Last week, I attended the AHR Expo at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Over 60,000 attendees wound their way through approximately a kajillion (I counted) booths set up with everything from giant cooling towers – big enough for a dozen people to comfortably stand underneath it – to tiny copper fittings and every tool, device and piece of HVACR equipment in between. It was overwhelming to say the least. And oh, so, cool.
I started by attempting to plot my path to specific booths – I was on a mission to check out a few items on the floor – but eventually ended up just aimlessly walking about and gawking. Some highlights for me were learning more about Testo’s digital refrigerant gauges and combustion analyzers, and also hearing the very good news that Viega is soon to come out with ProPress fittings that can be used for refrigeration (by the next AHR Expo, they say. Yippee!) But it’s no surprise that my favorite booth was, well, mine! Well, not mine exactly, but the one I helped out at for the Women in HVACR organization.
I’ve been a member of Women in HVACR for a couple of years now, but I haven’t gotten to attend many of their events. The last one I went to was their annual conference at Comfortech two years ago in Nashville, TN. As an HVACR contractor, it’s difficult to travel for conferences, but this organization makes it worth the immense piles of work waiting back on my desk. Staffing the booth for just a few hours, I got to meet three female HVAC technicians, two tradeswomen from other countries and too many others to count who are successful engineers, reps, salespeople, etc. It was energizing and inspiring.
Newly appointed as a Board Member this year, I am one of fifteen women serving on the all-volunteer Women in HVACR Board. Its members hail from all over the country, in all aspects of industry, and are some of the most capable and talented women that I’ve ever had to pleasure to meet.
With a focus on education and mentoring this year, our mission is to connect industry mentors together with young women across all facets of HVACR. That mission, combined with over $4,000 in scholarships to give away and the addition of several new regional networking events, this Board’s effort to bring more value to Women in HVACR members is already off to a very strong start.
After a few days of networking and trade-showing, I left the AHR Expo with a bag full of loot and a head full of information and ideas. I’ve already put next year’s AHR Expo in my calendar. Which has NOTHING to do with the fact that it just so happens to be in Vegas…