ASHRAE Women in Engineering (WiE) Committee

Our Mission

To promote retention of women in engineering by identifying opportunities for professional development, expanding leadership skills, and building a network of peers to foster information exchange.

WiE Upcoming Events

Stay Tuned for the next event!

WiE in the News

Check out past ASHRAE NY president Lorey Flick’s post “Engineering Firms Take Notice: Family Matters


Leave Initiative: A Critical Issue for Professional Service Firms

Michelle M. DeCarlo, Associate, Jaros Baum & Bolles (JB&B)
Chair of ASHRAE NY Women in Engineering Committee 

When former ASHRAE NY President Lorey Flick Roberts created the Women in Engineering Committee (WiE) her primary purpose was to keep women in the engineering field. One major issue at the forefront of WiE’s ongoing conversation is paid parental leave. This discussion is not limited to women, however; many men with new or expanding families are also interested in and affected by this important topic.

While critics argue that paying for parental leave is an added burden to businesses, the numbers suggest otherwise. A few years after California instituted paid medical leave, 91 percent of employers surveyed said the policy either increased profits or had no effect, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The California survey also found that more than 95 percent of those who took a family leave returned to work at the end of the leave period, and more than four-fifths returned to the same employer they had worked for prior to the leave. These results just reinforce the simple fact that paid parental leave promotes employee retention with no negative effects on the company.

New York State Parental Leave Policy (passed April 4, 2016)

A new state law passed last month will mandate paid time off for employees to bond with a new child, including adopted and foster children. Beginning on January 1, 2018, employees in New York State are entitled to up to 8 weeks of paid leave a year.  This increases to 10 weeks in 2019 and 2020, and to 12 weeks thereafter. In 2018, a worker will receive 50% of his or her average weekly wages up to a cap that is equal to 50% of thestatewide average weekly wage. This amount will increase over the following 3 years to 67% of the worker’s average weekly wages, capped at 67% of the statewide average weekly wage. It is important to note that compensation for engineering professionals is typically higher than average.

New York’s Parental Leave Policy is more comprehensive than the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This federal law requires companies larger than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or childbirth, to care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care. The most obvious difference is that the New York policy is a paid leave policy, and it also does not exempt firms with fewer than 50 employees.

Jaros, Baum & Bolles Case Study


As a member of the Jaros, Baum & Bolles Incentives & Benefits Committee, I wrote a proposal for paid parental leave that was submitted for partnership consideration. In March of this year, JB&B implemented this new parental leave policy for full-time employees who have been employed with the company for 3 years. With the goal of broadening access to parental leave benefits by older as well as same-sex couples, the firm decided to include adoption and surrogacy. For example, a man in a same-sex relationship could qualify under the maternity clause when adopting or using a surrogate. Similarly, a female in a same-sex relationship could access the paternity benefit. For maternity leave, including adoption and surrogacy, we now provide 7 weeks of full salary, paid through short-term disability, where applicable, with the remainder of the salary supplemented by the firm. For paternity leave, we provide 2 weeks of full salary.

JB&B is the exception to the rule. According to a survey of ASHRAE NY member companies, very few offer any form of paid parental leave.

ASHRAE New York Women in Engineering Committee Recommendation


At a time when finding qualified staff is often difficult, all professional service firms should be thinking and talking about how we can better support our employees. The forthcoming New York State benefit is a momentous step in the right direction, but it may still fall short of adequately supporting professional engineers. This is because the wage caps included in the law are likely to limit their pay to an insufficient fraction of their normal rate.

Firms should not wait for the new law to go into effect, nor should our industry accept its provisions as the absolute best we can do for our people. In the interest of hiring and retaining the most qualified and talented staff – be they women or men – every firm should support new parents by offering an appropriate amount of financial and job security through a forward-looking parental leave policy.

