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EGIA Foundation Welcomes Stella Gary-Keane and Colleen Keyworth to Board of Trustees

EGIA Foundation Welcomes Stella Gary-Keane and Colleen Keyworth to Board of Trustees

EGIA Foundation Welcomes Two HVAC Industry Luminaries, Stella Gary-Keane and Colleen Keyworth, to Board of Trustees

The Vice President of Talent Development at HARDI and Director of Sales & Marketing at Online Access bring to the Foundation proven track records of supporting workforce development in the skilled trades, joining just in time to help award the latest round of HVAC HERO scholarships to passionate young students studying HVAC

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 16, 2024) — The EGIA Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to supporting and promoting careers in the home services trades, is pleased to announce the addition of two members to its board of trustees: Stella Gary-Keane and Colleen Keyworth.

Gary-Keane is the Vice President of Talent Development at HARDI and brings over 30 years of talent acquisition and human resources experience to the EGIA Foundation board of trustees, having also served in senior leadership roles at Footlocker, Big Lots and Express.

With a focus on high potential programs, talent readiness, succession planning, leadership development and cultural engagement, Gary-Keane oversees numerous initiatives at HARDI, including the Performance Management, Executive Talent Review Process and Leadership Development programs as well as stewarding its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. She holds a master’s degree from Temple University in adult organizational development and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Clarion University.

“I’m extremely passionate about investing in our youth and helping them discover career paths they may not be considering,” said Gary-Keane. “The opportunity to work with the EGIA Foundation, and support students’ training for and, eventually, hiring into high paying, satisfying roles in HVAC is important; let’s get more people involved in the mission by leading by example!”

Colleen Keyworth joins the board of trustees as an already well-established figure in the HVAC industry, currently serving both as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Online Access Inc., a marketing company specializing in HVAC digital marketing, and the president of the International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC).

Keyworth has deep roots within the HVAC industry, starting with her own family’s HVAC and plumbing business. She has been an advocate for women in the HVAC her whole career, and in an official role since 2015. She previously served as a board member, VP and president of Women in HVACR, in addition to her current board position with the Southeast Michigan Air Conditioning Contractors Association and INWIC presidency.

Widely recognized by the industry, Keyworth received Service Nation’s “Woman of the Year” award in 2020 and was named in ACHR News’ 2019 ‘Top 40 Under 40’ in the HVACR Industry.

“The EGIA Foundation is making a profound impact on the HVAC industry,” said Keyworth. “I’m excited to work hand-in-hand to bring more underrepresented populations into HVAC; close the huge labor shortage we are experiencing; and introduce more young people to the incredible career opportunities in HVAC.”

“Stella and Colleen are respected across the industry not only for their skills and experience driving companies to the forefront of the market, but for their ability to create connections and relationships that help build our industry’s future,” said Bruce Matulich, chairman of the EGIA Foundation. “That’s what’s needed to truly build a large enough, prepared enough workforce in this industry to meet the tremendous labor demand we are seeing across the country.”

Stella and Colleen join the board as the EGIA Foundation prepares to award its seventh class of HVAC HERO Scholarship recipients. Students pursuing a course of study in HVAC can apply, through May 31, 2024, to receive one of up to 30 awards of $2,500 apiece to help them cover the cost of tuition. To date, the HVAC HERO Scholarship program has provided more than $260,000 in grants since its inception, helping 105 passionate, driven students prepare to make a positive impact on the HVAC industry.

To apply for this year’s HVAC HERO scholarship, or to learn more about eligibility and timelines, interested individuals can visit the EGIA Foundation’s student site at

To learn more about Stella, Colleen, and the EGIA Foundation’s vision for improving our industry, visit

About the EGIA Foundation

The EGIA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to expanding the benefits the public receives from the home services industry through education, research and the development of the next generation of qualified workers. You can learn more about the EGIA Foundation at its website,, or its student-targeted web portal,

Inspire Tomorrow’s HVAC Professional Today

Do you know any high school seniors or recent graduates who are looking to start a career in HVAC? 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.

It would be much appreciated if you could share this information to your network and help us attract more students to apply. By clicking the links below, you can share the application page on your social media profiles or by email in just one click.

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Scholarships will be awarded based on eligibility requirements, academic merit, financial need, and interest of pursuing a career in residential HVAC or home performance contracting. Applicants will be asked to explain what inspired them to choose an HVAC technical education and their plans after graduation.


Eligibility Requirements

• Students planning to enroll or currently enrolled in an HVAC technical program at an accredited institution for the entire 2019-2020 academic year. Current students must continue to be enrolled through January 1, 2020.

• US Citizens, US Nationals, US Permanent Residents based on the guidelines utilized by the US Department of Education Federal Financial Aid eligibility

• Minimum grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent

• Students pursuing an Associate’s Degree, Certificate, or Diploma in an HVAC technical program

• Preference will be given to high school seniors and students age 18-26

The EGIA Foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of talented young professionals selecting HVAC as their first-choice career thus, bolstering the industry’s ability to meet consumer demand well into the future. For more details on the Foundation’s work, please visit or

Margaret Ingels – Championing 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.

