Artificial intelligence (AI) policy: ASHRAE prohibits the entry of content from any ASHRAE publication or related ASHRAE intellectual property (IP) into any AI tool, including but not limited to ChatGPT. Additionally, creating derivative works of ASHRAE IP using AI is also prohibited without express written permission from ASHRAE.

logoShaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

2022-23 President Farooq Mehboob, P.E.
Farewell Address

Share This

2022-23 ASHRAE President Farooq Mehboob, P.E.
Farewell Address | 2023 ASHRAE Annual Conference
Securing Our Future | Manuscript

In my inaugural presidential address, I spoke about the era of unpredictability that we are facing. I reminded you that the future does not belong to those who sit and watch, but instead we must seek it create it and secure it, and that’s exactly what we have been doing this past year because it’s in our ASHRAE DNA.

I am going to report on the work Society has undertaken in the past year, what we have achieved, what’s ongoing currently and what needs to be done in the future.

I have been amazed by the dedication of our volunteers and staff who have tirelessly worked to move our society forward and secure its future.

Especially gratifying has been the work of the board of directors and senior leadership, they didn’t just make decisions, they actually pitched in, did the heavy lifting and led from the front.

That’s real leadership.

We leveraged relationships, knowledge, and change as the formula to securing our future.

I had pointed out that the two main challenges to securing our future that we faced were:

First: Silos. At ASHRAE silos are:

  • Slowing us down from taking necessary action or adopting improvements.
  • Preventing opportunities to “cross-pollinate” ideas and leverage relationships.

Second: Resistance to change. Our resistance to change is limiting our ability to adapt and develop in a manner consistent with the evolving needs of our members and the rapidly changing landscape of our industry.

The key to addressing these challenges lies in making ASHRAE more transparent and encouraging greater participation, to do that diversity, equity and inclusion are critical.

The initiatives of the 22-23 society theme Securing Our Future were developed to address the challenges we faced by leveraging our wide ranging and diverse global relationships, harvesting accurate and reliable knowledge about the state of our industries and market and using our relationships and knowledge to effect change.

Our six initiatives for the 22-23 Society Year were:

  • Make ASHRAE more transparent
  • Encourage greater participation by our members in society and regional activities
  • Make ASHRAE truly diverse
  • Harness, the power of our relationships
  • Harvest information in the service of our members
  • Embrace, change by streamlining, society, structure, and processes

An action item list was developed for each initiative and a champion chosen to follow up on progress and report on the status of the action item. We called the group who followed up on the action items during the course of the entire year “The Champions Club.”

To make ASHRAE more transparent, board and council meetings were live streamed so members could join in from around the world, board the agendas were sent to chapter officers and a quarterly newsletter from the board to Chapter presidents, was started. I am pleased to report that —— members joined board meetings virtually.

We recognized that transparency is key to increasing participation, the work of our technical committees which is central to generating the knowledge base which helps us drive our mission of a heathy built environment for all needs to be highlighted to our grassroots members encouraging them to connect with our technical committees and participate in technical activities. Members Council has added a new role of TC liaison for our chapters who would have access to run TC reports and would be tasked to promote grassroots members involvement in TC’s. TC’s will be reminded to update information on their meetings and agendas on the ASHRAE website and Distinguished Lecturers will include information on TC’s that are relevant to their presentation topic to further connect our grassroots to the technical side of our Society.

To encourage greater participation of our members it was recognized that there are barriers for our best and brightest members to participate and these barriers are not only financial. The YEA, Membership Promotion and Student Activities committees are working on ways to facilitate participation by our younger members and will be presenting a long-term plan for our review to overcome these obstacles.

The Finance Committee has developed a new presentation, which was used at the board orientation and spring CRC’s. This training presentation focuses on financial management and accounting as well as local tax and legal compliance. It is important for our grassroots members to understand ASHRAE’s financial reports, which also enhances transparency and encourages participation.

To further expand participation, we have developed and are continuing to develop products and services directed to different parts of the world. The training and education committee is working to make ASHRAE programs more localized as well as translated into local languages. This effort has involved PubEd council as well as the board subcommittee on strategic business development.

Along these same lines, Tech Council and PubEd Council have developed a process for approving publication of locally generated technical materials in 45 days, ExCom has approved this change and implementation is underway.

