20 to Watch: Women in HVAC - Meredith Emmerich
Managing director of ductless & VRF, Carrier Corp.
Name: Meredith Emmerich
Title: Managing director of ductless & VRF, Carrier Corp.
Educational Experience: M.S. in electrical and computer engineering and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology
When did you fall in love with engineering?
Math and science were always interesting to me at a young age. Over the years, my curiosity around “the why and the how” naturally resulted in me pursing my electrical and computer engineering degrees at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in the skilled trades?
Continuous learning. There is always going to be someone “smarter” or “brighter” or “more experienced” or “more senior” or “more millennial” in the room. Learn from everyone — work with them, ask questions, share your ideas, and challenge their beliefs. You will grow as a result, and so will they.
What challenges do women face in this profession? Why aren’t there more women in engineering? The challenges women in engineering face include being the only female in a room, finding your voice and then being heard, advancing at the same rate as male colleagues, and doubting yourself and your abilities. Getting more women in engineering and technical fields can only be solved by attacking the issue straight on with continual focus and realization of the intrinsic value of inclusion. We are starting to take the right steps through things like STEM focus in grade schools and resource groups at universities and corporations. Companies are publicly committing to parity with a focus in under-represented areas, such as engineering and general management. Advocates and mentors are helping create the space for growth.
What drives/motivates you every day?
People, making a difference, and my family drive me. Passion is contagious and pressure is a privilege.
Describe the proudest moment in your career.
Being part of a global company that truly understands the intrinsic value of inclusion and diversity. Carrier is focused and committed to making sure our team, both employees and leadership, is reflective of our customers and the overall population. And we reflect the true regionally specific voice of our customers in every innovation we craft. Just this year, our team at Carrier launched a 42-SEER inverter-driven heat pump system in North America — there is simply nothing more efficient on the market today.
List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe exactly how they’ve shaped your success.
Wow, there are so many through the years that have heavily influenced me. My mom — she’s my biggest advocate even to this day; she taught me from a young age to “be me” and not to worry about historical stereotypes of women. My husband Harry provides me strength and confidence, especially during tough times. Dr. Mimi Philobos, an engineering professor at Georgia Tech, is a strong advocate for women in engineering and building our pipeline of talent. Paul Doppel, retired colonel, taught me everything I know about HVAC. And Chris Nelson, president of Carrier’s Global Commercial HVAC business, has helped me expand my abilities in transitioning from engineering to business.
What does the future hold for you? Figuring how to be the best “me” possible and continuing to grow as a leader as well as working to making a difference.
What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field? Live in the now. Set your goals (professional and personal) and work toward them every day. Build relationships and your network. Align yourself with people, teams, and companies who hold the same values and ethics as you. Find and use your voice, it matters not only for you but for others as well. Challenge yourself and the status quo. Listen and lead by example. Think “outside-in” — always start with the customer in addressing how you and your team can add value. And, most importantly, be passionate about where you invest your time and energy and have fun.