With enactment of the new state law still nearly two years away, ASHRAE NY recommends that firms take the initiative and promptly institute a parental leave policy that at least equals the stipulations of the impending legislation. Statistics and experience show that it’s the right move to make, not only for the good of employees, but for the firm’s bottom line.

WiE Past Events

ASHRAE Women in Engineering Presents an Industry Panel: “Leading Women, Leading Teams”

ASHRAE Women in Engineering is pleased to invite you to a roundtable discussion with leading women in engineering and the construction industry. The panelists will share their experiences on how they built their careers to where they are today, focusing on the challenges of leading both internal and external teams in our male dominated industry. All of the panelists’ experiences are relative to engineering, energy and construction industries. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and engage the panelists in an open discussion on how to address challenges faced by women leading the workplace.

Please Note: Although this event is hosted by WiE, men and women are both welcome!


Kasey Pace is the Director of Construction Services at GRANT engineering.  With over 15 years in the NYC construction industry, Kasey has taken her knowledge and experience of building from over a decade at Sciame Construction, to GRANT engineering to oversee the construction related service offerings of the Firm. Leading a team of talented and energetic professionals as GRANT continues to grow their brand in an exciting industry the primary responsibility is oversight of field engineering staff conducting third party inspections and monitoring services, in addition to, quality assurance for all design and environmental end deliverables.

When not persevering through the challenges that is the built environment in NYC, Kasey can be found persevering the challenges of raising two toddler boys, Jax and Aiden, on Long Island with her Husband, Joe.


Barton, Beth webBeth Barton is an Associate at Jaros Baum & Bolles, one of the leading mechanical and electrical consulting engineering firms in New York City. Beth has over 30 years of combined experience in engineering design and extensive project management leadership. Beth first joined JB&B in 1988 leading projects in electrical design and field coordination on large scale projects. During her 19-year hiatus from JB&B, she has had a successful project management career with Pfizer Inc., Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Between corporate roles, Ms. Barton was a consultant performing portfolio, program and project management services for clients in the fitness and wellness, law, retail, financial services, technology and private real estate development sectors.

Beth earned her Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Technology from the New York Institute of Technology.  She is a Certified Project Management Professional of the Project Management Institute, Six Sigma Yellow Belt and a member of the CoreNet NYC Chapter Women’s Special Interest Group (SIG) Mentorship Program.

WSP_Patricia McCaffery_cropPatty McCafferyPE, LEED AP is a Senior Vice President at WSP Building Systems.  Patty has been specializing in the design of mechanical building systems for the past 20 years. She has served as Principal-in-Charge on several large-scale projects in the United States.

Patty also has an interest in the development of the firm’s technical staff and is the department head of the New York office mechanical team, the largest team in Buildings USA.

As Principal-in-Charge, Patty oversees the design strategy and implementation across all engineering trades.  She is responsible for establishing realistic goals and objectives in regards to quality, time, and cost with the client and project team. She supports the design team in the completeness of the design scheme while providing follow-through and design support to ensure continuity and completeness of the design scheme.

caraCara Olmsted is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at ConEdisonSolutions. She has been with ConEdison Solutions since its inception and was part of the 4-person team that developed the business plan that lead to its launch in 1997.  She has held various positions at CES and is currently Director of Marketing and New Business Development for the Commodity lines of business serving the commercial and residential markets and for the renewables lines of business, solar and wind.  She also manages the demand response and energy efficiency lines for business for the commercial customer market.

Prior to joining CES she was with Con Edison (the utility) performing the deal structuring for the conversion of many large buildings in Manhattan from oil to natural gas.

Cara has an MBA in finance and marketing from Fordham University and a BS from the University of Missouri.

M Steeves HeadshotMelissa Steeves is a Project Executive at Gilbane Building Company. She has more than eighteen years of building industry experience and has held key leadership roles on a diverse range of projects across the United States. With a broad range of project experience, Melissa has developed a resonant ability to lead efforts across both the public and private sector while adapting to the uniqueness of each individual project.

