20 to Watch: Women in HVAC - Amy E. McClurg
P.E., LEED AP, account manager, Harper Limbach
Name: Amy E. McClurg
Title: P.E., LEED AP, account manager, Harper Limbach
Educational Experience: Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida, 2001. MCAA advanced project management training, 2015.
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: Mechanical P.E. in the state of Florida, LEED Accredited Professional, and recently attained all requirements for the Florida mechanical contractor’s licensure (the application is in process).
Organizational Affiliations/Achievements/Awards: LCI Central Florida CoP Steering Committee, 2019-2020; LCI Congress Planning Team, 2018 and 2019; ASHRAE 2020 Winter Conference Host Committee and Welcome Party chair; ASHRAE Outstanding Membership Promotions chair Region XII, 2008-2009; ACE Mentor, 2013-14 and 2019-20; PCEA Scholarship Recipient, 2019; Harper Limbach Employee Recognition Award, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015; and Orlando Ski & Travel Club Membership director, 2019-20.
What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?
I have always loved math, which steered me toward a degree in engineering. I chose mechanical engineering because of its breadth of career options. HVAC engineering specifically is a growing field all around the globe.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in the skilled trades?
After almost 10 years of working in design engineering, I decided to make the switch to construction management. The last nine years working for a specialty mechanical contractor has been incredibly rewarding. Every day poses new challenges and obstacles, and with them comes opportunities for problem-solving and creative solutions. The diversity of the construction industry is exciting. You can apply engineering knowledge from the ground up. I would recommend this industry to everyone.
Describe the proudest moment in your career.
I recently successfully tested for the Florida mechanical contractor’s license. To know that the hard work I put into studying paid off and that I will soon be a licensed mechanical contractor is exhilarating.
What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example?
I think that girls aren’t exposed enough to the idea of engineering and construction as a profession from a young age, therefore they don’t consider exploring them as options. We are getting better about introducing students to broader career possibilities through programs like STEM and ACE.
What does your day-to-day job entail?
Every day is different, which is what I love the most about the construction industry. Each aspect has its unique challenges, so each estimate, proposal, preconstruction project, and client relationship requires a different strategy and approach.
What drives/motivates you every day?
I love the people who I work with from my coworkers in the office to those in the field. I feel accomplished after collaborating with other trades to meet objectives and exceed expectations. I enjoy developing and growing relationships with everyone I interact with.
What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?
One of my goals for 2020 is to obtain my plumbing contractor’s license.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
My husband, Steve (a senior mechanical engineer with our engineering branch Limbach Engineering & Design Services), and I were married on Pi Day to four digits – 3.14.15. And, of course, at the reception, we served pies for dessert.
List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe exactly how they’ve shaped your success.
There are too many to name! One that stands out is Amber Gnann Perretti with Barton Malow Company. She and I met when I held a college internship at an HVAC consulting firm, where she was my mentor. We became personal friends and both ended up leaving design engineering for the construction industry. Almost 20 years later, we are still very close both personally and professionally. I hope to pay it forward as a mentor through my company’s mentor program, which just launched.
What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?
I would advise women considering entering the field to obtain an internship or two while in school to gain working experience and grow their network. And once they’re in the “real world,” they should find a strong woman they look up to at work and consider, when making decisions, “What would she do?” or “How would she respond to this?” Involve yourself in professional society networking and never stop learning.