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Volunteer Spotlight

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Get recognized for your dedication to ASHRAE as a volunteer. If you or a fellow volunteer share a passion for ASHRAE, please tell us more about yourself. We'll be in touch with you prior to publishing your feature.


Walter Lenzi

Walter Lenzi

SA Chair 2015-2018

What inspired you to start the mini-seminars and technical tours for students?

I was inspired by two friends, Ross Montgomery from Florida and Florentino Roson from Argentina, who are very enthusiastic about ASHRAE Student Activities. In our local chapter, we needed ways to make the students stay in touch with ASHRAE. From that need, we created several activities to make ASHRAE membership interesting and motivate members to keep participating. The most interesting thing for a student is to physically experience the things they are studying in books at school. Existing buildings and installations are living labs for students. A small seminar about the place and systems that they are going to visit, makes all the difference when spoken from the Facilities Manager and Installations Specialists of the actual site.

What are three things you would suggest to someone who wanted to engage students and young professionals in their own chapter?

  1. Organize creative activities. Students are very curious, so you need to give them new and interesting activities for them to learn, meet new friends, and network with companies.
  2. Visit universities and schools to talk with students and professors directly. They are avid for information in technology and future opportunities.
  3. Get them involved in your chapter activities. Give them the opportunity to prove themselves, to learn and lead. You will be surprise of the outcome!

How did you grow 10 Student Branches in just 5 years?

Working together as a team with students, professors and members of the local chapter. We kept in close communication organizing events, technical visits and small seminars. The exponential growth of our region was a result of hard work. With a word of mouth approach, students speaking with enthusiasm to friends and partners about the opportunities, is what attracts more enthusiastic participants.

How do we keep in touch with the students?  

During the last 4 years, we created several groups with WhatsApp for members based on their member grade and location. Through WhatsApp, all Brasil and all Region XII students and professors are connected at the touch of the fingers. The interaction in WhatsApp made it possible for participants to know one another. They connect to their student branch, to their local student activities and to their Region.

What was the most challenging part about your experience?

The most challenging parts about my experience were things outside the students activities. Brazil went through national crisis and negativity, a big depression. Keeping participants involved was very challenging. Our goal was to show individuals positive ways to make the difference and ways to impact the country positively.

Is there anything you would advise against doing?

Do not listen to excuses such as “I don’t have time for this,” “I don’t have money for this,” “it is too difficult,” “students don’t have time or money,” or “they don’t know the language.”

Focus on the goal of opening a new world of opportunities for young, smart and enthusiastic people. Find the right people to help you and keep on going.

Eleven Student Branches

Carmen Cejudo, PE

Carmen Cejudo, PE

Puget Sound Chapter, 
ASHRAE President-Elect
Region XI

Who, or what inspired you to become an engineer? 
When I was in fifth grade, I was introduced to engineering as a career path through MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement), and I haven't looked back since.

When did you first join ASHRAE? What motivated you to do so? 
I joined ASHRAE in 2011. Shortly thereafter I began studying the various Handbooks and other self-paced courses to help me in my new career as my degree is in Environmental Engineering, which has more of a focus on Civil Engineering. The ASHRAE resources helped enhance my on-the-job training.

How have you been involved in ASHRAE since joining? 
I was chosen to shadow Kevin Marple (then Director at Large for Region XI) at the ASHRAE Winter Conference in New York City through the LeaDRS program.  Since then, I've been making my way through the positions of the Puget Sound Chapter Board of Governors and am currently the President-Elect.

Is there anything that surprised you about your work as a volunteer? 
I was surprised by how hard all the volunteers throughout ASHRAE work to make the Society relevant to their careers. It can be a significant time commitment, but is very rewarding both personally and professionally. The more you give, the more you get back.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of work? 
I enjoy hiking, cooking, gardening and generally relaxing with my boyfriend and cat (especially after a big deadline goes out the door).

What is your proudest accomplishment in your volunteer role? 
Completely reworking our chapter website and membership database.  It's still a work in progress, but has been very helpful with tracking meeting registrations, sponsorships, news, etc.

What do you think prospective volunteers should know? 
ASHRAE is a big family and there is a role for everyone.