Scholarship Recipient Is Going the Distance for Women in HVACR

by

Jessica Brant
September 10, 2019
/
3
minutes to read

Morgan Lee doesn’t flee from challenges — she dashes toward them. This makes her a leader in sports and her field of study, and it’s the reason Pointman selected the Edgewater, Maryland student as its sponsored Women in HVACR scholarship recipient. 

Photo was taken by Tyler Lee

“We found her enthusiasm inspiring, and it connects with everything we’re about at Pointman,” said Jessica Massey, Marketing and Sales Operations Analyst. “We also appreciate anyone who has the ability to juggle demanding sports, as well as their schoolwork.”

Mechanical engineering still remains one of the most unpopular engineering majors among women. By pursuing a career in HVACR, I will serve as a role model in my community and help put an end to this stereotype. — From Morgan Lee’s 2019 Women in HVACR scholarship essay

The 18-year-old field hockey and track athlete will put the real-world problem solving skills she’s learned on and off the field to the test as a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering and HVACR systems at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. 

“Understanding how systems work that you use every day is really fascinating to me,” she said. 

Morgan underwent an extensive application process to receive this award. First, she had to submit an essay addressing her motivations and long-term career goals to Women in HVACR — one of the most prominent national organizations devoted to empowering women in STEM careers. Next, she waited as a panel reviewed her essay. And then the news came: She was selected from a pool of nearly 40 other applicants. 

Having access to opportunities like the Women in HVACR scholarship and STEM-based programs has kept Lee better informed about her career options while also providing the  support necessary to realize her educational goals.

“We want to be able to celebrate these winners and put them in places where they can celebrate other women,” said Women in HVACR Boardmember Colleen Keyworth.  


And that’s exactly what Lee plans to do during this next phase of her life, just as she’s done throughout her high school career, by taking on leadership roles in various engineering-based clubs and activities. 

Leading by Example

In spreading her message of encouragement for future generations of young women and inspiring them to enter traditionally male-dominated spaces in technology and engineering, Lee is leading by example. 

“Just try to learn as much as you can about everything you’re interested in, and don’t let any stereotypes hold you back,” she offered as advice to other women. 

The Women in HVACR scholarship program is one of many outreach tools used to trigger engagement among younger audiences. 

The organization’s ambassador program, a network of volunteers who visit high schools in their regions to give presentations on the opportunities available to women in HVACR, offers students and administrators a deeper look at industry data, according to Keyworth. 

Keyworth said that targeting young women early in their education is pivotal to creating continued interest in industries suffering from the skilled trades gap: “The ambassador program is really to get boots on the ground — the stats, the studies, the numbers.”

Reshaping Attitudes

Lee is prepared for the exciting, new challenges that lie ahead as she steps into her leadership role on campus as a woman in engineering and HVACR. Reshaping the attitudes and perceptions surrounding women in her field is a priority for her at school. 

And it helps that her own father and role model, an experienced HVAC business owner, is her number-one fan. She says he has offered wisdom every step of the way, always encouraging her to go the distance. 

“Growing up, my father often repeated the proverb, ‘You get out what you put in.’ This piece of advice is particularly important to me in relation to my career goals,” Lee said. “If I am not willing to put in the effort to succeed as a woman engineer, consequently I will fail and fall into stereotypes.” 


An all-women team from Pointman will represent Lee at the Women in HVACR 16th Annual Conference, from September 25 to 27 in Boston. We’ll be proud to speak on Lee’s behalf, and congratulate both her and the rest of the scholarship recipients on their successes. 

Stay tuned to the Pointman blog for a follow-up interview highlighting more insights from Women in HVACR’s Colleen Keyworth on STEM careers and the future of women in HVACR and construction.

Look at Pricing

The start of the year is a great time to look at pricing. Usually, you have an idea of how your company fared the year prior, and you want to ensure you will continue to grow in the months to come. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with respect to spending or saving in our personal lives, and it’s no different for business owners. Making sure your pricing is in line with where it should be is one of the strongest ways to start the year the right way.

Part of looking at your price book is finding where the issues are, and that can take time. An HVAC company in January is going to be very busy, so it’s a difficult time for a close look. However, a plumbing company might not be as busy. Whenever you tackle this job, your best bet is to look at what your labor rates are. Start there, and let it trickle down across the board. Ask yourself, “Are my labor rates helping my business stay profitable?”

Remember, there are many different services out there and many different groups or communities that you can engage. Never hesitate to say, “Hey, I’m a business owner in Florida. What should my labor rates be?” You can build your price from there. There are also some great billable hour calculators available.

Set Goals

There is no better time of year for looking inward than January. Set your personal goals and company goals for the following 12 months. If you can break those down into departmental goals, even better! Perhaps that means a CSR booking closing rates a little better, or a truck doing 250,000 a year rather than 200,000.

Many companies have found that using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) goal-setting system pays off. Looking for a guidebook when it comes to OKRs? Check out Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr. 

One key question is the best way to handle setting goals: Is it smarter for business owners to handle this solo, together with staff, or to delegate completely? 

The best approach is to set goals at the department level. As an owner, you need to take the time to understand what the goals are in each department, and make sure they are in line with your goals for the company. No one likes to set unattainable goals for themselves, so make sure you push your departments to set goals that are lofty, rather than simple ones to feel good about hitting. Entrust your staff to aim higher, and watch how they respond.

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