginning of the 20th century, Willis Carrier enlisted Margaret Ingels as engineer, educator, and spokesperson.

In 1916, Margaret Ingels became the first woman from the University of Kentucky and second woman in the United States to graduate with an engineering degree. Shortly after graduation, she began working as a traffic engineer but within a year, she began working for the Carrier-Lyle Corporation. Her experience sparked an interest in air conditioning and she wanted to advance her knowledge in the subject.

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In the 7% Spotlight:
Melanie Boehm
Owner/President, Goodberlet Home Services, Kankakee, IL
Melanie Boehm started her HVAC career as a project manager at Goodberlet Home Services. Within 10 years, she was given the opportunity to purchase the company. In a short amount of time, Boehm grew the business by offering more services, like plumbing and electrical, and purchasing similar businesses that became new branches. As part of the 1.7% of women who make up this industry, we asked her about encouraging young women to consider HVAC as their first-choice career:
Why do you think there aren’t more women in the HVAC field?
It’s similar to why there aren’t more men entering the field. The high schools only promote the college path. No one is talking to students about HVAC as an option.

How can our community encourage women to get into HVAC?
I think by getting community colleges and trade schools in front of students we can get them to consider these careers.

What advice would you give a young woman who is trying to decide if her future career is in HVAC?
Don’t buy into the boy’s club. They will want to push you out and make you think no one will give you a shot. But, we have a lot of capability and can succeed in this field.

Focus on the Future - HVAC Scholarship Deadline is Approaching!
DEADLINE TO APPLY IS APRIL 30
Do you know any high school seniors or recent graduates who demonstrate a commitment to HVAC or home performance? Tell them that by filling out a quick online application, they could be one of the 20 individuals to receive a $2500 scholarship from the EGIA Foundation.
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Foundation News
Thank you RIDGID for sponsoring the EGIA Foundation. Without organizations, like RIDGID, the Foundation’s public awareness efforts, scholarships, and career connections would not be possible.
The EGIA Foundation is excited to welcome two new members to its board of trustees. Both are passionate about HVAC workforce development and whose knowledge will strengthen our impact.
Nick Benton, HARDI Director of Talent Development, joined HARDI in 2014, after working in a corporate training environment. Nick engages with HARDI members daily to ensure that they have all of the tools required to get the most out of their people, from onboarding programs to training and development.
Karie Johnson joined The Habegger Corporation, an industry leading HVAC distributor, in 2016 as Corporate Manager, Marketing and Development. She has been in building products for over 25 years striving to better not only the organizations she’s been a part of but also helping drive each industry forward. Karie has held key management roles at several Fortune 500 companies.
Focus on your Future
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