Women in ASHRAE

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.

WiA Upcoming Events

Distinctly Different - Skillsets for Women to Succeed in STEM Fields

Time: Friday, Nov 15th, 2019 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Location: JB&B, 80 Pine Street, New York, NY

Agenda: The intent of this presentation is to provide women the non-technical tools need for success in their STEM careers.  The primary outcome for the audience is to better appreciate gender differences by gaining understanding and perspective.  This knowledge results in more effective management and navigation of challenging workplace situations.  Specific topics include: stereotypes, confidence, communication, leadership, and success.  This is a very appropriate presentation for women but men that are in the position of working with, managing, and mentoring women will also find the information and insight helpful as they work to promote women in the workplace.

Speaker Biography

Julia Keen is a professor of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science at Kansas State University with a specialty in HVAC, energy codes, and integrated building design. She has a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University, where she also received a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Architectural Engineering. She also owns her own consulting engineering company Keen Designs, PA. Julia is a licensed professional engineer and an ASHRAE-certified High-Performance Building Design Professional (HBDP) and Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP). She currently serves as an ASHRAE Vice President and Vice Chair of Publication and Education Council.


WiA 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.

WiA Past Events


Developing an Integrated Personal Management System to Help Get Things Done

Speaker: ASHRAE Distinguished Leader

Take It From a Millennial

Speaker: ASHRAE Distinguished Leader, Pamela Duffy

7 Steps to Help Launch Your Business Idea Into Action

Speakers: Seema Alexander & Annmarie Bhola

Young Leaders Panel


 Michelle M. DeCarloJaros, Baum & Bolles


 Amie Carter, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

 Cassandra LeydenArup 

 Kelly Westby, Steven Winter Associates

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. 


Kasey Pace, Director of Construction Services, GRANT engineering. 


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


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.

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

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 [email protected] if you would like to join our mailing list or our planning committee.