To make ASHRAE truly diverse new training programs, webinars and podcasts to improve DEI across our society have been developed under the leadership of Adrienne Thomle chair of the board subcommittee on DEI. A new page was created on our website which has five videos for membership to use in order to incorporate the DEI initiatives into ASHRAE, the board subcommittee has prepared presentations for the staff as well as chapters and regions which are being tracked by the DEI Ambassadors in each region.

To harness the power of our relationships around the world, global HVACR summit was held in Istanbul on October 10 and 11 2022 to identify the critical issues of the day from stakeholders and develop an action plan to address them. The summit was held in conjunction with the RAL CRC. The final report of the summit which includes recommendations has since been distributed to all stakeholders is also being translated into Spanish French and Romanian and posted online. One of the six critical issues of the day explored by the Summit was decarbonization. ASHRAE is doing a huge amount of work on decarbonization, at the society level and developing products and services which are related to decarbonization. Members Council is addressing how we can empower our members to be ambassadors for promoting decarbonization.

To harvest information in the service of our members, a program of industry roundtables was initiated, industry leaders from different segments of the industry, academia, and ASHRAE leadership attended the summits. Summits have been held in Tokyo, Istanbul Madrid, Atlanta Miami, Monterey, Lacrosse and Edmonton, in conjunction with CRC’s and society meetings. They have provided valuable insights on industry trends and needs and how ASHRAE can best connect to our market, besides building important connections with industry and academia. Due to their great success, I believe that going forward, these round tables will be continued. Our Regional Directors Forum is reviewing lessons learned for further action.

Members Council is working on a plan to connect Chapter members from around the world, which will expand the harvesting of information from our members. This plan is expected to be completed by the end of this meeting.

ASHRAE’s efforts to streamline have been going on for more than 15 years. I’m happy to report that finally we are beginning to move the needle. The board subcommittee on streamlining led by Sarah Maston worked hard and submitted proposals which were recently approved by the board of directors. The proposal included a new organization structure in which fewer committees report to the board and EXCOM, thereby freeing their time for strategic work. An Advisory Board, including members from outside ASHRAE, will be created to advise the board on industry trends and strategic matters, which will inject a much-needed strategic perspective into their decision-making.

Members Council has also streamlined its processes, wherein committee chairs reporting to members council will now be voting members and board EXO’s will be non-voting. To speed up our work, councils and committees have been given more autonomy leading to faster service to our members. 

All of the initiatives we outlined at the beginning of the year will raise our Society’s profile if we can connect this great work with the ASHRAE brand. To accomplish the important goal, Director Kishor Khankari has put forward recommendations that are currently before the board.

I am happy to report that sixteen out of the nineteen actions to support the society theme of ‘Securing Our Future’ have been completed, three actions are ongoing. This would not have been possible without the dedication of folks who championed the society theme and formed what we call the Champions Club. I am truly grateful for their work. They deserve a big round of applause.

During the year, our board of directors has done Yeoman’s work. I constituted three board subcommittees. The subcommittee charged with bringing a financial focus to ASHRAE was led by our treasurer Dennis Knight. We now have an integrated a monthly dashboard, showing ASHRAE’s financials at a glance, and the committee has set in place procedures for approval of funds and limits of fiscal authority.

The subcommittee for developing new products and services, which are critical to ASHRAE‘s continued relevance and securing our future was led by Vice President Dunstan Macauley. The committee continues to work on new products and services, which is an ongoing, long-term effort.

Please give a big round of applause to our great board.

I would now like to report on ad hoc committees and task forces appointed during the year and the stellar work they did to Secure Our Future and to move our society forward.   They were set up to take a deep dive into pressing issues of concern to ASHRAE. The details are on the screen.

  • The ad hoc on ASHRAE at International Conferences was charged to review, prioritize and recommend ASHRAE’s participation at international conferences.
  • The ad hoc on policies for collaboration was charged to review our collaboration with other societies and develop plans on meaningful collaboration.
  • The ad hoc on brand recognition was charged with studying and recommending how the ASHRAE brand’s global recognition could be enhanced. An ASHRAE Brand Ambassador Program has been proposed.
  • The ad hoc on staff succession planning was charged with developing policies which would provide ASHRAE with a trained staff pool to fill vacancies.

The work of these groups will help ASHRAE navigate the fast-changing environment in which we operate.

