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

Young Leaders

Time: Thursday, March 23rd, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: Arup, 77 Water Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10006

Agenda:

5:30-6:00  Registration
6:00-7:00  Round table discussion
7:00-8:00  Wine & cheese networking session
 

Admission Cost: $10 for ASHRAE Members, $15 for Non-ASHRAE Members (must register in advance, tickets will not be available at the door)

 ASHRAE Women in Engineering is pleased to invite you to a roundtable discussion with promising women in engineering and the construction industry. As requested by many of the entry level engineers, the panelists are successful mid-level engineers. The panelists will discuss how they achieved leadership success, developed their work style, and what they are doing to move forward. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and engage the panelists in an open discussion on what these women are doing to take it to the next step. A wine and cheese networking session will be provided with the panelists after the panel discussion.

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

 Moderator

 Michelle M. DeCarlo, PE, LEED AP BD+C is an Associate at Jaros, Baum & Bolles and serves on the ASHRAE NY Board of Governors as the Chair of the Women in Engineering committee. She has brought technical and creative leadership to some of New York City’s most high-profile, cutting-edge projects, from premier office buildings to airports, laboratories and healthcare facilities. Her core and shell office design for the groundbreaking 30 Hudson Yards development and 2 World Trade Center in New York City is further distinguished by her work on the Weill Cornell Medical College Belfer Research Building.

Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University and currently serves on the Villanova University Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board for the 2016-2019 school terms.

 Panelists

 Amie Carter is the Plant Operations Manager for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/Evelyn H. Lauder Breast & Imaging Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  This center focuses on the needs of breast cancer care as well as the support services for the care. She manages the engineering, maintenance, compliance/regulatory requirements (within her department) and life safety for the building.

Amie graduated from SUNY Maritime College in 2000 with a B.S. in Facilities Engineering and her Merchant Mariner License (Third Assistant Engineer).  She started working at Syska Hennessy Group upon graduation in their Central Utilities Group.  Amie is currently working on her MBA at Iona College. She is on the board for the Organization of Black Maritime Graduates (OBMG), is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

 Cassandra Leyden, PE, LEED AP is a Senior Engineer at Arup and serves as the New York and New Jersey representative on the Arup Americas Regional Diversity & Inclusion board. Specializing in high performance buildings, performing arts, and commercial office projects, she has worked in both Germany and the US as both a mechanical engineer and sustainability consultant. Ms. Leyden has had the opportunity to bring her perspective, enthusiasm, and technical skills to projects like the Lincoln Center Public Spaces Renovation, WeWork Offices, Brown University Hunter Laboratory, and the Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul. She currently serves as lead mechanical engineer on the new terminal at Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport and project manager for the MEP design of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Expansion. Cassandra is a proud Jayhawk graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Architectural Engineering.

 Kelly Westby is responsible for directing commissioning services at Steven Winter Associates.  She has developed a strong foundation in building science by completing energy audits and other research on a wide variety of existing buildings. This understanding of how buildings work (and don’t work) gives her an advantage when talking to developers, owners, contractors, and design teams about improving building performance in new construction and retrofit projects throughout the New York City area and beyond. Ms. Westby’s commissioning, energy code, and energy efficiency projects cover millions of square feet of multifamily and commercial buildings across the 5 boroughs.

 Link for Registration!

WiE in the News

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

UPDATE–

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”

A roundtable discussion with leading women in engineering and the construction industry. The panelists shared 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. 

Moderator

Kasey Pace, Director of Construction Services, GRANT engineering. 

Panelists

Beth Barton, Associate, Jaros Baum & Bolles. 

Patty McCaffery, Senior Vice President, WSP Building Systems.  

Cara Olmsted, Director of Marketing and Business Development, ConEdisonSolutions

Melissa Steeves, Project Executive, Gilbane Building Company

 

I Know How She Does It

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Speaker: Laura Vanderkam, Author of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time

 

What it Takes to Lead - Roundtable Discussion

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.

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

Panelists

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

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.

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 2015-1017 WiE Chair Michelle DeCarlo us at decarlom@jbb.com if you would like to join our mailing list or our planning committee.