Nine years ago, my wife and I welcomed our first son, Owen, into the world. Living in West Michigan at the time, we elected to relocate our growing tribe to metro Detroit to be closer to her family. 

Seeking a career position, I applied for a job with BNP Media, targeting a job with the ACHR NEWS, a B2B trade publication covering the contracting wing of the HVAC industry. I landed the gig and immediately immersed myself in the wide world of comfort systems. A year after joining the team, I was promoted to managing editor — a position I held for five years.  

Two years ago, and seven years into my HVAC journalism career, I was named the editor-in-chief of this outstanding publication.  

HVAC has been the catalyst of some amazing personal and professional adventures for me. I’ve traversed the U.S., crossing into nearly all 50 states, landing extravagantly in Hawaii, courtesy of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA). I’ve caught a pass on the field of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, thanks to Emerson. I’ve raced armadillos in Texas, jumped off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, eaten freshly caught calamari on Rhode Island’s shoreline, and so much more. I can’t say it enough: The HVAC industry has been an absolute blessing for me and my family. 


After spending seven years focusing on the contracting side of the industry, I was excited (and a little nervous) to transition to the engineering sector. On my first day wearing these shoes, the Engineered Systems team began brainstorming unique ways to cover the human side of the industry. Upon that trek, we discovered that only 398,000 women — or 14% of all engineers — are employed in architecture and engineering occupations, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

ES’ Midwest/Western regional sales manager, Carrie Halbrook, suggested we create a contest to honor the outstanding achievements of the industry’s leading ladies. In January 2019, we announced the winners of our inaugural 20 to Watch: Women in HVAC contest. Upon a warm reception, the contest returned in 2020, and I’m ecstatic to officially make this contest a tradition by continuing it into 2021.  

Our 2019 and 2020 lists include several high-profile names, including Darcy Carbone, Meredith Emmerich, Liz Haggerty, Traci Hanegan, Sheila Hayter, Bing Liu, and others.  

As a journalist, I cherish the opportunity to share these success stories — further proof of the life-changing impact the HVAC industry continues to have on the livelihoods of so many.  

Nominations for the 2021 20 to Watch: Women in HVAC contest are now being accepted. Here’s a great opportunity to help the women at your firm shine brighter. Send in your nomination today, as I’m chomping at the bit to share how HVAC has blessed them as much if not more than the industry has blessed me.