The ASHRAE, task force on building decarbonization led by Presidential Member, Kent Peterson has been burning the midnight oil to make ASHRAE the world leader in building decarbonization science. They:

  • Published the Building Performance Standards: A Technical Resource Guide, which was developed to provide a technical basis for policymakers, building owners, practitioners and other stakeholders interested in developing and implementing a BPS policy. 
  • They introduced a video titled “Building Decarbonization: An Overview and Introduction: Leading with Action. This is the first of four video that will be featured on the TFBD’s resource page –
  • Six additional decarbonization guides are under development.
  • The Task Force is working with our standards, project committees to address, greenhouse, gas emissions, they are collaborating on joint building, decarbonization initiatives with other organizations, and providing Ashrae chapter education on decarbonization.

Our Task Force for International Standards Interaction has been working to globalize ASHRAE standards and propagate them around the world. The Task Force unanimously recommends that the Board ExCom approve the formation of a new standing committee named the Global Technical Interaction Committee which reports to the Technology Council. The purpose of this new standing committee is to harness the technical resources of ASHRAE to impact international standards and maximize the global influence of ASHRAE standards, guidelines, and other technical work products on the practice of HVAC&R and the built environment.

In November of last year, ASHRAE received an invitation from the White House COVID response team led by Dr. Ashish Jha to discuss the development of an IAQ standard focused on pathogen mitigation. ASHRAE rose to the challenge and began development of the new Pathogen Mitigation Standard 241, led by presidential member Bill Bahnfleth, which was completed in the record time. Distended draws on the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and underscores that buildings can play an important role in respiratory pathogen transmission. Our existing standards and building codes do not address airborne infection, risk mitigation. It is the first consensus standard that establishes minimum requirements for airborne infection, risk mitigation, and will equip buildings with the capability to respond to future pandemics, as well as endemic diseases like influenza. The standard applies to new and existing buildings, including a wide range of building types and covers planning, design, operation, maintenance and commissioning and specifies requirements for use in “infection risk management mode “if needed.

We are proud of the fact that ASHRAE was recognized and chosen to do this work of national and global importance and we did it in record time, evidence that our work on streamlining is working to the benefit of all.

During the year, we have built and strengthened our existing relationships to deliver tangible results, we have worked with UNEP with whom we have a long-standing relationship of 16 years to develop and implement a far-reaching work plan significantly deepening our engagement on a global scale. This Work Plan will reach out across the globe, to bring ASHRAE standards and technical ability to developing economies to help them address the critical issues of the day.

We have entered into a new MOU, with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization to collaborate on the production of guidelines to produce more sustainable, resilient health care buildings in Latin America. These efforts were led by Presidential Member, Tim Wentz.

Additionally, we have engaged with governments in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to develop the work force of the future, campaign for climate change awareness and the use of absorption cooling technologies in the Middle East.

As I reflect back on the past 12 months, I would like to highlight three individuals whose leadership in this past year was key to our success. They were the giants on whose shoulders I stood, they have given so much of their time and wisdom to ASHRAE. Please join me in celebrating their relentless dedication to ASHRAE‘s goals and objectives, they answered the call and exemplify all that is good in volunteer service to ASHRAE. They are presidential members Tim Wentz, Kent Peterson and Bill Bahnfleth. Please join me on stage Please give them a big hand.

During the year, ASHRAE leadership traveled to events in many different parts of the world, in all ASHRAE leadership attended more than 60 events. I and Dennis Knight represented ASHRAE at COP27 the climate change conference in Egypt last November. We presented on sustainable strategies for the built environment in the global south in collaboration with Architecture, 2030.

I had the great honor to attend the CRCs of regions 10, 12, 13, 14 and RAL. All of my CRC visits were truly memorable. The hospitality of our chapters was heartwarming. I missed traveling to CRCs of regions 8, 11 and 12 due to my visa issues, which also prevented me from visiting more regions.

Throughout my ASHRAE career, my family has been my bedrock, they stood beside me and helped me, they took care of our business while I attended to my ASHRAE duties. I couldn’t have done it without them.

In conclusion, we had a very busy and successful year, our conferences and EXPO did very well and we got a great deal done.

ASHRAE volunteers and staff are amazing. It is their passion for our great society that propels us to excellence.

God bless you and thank you for the honor of serving as your president.