She has a passion for mentoring and inspiring the next generation of leaders, has chaired and led several professional committees, including groups focused on empowering young men and women in the construction industry. Melissa is widely recognized for her commitment to these advancements, which has led her to speaking and lecturing engagements such as ENR’s Groundbreaking Women in Construction Conference, New York State Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Forums and New York University’s Project Management Capstone Project.

Melissa obtained her Civil Engineering degree from the University of New Brunswick, Canada.

I Know How She Does It


Speaker: Laura Vanderkam

Location: Arup, 77 Water Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY

Time: Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 5:30 PM -8:00 PM

Much of the literature on women, work, and life is bleak. Yet what about the women doing just fine with the juggle? Join ASHRAE Women in Engineering for a presentation by author, Laura Vanderkam, as she speaks about just this. To add hard data to the debate on whether women can “have it all,” author Laura Vanderkam collected time logs from 1001 days in the lives of women who earn six figures and also have kids. She discovered that these successful women’s lives are more balanced than the popular narrative conveys. In this talk, she shares the strategies they used to make the most of time at work and at home. Leave with ideas for spending more time on what matters, and less on what doesn’t. All attendees will receive a copy of Laura’s latest book of the same name, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time. Following the presentation there will be an hour of networking.

Laura Vanderkam is the author of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, and several other time management and productivity books, including 168 Hours, and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. Her work has appeared in Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four children.

What It Takes To Lead – Roundtable Discussion

Location: AKF, One Liberty Plaza, 165 Broadway, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Time: June 17, 2015, 5:30 PM -8:00 PM


ASHRAE Women in Engineering is pleased to invite you to a roundtable discussion with leading women in engineering, energy, and sustainability.  Moderated by Lorey Flick Roberts, ASHRAE NY Chapter President from 2014-2015, the female panelists will share their experiences on how they built their careers to where they are today and how they overcame obstacles along the way.  Dennis Campbell will share his experience working with and for women leaders. All of the panelists experiences are relative to engineering, sustainability and construction industries. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and engage the panelists in an open discussion on how to address challenges faced by women in the workplace.  Following the discussion there will be an hour of networking.

Lorey Flick Roberts, Partner, ADS Engineers, ASHRAE NY President 2014-2015


Victoria Cerami, CEO, Cerami Associates
Josephine Zurica, Principal, Dagher Engineering PLLC
Sukanya Paciorek, SVP Corporate Sustainability, Vornado Realty Trust
Dennis Campbell, Director of Marketing, AKF Group

Myths and Musts of Building a Successful Career

Speaker: Amy Siskind, The New Agenda

Location: AKF, One Liberty Plaza, 165 Broadway, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Time: March 19, 2015, 5:30 PM -8:00 PM


Think all good things come to those who wait?  Think again.  This is a myth when it comes to career building – careers don’t build themselves, so get up and start taking your career to the next level!  Join the ASHRAE Women in Engineering committee and Amy Siskind for a discussion on the myths and musts of building a successful career in engineering.  Learn how to make yourself indispensable, how to get noticed as you move up the ladder, and how to avoid common pitfalls along the way.

amy_headshotAmy Siskind is a national spokesperson, writer and expert on helping women and girls advance and succeed.  After a highly successful career as a Wall Street executive, she co-founded and is President of The New Agenda, a national organization working on various women’s issues.  Some of her television and radio appearances include: CNN, Fox News, CNBC, PBS,, NPR and Marketplace Radio.  Click here for Amy’s full bio.

Please Note: Although this event is hosted by WiE, men and women are both welcome!


About Us

Women in Engineering (WiE) is an ASHRAE New York committee.  Our members include professionals from the sustainability, energy, and engineering sectors who are committed to cultivating greater recognition and representation of women engineers in the New York tri-state area.

Get Involved

The more the merrier!  We are always looking for new members and new ideas.  Email 2015-1016 WiE Chair Michelle DeCarlo us at if you would like to join our mailing list or our planning committee.