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What Happened in ASHRAEVegas: An Insider’s View

What Happened in ASHRAEVegas: An Insider’s View

by Benjamin Skelton

This post is part two of What Happened in ASHRAEVegas: a series about the 2017 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Cyclone Energy Group is involved with ASHRAE at the local, regional, and international level, and we’ll be sharing our various perspectives throughout the series.


February 10, 2017

My first ASHRAE conference was in 2005. I’d gone to the AHR Expo before but in January 2005 I went to my first ever Society conference and meeting in Orlando, Florida. I remember sitting in the hallway of the conference center and not knowing a single person. I was the youngest person to be seen for miles and it was an intimidating environment. I was invited to Orlando at that time to try launch a new initiative aimed at getting young members in ASHRAE engaged. We later named that group YEA or Young Engineers in ASHRAE (ASHRAE Members under the age of 35).

Fast forward to 2017: I look around and there are active members at the Society much younger than I was, and they are everywhere! YEA members are not just at the conference but swarming the standing and technical committees, volunteering and interjecting their ideas. There is a new energy like never before. This year there is a new focus on women in ASHRAE. It’s fantastic to see the focus and energy this new group within ASHRAE has. I can only envision the movement for women in ASHRAE being as, if not more, successful than YEA.

Twelve years after my first conference and meeting I can’t believe where I find myself; this guy who knew no one is now sitting at the round table of the Board of Directors for a global organization with over 57,000 members representing 126 countries. It’s a great honor to serve this Society and to represent the more than 4,700 members of my Region (Region VI).

FullSizeRender-edited3Board of Directors Meeting

When you’re on the Board you get to see and do a little bit of everything! And it’s amazing. There truly is no other organization in the World with balanced industry representation that works on consensus standards, guidelines and other publications that drive the future of the built environment. The one takeaway I see consistently from these meetings is the dedication of our members. Many volunteer their knowledge and time at their own personal cost. All for the advancement of our collective future.

The state of ASHRAE has never been stronger.  From YEA members taking more leadership roles to more Women in our industry, to more perspective internationally, ASHRAE has a strong future and even more important role as the global leader, the foremost source of technical and educational information, and the primary provider of opportunity for professional growth in the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.

I’m also proud to support members of my office who want to participate in this effort. This year Joanne Choi attended her first conference (A Beginner’s Guide) and Will Mak and Frank Kohout (A Technical Member’s View) made a difference in their technical committees. It can be hard on a business to take so many people out of the office for a week, but it’s an extremely valuable investment. We have a voice in the future of our industry, we are educated and we are respected for our contributions.

IMG_20170201_130144-edited5From Left to Right – Cyclone’s Frank Kohout, Will Mak, & Joanne Choi

The next ASHRAE Conference/Meeting is in Long Beach in late June. I’m already looking forward to Southern California and meeting with my ASHRAE family once again. I’m so excited to see the next Winter Conference taking place in my hometown of Chicago in 2018, thirteen years after my very first ASHRAE meeting.