While most people lay awake in bed, it’s due to bumps in the night, personal anxiety, or the fear of the boogeyman. For Kimberly Llewellyn, the boogeyman was never her concern. No, her kryptonite was the amount of energy being wasted in the built environment.

“As a young adult, I literally couldn't sleep at night for worrying about unbridled resource consumption and waste generation,” said Llewellyn, who now serves as a senior product manager with Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US. “This constant anxiety motivated me to go back to school for environmental engineering. I find contributing to the development of solutions that are equitable, practical and result in healthy, efficient buildings to be very satisfying.”

Kelly Bieghler, managing partner, KBSO Consulting, is a huge proponent of welcoming young women into the engineering profession. Last year, she and her business partner, Seun Odukomaiya, presented two full-ride STEM scholarships to students of one of the firm’s K-12 education clients. The scholarships were presented to a person of color and a female, just like KBSO’s managing partners. The recipients both started as freshmen last fall.

“Girls need to be exposed to the variety of career opportunities under the engineering umbrella,” she said. “Today, more than ever, the world has complex problems to solve if it’s to survive. We need the very best thinkers offering different perspectives and skillsets.”

Barbara McCrary, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, started working for her dad’s (Tom Hattemer, P.E.) firm, HHB Engineers P.C., nearly 16 years ago. A few years back, he decided to decrease his role, appointing Barbara the president of the firm. After identifying her dad as her boss for so many years, she was suddenly in charge – a dynamic she deemed fun and challenging.

“My dad’s been critical to my success in mentoring me not just in good engineering design but in all aspects of owning and running the business, dealing with difficult people, and training and encouraging others,” McCrary said. “He’s the best engineer I know, and I hope, one day, I can garner as much respect as he has throughout our design and construction community.”

20 to Watch: Women in HVAC

While I enjoy facilitating every issue of Engineered Systems magazine, the 20 to Watch: Women in HVAC issue is my absolute favorite.

The women selected this year were chosen from a pool of more than 75 deserving applicants — each boasting unique strengths worthy of this list and many other honors. Choosing 20 was not an easy task and not something our staff took lightly. After hours of deliberation, we selected a variety of candidates representing those who have been in the industry for decades and others with just a few years of experience.

Of those selected, 10 were between the ages of 20 and 39, and eight are 40 or older. Ten hold P.E. certifications, six boast LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) certifications, and two are engineers in training (EIT).

I’m privileged and honored to showcase the stories of Llewellyn, Bieghler, McCrary, and the other 17 women on this list. I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I enjoyed writing them.

If you happen to encounter one of these individuals on social media, please take a moment to thank them and let them know that their efforts are appreciated.  

See the full list of the 20 to Watch: Women in HVAC Contest winners.