20 to Watch: Women in HVAC - Darcy Carbone
LEED AP, president, Carbone & Associates
Name: Darcy Carbone
Title: LEED AP, president, Carbone & Associates
Educational Experience: Bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering technology and building design management in HVAC design.
Organizational Affiliations/Achievements/Awards: Carbone has been an ASHRAE member since April 1999. In her local Boston ASHRAE chapter, Carbone has served on the board of governors since 2001, as attendance chair, treasurer, vice president, president-elect, 2006-2007 president, CTTC chair, research promotion chair, programs chair, honors and awards chair, professional development chair, chair of the Boston 100th Anniversary Gala in 2012, and on the sustainability committee.
At ASHRAE’s regional and society level, Carbone has served on numerous conference and exposition committees in 2007-2009; was the Region I regional vice chair for research promotion in 2009-2012; and operated as the general chair for Region I CRC in 2011-2012. She participated in handbook improvements in 2008; served on the CRC ad hoc committee in 2009; was on the members council, Region I nominations committee, and development committee in 2016; and was named assistant regional chair and treasurer for Region I in 2015-2016. During the presidential year of the Boston chapter, Carbone was awarded the Star Award, gained honorable mention for chapter achievement, earned a special citation, received the prestigious Golden Gavel Award, was selected as the Chapter Service Award winner in 2009-2010, and was named the Member of the Year for the Boston chapter in 2011-2012.
On the society level, she was awarded the Research Top Dog Award for her performance as regional vice chair for research promotion and gained notoriety for her outstanding volunteer services as society chair of research promotion.
What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?
I first fell in love with architecture when I was 6 years old. My parents were putting on an addition to our house. They had several meetings with the architect at our home, which introduced me to the building process. The development of floor plans and building elevations amazed me. It wasn’t until college that my passion to be an architect changed to engineering, when I obtained a co-op job in an HVAC, electrical, and plumbing consulting engineering firm assigned to do AutoCAD drawings for the HVAC department. I was interested in and embraced the challenges associated with design layouts and coordination. The rest is history.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in the skilled trades?
Helping people with building and, more specifically, HVAC solutions, whether it was when I was a consulting engineer, a commissioning agent confirming system performance, or an equipment sales engineer assisting design engineers with HVAC equipment selection. My HVAC career has come full circle.
Describe the proudest moment in your career.
My proudest moment was the day I registered my HVAC equipment manufacturer representative firm with the state of Massachusetts. This made it official, and many new, great adventures followed. This moment is followed by my approval to be a certified Woman-Business Enterprise (waiting for final confirmation with a certification number). I believe being one of the very first WBE-HVAC equipment manufacturers will encourage other women to commit their experience to their own WBE business opportunities.
What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example?
First and foremost are the challenges I face with HVAC manufacturers to embrace contracting with a WBE to represent and sell their equipment to the building industry. To this point, I am confident that through action/performance over words/conversation, I will continue to be successful in the HVAC industry.
Why aren’t there more women in engineering? How can we increase the number of women in engineering?
I believe if we continue educating and exposing middle school and high school female students to engineering as well as the other skills associated with engineering, e.g., skillful communication and co-op opportunities, we will be successful in introducing young ladies to the diversity of opportunities that can be obtained through positive thinking and action.
What does your day-to-day job entail?
I actively call on HVAC consulting engineers, building owners, and architects and encourage them to understand the HVAC equipment I represent. I also serve as quality control for the equipment and check to ensure it is furnished and installed appropriately and that it’s achieving its design intent. This begins with me promoting my equipment and ensuring it will positively influence a project’s specifications. On a daily basis, I’m also responsible for developing a project pipeline to ensure that secured order quotas are achieved, overseeing the operations of the firm, developing the business, and ensuring we remain an active ASHRAE member both locally and nationally.
What drives/motivates you every day?
My twin boys, Gavin and Gage, along with my employees provide me all the motivation I need. I want to set a good example for them all as well as set the pace both personally and professionally.
What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?
I would love to reach the level of president of ASHRAE society. The most recent ASHRAE president, Sheila Hayter, who was on this list last year, is a woman. I would be equally satisfied to be known and respected by men, as well as women, in the building industry as a resource for design engineering, optimum equipment selection, and as someone with the ability to teach others.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
I was a break dancer in high school.
List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe exactly how they’ve shaped your success.
James Liston, P.E., was a department head for an engineering firm I worked for. I was just out of college, and he took me under his wings. He was very instrumental in my growth as an engineer. More than 20 years later, he is still actively instrumental in my growth as a professional.
Lynn Bellenger, P.E., introduced and guided me through the ASHRAE regional and society levels and showed me that a woman can be the president of ASHRAE in a predominately male society. Lynn was the first female society president in 2010-2011. RIP my leader/mentor.
James Dale helped me transition from consulting engineering to sales engineering in 2007. Not only did he help me with getting a job, but he taught me the ins and outs of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system technology. Ten years later, he was instrumental in positioning me to be awarded the LG HVAC firm’s VRF equipment flagship product line.
George Hardisty, P.E., and Eric Edman, P.E., introduced me to the local ASHRAE chapter and groomed me to be president of the Boston chapter, which I became in 2006-2007. RIP George.
Cheryl Rossini helped pave the way in my career path, showing me the balance between family and work is attainable. She always made it look so easy. RIP my friend.
Judith O’Brian-Wall, P.E., is a colleague I used to work with at an engineering firm. She has opened up two businesses of her own and helped me get my company off the ground.
What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?
Be inquisitive to what engineering may entail. Always have a positive attitude, develop a can-do attitude, and be someone others can count on when work needs to be done. Be interested in changing jobs — moving from design engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, owner representative, and manufacturer representative. Always set goals each year and monitor and update them quarterly. Think of where you will be in three to five years and stay focused on being a successful professional in the HVAC industry. I have been blessed in this industry. There are so many other people who have impacted my career and life over the years, and I would like to thank them all. I wish I could mention everyone’s name in this article.