IAQ IQ: Career Paths for Women in the HVAC Industry

When it comes to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, women continue to be underrepresented. Many industries that rely on a foundation of STEM education are dominated by a predominately male workforce. However, the tide is turning with more women entering the HVAC industry year over year.

Tyler Kern, host of IAQ IQ: Indoor Air Quality and You, sat down with Nick Agopian and four female leaders and trailblazers from RenewAire, including:

Jessie Busse, Senior Engineering Data Analyst
Cassandra Kalinowski, Senior Technical Sales Support Engineer
• Michelle Pelicos, Western Regional Sales Director
Meghan Ziegler, Senior Design Engineer

The panelists’ experience ranges from decades of experience to recent college graduates at the beginning of their careers. And their training and education are all-encompassing including degrees in Mechanical Engineering, English Business Writing, and Marketing to name a few.

How they entered the HVAC industry varies as well, from beginning in an administrative role that led to selling energy recovery and indoor air quality products, and college internships turning into full-time opportunities these women come from all walks of life and have unique insights into the career possibilities for women within the HVAC industry.

Pelicos noted that when she entered the industry in the mid-1980s, she was very fortunate as “the organization [she] worked with was very open to sharing knowledge and teaching [her] more of the technical parts of the industry.” When she started there was lots of room to grow but that changed with people entering the industry, especially women, getting pigeonholed into specific jobs and job functions, and that has changed again.

Ziegler agreed, “I feel like it’s becoming slightly more common to not be the only woman in the room when we are having meetings or coming into large groups.” She continued to note that it still happens a lot because it is a male-dominated industry. However, there is a shift happening on college campuses with women comprising 30 to 40% of students in STEM classrooms.

This is in part happening because of the outreach occurring to get women and girls involved in STEM programs at a younger age. “At my university, we had a Woman in Engineering program run by one of my female professors. We did a lot of going out to middle schools and high schools… talking to the kids, saying these are some other options that are available to you if you enjoy science, if you enjoy math,” said Busse.

Kalinowski had similar experiences, “when I was in college a professor reached out to me a couple of times to help with events on campus to promote getting young children, young girls in STEM. One of them was a panel discussion a lot like what we’re doing now actually, and it was to show, to give the kids the opportunity to see women like their future selves in a position that they could reach.”

What is clear – to get more women into the STEM workforce, both men and women within these industries need to continue raising awareness of the career opportunities available to them.

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!


value of the skilled trades
Recognizing the Value of the Skilled Trades
February 1, 2023

People value skilled trades for the everyday necessities they bring to life. From plumbing to electrical, machinists, and construction, trades play a vital role worldwide. They make the world happen. Unfortunately, there is a growing gap in the skilled trades workforce, despite high wages, employer-funded training, readily available positions, and the opportunity to apply […]

Read More
Inflation rates
Inflation Rates Ease, But Long-Term Contracts Keep Prices High
February 1, 2023

With inflation rates easing and shipping costs dropping along with several commodities (not eggs), consumers may be wondering why they haven’t seen a noticeable price difference yet. Blame it on supplier contracts. A typical procurement practice is shoring up supplier contracts in advance, which means prices could hold for several months. The longer high prices […]

Read More
The Trend of Procuring Online Education Intervention Solutions
February 1, 2023

Education systems that have taken a metered approach towards spending for instruction materials are also using this methodology to procure online education intervention solutions. Estimates put the overall global Online Tutoring Market at 6.52 Billion in 2021, and experts believe that number could reach over 19 Billion a year by 2030. And while online […]

Read More