Matt Church, President
Coming into my last month as the President of the So Cal Chapter of ASHRAE, I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard this year to make the chapter as fun and fulfilling as possible for all of its members. It has been a very productive year, with a lot of new events, exciting meetings, and great member participation. As my last message to the chapter, I wanted to explain my reason for being involved in ASHRAE and what it means to me as someone in the HVAC industry.
ASHRAE got me hired! My introduction to ASHRAE came as a student in college, participating in the HVAC club on campus. We were lucky to have generous alumni, also ASHRAE members, who sponsored scholarships for engineers involved with the student ASHRAE chapter. The condition being that they also worked a summer internship with a company in the HVAC industry. This combination of ASHRAE and local industry support was formative in my decision to pursue HVAC as a mechanical engineering student. The support of the student ASHRAE chapter on campus and its relationship with local businesses around California in the HVAC industry is what provided me with the contacts needed to get my first job; at the company I still work for. I have heard stories similar to mine from many young engineers over the years who can point to ASHRAE as directly helping them with establishing their careers in HVAC and making the jump from student to industry professional. This is one of the pillars of ASHRAE Society; national level scholarships and student outreach, along with local level chapter scholarships and activities. Not to forget the extremely generous support of ASHRAE members. The So Cal Chapter has continued through the years to work closely with educational programs in our area and fund scholarships for many students every year. It is an effort that is personally important to me, as I benefited from these programs myself and hope to continue to make sure students benefit from these same opportunities that ASHRAE provides.
ASHRAE is a community! As I transitioned from student into full time professional, ASHRAE was an excellent way for me to reach out and further develop contacts in the industry. Many of the local chapter members I had met as a student, visiting the chapter for the annual Student Night. Through attending the monthly meetings, I was able to network with many other professionals in the industry that I may not have had a chance to interact with if not for ASHRAE. This helped tremendously as both a network of resources for information, and as a way to quickly feel integrated into the culture of our industry. Being an active part of the ASHRAE community has made pursuing a career in HVAC more successful, enjoyable and easier. This great resource of information, provided by the cumulative years of experience that our ASHRAE members have, is one of the most valuable incentives for young members who are starting their careers to get involved with ASHRAE.
ASHRAE rewards effort! I was first introduced to the benefits of volunteering with ASHRAE when planning a local Spring Seminar, my first chairperson role with the So Cal Chapter. By taking on the planning of this seminar I was able to meet and speak with dozens of engineers in the area about ASHRAE and the topics we covered that year. All in my first year out of school. It jumpstarted my professional network in a way that would not have been possible without the infrastructure of ASHRAE in place. To this day, that has continued to propel me through my career. Over the years, volunteering with ASHRAE has introduced me to members of our industry far and wide beyond the local chapter area. I have been able to speak to and learn from many of the professionals who play integral parts in shaping our industry and the environments we live it. The education and experience this has provided are invaluable to me. As President, my number one goal has been to increase membership participation. I believe strongly that ASHRAE has a lot to give within its community, but it takes getting out there and getting involved to be rewarded.
ASHRAE supports its members! At the national level and the local level, ASHRAE continues to help support the education and professional development of its members. Seminars, technical presentations, jobsite tours, research, the list goes on. It is very easy for me, and I imagine many others, to get caught up in the world of my own profession within the HVAC industry and ASHRAE community. By continuing to stay involved with ASHRAE, I get a lot of professional support and education, helping to keep myself up to speed on new trends, technological advancements, government regulations, and all of the other details that are important, but may not intersect with my day to day professional life. At the local level, the chapter acts like a hive of information, bringing together people with a multitude of experiences who can share and advise each other. This level of support and interaction not only help the industry, it helps me personally, and it helps my business. It is always telling to me, that when members are looking for work, they often come to the monthly meetings to network and make the community aware of their availability. The support of ASHRAE is there.
ASHRAE is a way to give back! This industry has been great to many of us, and provided us with meaningful careers, working to actively shape our world. It has brought prosperity to many, and provided satisfaction that the work we are doing is positively impacting our community. With a small amount of time, I feel like I have been able to give back to this community by helping to continue to make ASHRAE valuable to its members. Our chapter this year established a mentorship program where our more experienced members who would like to give back and share that experience can mentor student members or young professionals (YEA). I hope to see this program grow as the years go on and see many of those young members learn from the experiences of their peers and be able to share those lessons with future young engineers who join our industry.
I hope that all of the So Cal Chapter members feel that ASHRAE has benefited them in some way. It means something different to all of us, and we all participate in different ways, but at the end of the day, the goal is to make ASHRAE an asset to those who contribute and participate in it. It has been a pleasure to help try and grow the local chapter, and I am looking forward to continuing to stay involved in my role as a "past-president".
2012-2013 Southern California ASHRAE President