2021 Top Women in HVAC

The ACHR NEWS wanted to highlight and honor some of those individuals, so we have created the Top Women in HVAC list. All of these women have made a mark on the HVAC industry and continue to do so. While they serve in different areas of the industry, each is making a contribution to both improve the industry and make it a more welcoming career for females. “This is a great collection of women,” said Kyle Gargaro, editorial director of The ACHR NEWS. “Although we could only honor 20, we received over 400 nominations. It gives us great pleasure to honor these individuals for the important roles that each play in the HVAC industry.”

Feature from ACHR News:

ACHR NEWS 2021 Top Women in HVAC Maria BoyerMaria Boyer, Vice President at MacDonald-Miller

Educational Experience:

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA
  • Project Management Certification, University of Washington, Seattle WA
  • Healthcare Construction Certification, Tacoma WA

Industry Work Experience: Over the past 30 years, my experience within the industry has spanned project management, operations, estimating, procurement, facilities, sales, pre-construction, management, and executive leadership responsibilities across the business.

Organizational Affiliations/Achievements/Awards: MCA Western Washington Board of Education; MCA Western Washington Senior Instructor; MCA Western Washington Instructor of the Year 2013; MCA Western Washington DEI Task Force Committee Member.

What caused you to/when did you to enter the HVACR industry?

The short story is that when I went to college at the University of Puget Sound, construction was never my intended career, but it was a way to help pay my way through school. I worked for a general contractor doing a variety of tasks ranging from accounting to ordering concrete. One day on the jobsite, the superintendent from our mechanical subcontractor, MacDonald Miller Company, asked if I would be interested in interviewing for a project manager position they were trying to fill. He said that he saw something in me that he thought would be a great fit for the role. That moment was the catalyst of when my career path pivoted to the mechanical construction industry. I took the interview, accepted the job offer, and never looked back.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in HVACR?

What I find rewarding is the span of opportunities and the unique complexities of our business that drives collaboration and innovation. I am passionate about bringing people together and being able to creatively find solutions to the many challenges we face.

Describe the proudest moment in your career:

That is a tough question to answer; I cannot pinpoint a specific one. My proudest moments all surround the teams I have had the fortunate opportunity to build and the individuals I have been able to mentor and witness their careers develop. Each time I see one of my teams achieve a goal that they and others thought was unattainable, and I see the sense of accomplishment shine within each of them — those are the moments I take pride in. Ultimately, I take pride in developing people and building high-performing teams.

What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example?

The challenges that women face in this profession are broad. It is still a very male-dominated field. I could share many stories and perspectives, but at the core is the sheer lack of diverse representation throughout the industry. As such, old beliefs and cultures still linger, and those in charge are hesitant to place women in technically focused roles or leadership positions. They have not experienced the true impact of what a cognitively diverse team can achieve.

I entered the industry at a time when there were very few women in roles that focused on the technical, engineering, management, or operational aspects of our industry. I recall for years being the only women at the project table as the representative for a company. The limited number of times when this differed would typically be women representatives for the architect or owner.

Decades later, I can say that our industry is changing, ever so slowly, yet I remain optimistic. I see bright, intelligent women coming into the industry in greater numbers than ever before, filling roles in project management, estimating, engineering, procurement, and the trades. Individually, they are making a statement with their talents, and collectively, an impact on what our future has in store by expanding representation and bringing cognitive diversity to our firms.

How can we increase the number of women in HVACR?

We must provide a clear pathway for women to explore the broader spectrum of roles and identify career ladders in our field. We should turn our focus on attracting people from other industries with transferable skills to fill those gaps in the mid-level positions across our businesses. Looking out beyond today, to fill our talent pipeline for tomorrow, we should connect with younger kids to give them a lens into the STEM elements of our craft and business.

By providing visibility of accomplished women in various professional facets, we can clearly show that diverse opportunities exist: “If they can see it, they can be it.” We need to open the door and get rid of the ceiling and floor to truly welcome women into the industry.

What does your day-to-day job entail?

Currently, I sit in a lot of virtual meetings!

I am responsible for the overall estimating and procurement functions for MacMiller. The estimating team is responsible for developing $1.5 billion in estimates across our business units annually, while the procurement team is responsible for managing a supply chain of $150M in materials/equipment to support our operations. I have very accomplished managers overseeing those departments, so my day-to-day job tends to focus more on working through unique challenges that arise, leading corporate initiatives, driving strategic plans, and continuously looking for innovative solutions to improve our products and services for our customers.

I am also involved in mentoring our future leaders and deliver various education/training sessions across the MacMiller business.

What drives/motivates you every day?

I love a challenge and people. At my core, I am a competitive person who has a high drive to succeed. I am passionate about developing people and building teams to achieve great things. I enjoy being surrounded by forward-thinking peers who continually challenge one another to do better and be better. That’s what motivates me every day.

What remains on your HVACR bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?

The aspirations I have for the future remains unchanged: I want to continue to pave a path so that others can imagine the possibilities and strive to achieve them. My personal goal is to be on the board of directors for the company and on the board of directors for associations within the industry. My greater industry goal will ultimately be achieved when the faces alongside me on those BOD’s are truly diverse from all perspectives. Those are my bucket list aspirations.

What advice do you have for prospective females who are considering entering the HVACR field?

There are a lot of great career opportunities within this industry. Find a mentor who can help guide and provide perspective in your journey. Explore, don’t be afraid to fail, be your authentic self, be confident, have a voice, show and be the potential you have inside you. Find your passion and have fun!

Read more MM Highlights: macmiller.com/news

Categories: General

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