Ingles left the Carrier-Lyle Corporation to obtain her professional degree in Mechanical Engineering; another first for women in the United States. Afterwards, she worked in the American Society of Heating and Ventilation Engineers’ research lab and continued learning about conditioned air and ventilation.

In a few years, she returned to the Carrier-Lyle Corporation becoming the spokesperson of its newest undertaking: residential air conditioning. In its marketing publication, the Carrier Courier, she is described “as the first woman air-conditioning engineer who is undertaking a program of educational work among woman, designed to inform them of the advantages of Manufactured Weather in the home and how it can be made and controlled.”

Throughout her career, she traveled the country showcasing the benefits of residential air conditioning while remaining active in research. Ingles published roughly 50 papers and spoke to thousands about air conditioning and engineering. Additionally, she perfected the sling micrometer and developed the equation for “effective temperature,” which measures human comfort in relation to humidity and airflow.

She retired from the Carrier-Lyle Corporation in 1952 but not before finishing the biography, Willis Haviland Carrier, Father of Air Conditioning. Today, United Technologies honors her memory through the Margaret Ingels Engineering Development Program that provides the top engineering students a chance to be fully immersed in the field of product manufacturing.

Alice H. Parker – Forging the Foundation of HVAC

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.”

Patent #1,325,905 was granted on December 23, 1919. Parker’s gas fired furnace brought cooler air into a heat exchanger and distributed warm air through ducts instead of the single floor register used in most homes of the day. Much like today’s HVAC zoning systems, the furnace contained multiple burners to allow occupants to vary the temperature or airflow to individual rooms. Although her concept was never produced, it showed the world that natural gas could be used to heat a home efficiently and create more comfortable living spaces for the occupants.

Whether you heat with gas, electric, or passive solar, be sure to give thanks to Alice Parker on this 100th year anniversary of her patent; a remarkable feat for an African-American woman of the 1910s.

Boost Your Brand with a Nonprofit Partnership

Contracting companies are partnering with the EGIA Foundation to strengthen the HVAC industry workforce and boost their brand purpose. As a contractor, you have a powerful opportunity to increase your impact by forming a similar partnership. Your brand is different but the motive is the same: doing good while doing business.

Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort for EGIA Foundation Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort for EGIA Foundation

Jason Hanson, President of Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort, is actively engaged in the HVAC industry and the communities he serves. One of their core values is ‘People Dedicated to Excellence.’ A fully trained and engaged team is crucial in achieving Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort’s brand purpose of being “driven to solve our client’s energy and comfort problems using our expertise with integrity, and fulfilling our commitments by delivering exceptional service and craftsmanship in such a manner that we become our client’s one and only choice”. These beliefs are rooted in their partnership with the EGIA Foundation. Going beyond a donor relationship, Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort is actively engaged in promoting the EGIA Foundation Scholarship Program through social media and email campaigns.

Consider promoting the EGIA Foundation Scholarship Program, like Jason, to boost your brand and connect with future employees. The EGIA Foundation Scholarship Program wants to give $2500 to 20 future HVAC technicians who are high school seniors or recent graduates. Weldon Long, New York Times bestselling author and contracting business expert, will tell you how in this clip from Cracking the Code. Our industry’s future needs your help.

The EGIA Foundation is Introduced to an EPIC Crowd

Weldon Long, EGIA Foundation Trustee and New York Times bestselling author, introduced the EGIA Foundation to an enthusiastic crowd of industry leaders and businesses at the EPIC2018 Conference. Speaking to a crowd of over 400+, Weldon posed the question, “How concerned are you at the lack of qualified labor within the industry?” To which 68% responded “Extremely Concerned.”

“The EGIA Foundation is taking the lead in addressing one of the most serious threats to the industry: the labor storage” said Long. “Focused on promoting HVAC as a first-choice career through a unique coalition of industry stakeholders, this organization is devoted to building the workforce through initiatives including public outreach, mentorship programs, scholarships and employment opportunities. Through this work, the EGIA Foundation is ensuring the industry can meet labor demands well into the future.”

It is undeniable that the HVAC Industry is experiencing a considerable deficit of interested and suitable workers. By their own admission, 64% of high school students believe that HVAC is not a career that would make a parent proud. Unfortunately, often unjustly so, these careers are viewed as substandard or undervalued.

Yet, HVAC is a necessity. Without it, our lives and livelihoods would by seriously impacted. The EGIA Foundation was created to change the rampant negative perceptions in the general public as well as, supporting new and existing HVAC professionals through guidance, mentoring, and job recruitment resources.

It’s time to take on the challenge of reversing the misconceptions created by those outside the industry and develop a sustaining workforce made of each successive up-and-coming generation. Let’s bridge the HVAC employment gap together and start generating tomorrow’s workforce today.

Weldon Long walks the walk. . . . At EPIC2018, Weldon donated his time and his new book, Consistency Selling, to raise almost $10,000 worth of much needed funding for the EGIA Foundation. Those who donated at EPIC2018, received a copy of Consistency Selling personally signed by Long and the EGIA Foundation Industry Study, Bridging the HVAC Employment Gap.