logoShaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

ASHRAE Journal Podcast Episode 16

 ← All Episodes 


Left, Eleazar Rivera; Jeannette Hay; Cuauhtemoc Aguirre

Diversity in HVAC&R—Driving Technology Through Workforce Development

Host: John Falcioni

Join three ASHRAE volunteer leaders from Mexico—Jeannette Hay, Associate Member ASHRAE, the current president of the Monterrey chapter; Eleazar Rivera, Member ASHRAE, past president of the Monterrey chapter; and Cuauhtemoc Aguirre, Member ASHRAE, the president of the Guadalajara chapter—in a conversation with ASHRAE Journal Editor John Falcioni on the impact of Latinos in the HVAC&R industry in North and South America… and much more!

 Escucha en Español

Diversidad en HVAC&R—Impulsar la Tecnología a Través del

Desarrollo de la Fuerza Laboral

Anfitrión: John Falcioni

Unase a tres líderes voluntarios de ASHRAE de México: Jeannette Hay, presidenta de la sección de Monterrey en México; Eleazar Rivera, ex presidente de la sección de Monterrey; y Cuauhtemoc Aguirre, presidente de la sección de Guadalajara, en una conversación con el editor de ASHRAE Journal, John Falcioni, sobre el impacto de los latinos en la industria de HVAC&R en América del Norte y América del Sur… y mucho más!

 Vea el podcast-video aquí

Interested in reaching the global HVACR engineering leaders with one program? Contact Greg Martin at 01 678-539-1174 | gmartin@ashrae.org.

¿Está interesado en llegar a los líderes mundiales en ingeniería HVACR con publicidad en un podcast? Póngase en contacto con Greg Martín: 01 678-539-1174 | gmartin@ashrae.org.

Available on:  Spotify  Apple Podcasts  Google Podcasts
Podcast Addict | And Other Podcast Players
RSS FeedDownload the episode in English | Download the episode in Spanish

Do you have questions or comments? Let us know!
  • Guest Bios

    Eleazar Rivera Mata, Member ASHRAE, is an HVAC&R entrepreneur and consultant with experience in strategic planning, technology commercialization and the development of products and innovation on projects related to sustainability, energy efficiency and decarbonization for the public and private sectors. He serves as Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEA) chair and is a former president of the ASHRAE Monterrey Chapter. Eleazar holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and an MBA in Finance. He was awarded the YEA Developing Leader Award in 2020 and the YEA Award of Individual Excellence in 2022.

    Jeanette Hay, Associate Member ASHRAE, is Procurement Manager at TECSIR Refrigeration Technology Systems, a chiller design and manufacturing company located in Monterrey, Mexico, and president of the ASHRAE Monterrey Chapter. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and was awarded her MBA from EGADE Business School. Jeanette has been honored twice as Outstanding Chapter Communications Chair, ASHRAE Region VIII.

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre, Member ASHRAE, started his career in 1992 in a family company. He is the founder and president of Pacific Sistemas y Servicios SA de CV and is a founding member and president of the ASHRAE Guadalajara Chapter. Cuauhtemoc studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, earning a degree in electromechanical industrial engineering.

  • Transcription

    ASHRAE Journal:

    ASHRAE Journal presents.

    John Falcioni:

    Hi everyone. And welcome back. This is ASHRAE journal podcast episode number 16. I'm today's host, John Falcioni, the editor of ASHRAE Journal. This podcast is different than the other ones we've done. To commemorate national Hispanic heritage month, we're presenting this podcast in English. And we're also producing a companion podcast in Spanish. In whatever language you prefer to listen, we think you'll really enjoy this conversation. Today we're joined by three engineers who are ASHRAE members and who work and live in Mexico. They'll give us their insights on the differences between HVAC&R in the US and in Latin America and provide some perspectives on why it's so important to ensure that diversity is a consideration in engineering workforce development initiatives in our industry. We'll also give you a sense of what's on tap at the recent AHR Mexico conference and exhibit event, which was held in Guadalajara in September.

    The event was co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI. But before introducing our panel, I want to put the workforce development topic in some perspective. A few years ago the global management consulting firm surveyed 1700 companies of different sizes from around the world. It looked at diversity within those companies and compared it over three years with revenue that those companies generated from new products. What Boston Consulting found is fascinating. Companies with above average diversity scores received 45% of their revenue from new products, but companies with below average diversity scores received only 26% of their revenue from new products. This is not the only study that's been conducted that shows the financial benefits of diversity. In fact, there are many from different research firms which equally show that a diverse workforce brings different ideas to the product development process. A diverse workforce has not only been shown to help create better products, but also a healthier bottom line. With us today are three ASHRAE volunteer leaders from Mexico.

    The first is Jeanette Hay. She's the current president of the Monterrey chapter. Eleazar Rivera is the past president of the same Monterrey chapter. And Cuauhtemoc Aguirre is the current president of the Guadalajara chapter, which was the ASHRAE chapter that hosted this year's AHR Mexico event. In addition to all that they do for ASHRAE, Jeanette is procurement manager at TECSIR Refrigeration Technology Systems, a chiller design and manufacturing company located in Monterrey. Eleazar is an HVAC&R entrepreneur and consultant who works on strategic planning, technology commercialization, and development. And Cuauhtemoc is the founder and president of Pacific Sistemas y Servicios SA, an integrated and comprehensive HVAC&R company in Guadalajara. To read their full bios please visit the ASHRAE Journal podcast page on ashrae.org.

    So we're so glad to have you all with us today. Let's start with a personal experience question. I'm going to direct it to you, Eleazar, but obviously the perspectives of everyone are welcome. So tell me, what's it like to be a Latino in the HVAC&R industry, and why is it important to have Latin American voices in the industry and also in ASHRAE?

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    Well, hello John. It is an honor for me to represent Latin America and being in an edition of this podcast. And of course, to share this talk with friends that I appreciate very much. You see, John, something that I have noticed over the years, talking with friends who are also active members in other chapters across Latin America, is that more than an impediment, we, on this side of the border, understand the world Latino more as a feeling, a way of living, and we focus on the values and qualities that our culture has. It's different in each country, but similar between us and they are such as passion for the HVACR and also the optimism when we face challenges.

    It is also known that we are friendly and that we like to support each other as in the family environment, that is a constant in our chapters and of course in the way that we develop projects in the professional world. We need Latino representation there in society, because some issues need to be addressed from our perspective in order to accomplish our mission that is to serve humanity by advancing the arts and science of heating ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and their allied fields.

    John Falcioni:

    Yeah, that's great. Cuauhtemoc, do you want to comment on that as well?

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Yes, but in different way. I think this question have several answers. This is my own experience and my perspective. To be a Latino in ASHRAE or in the HVAC industry today, it's much easier than 30 years ago. I remember when I start this job, the first problem that I have to face was the language, because every book, every brochure, all the information was in English. So, you have to translate all that knowledge to try to understand it because more than the language, even you have to do the math to write the info for the metric to the American system.

    And today, it's much easier for the young engineers to access all that info in that language. Even you can search for the info on the web and you will find everything. Or in the apps in their phones, but at 30 years ago we didn't have any of that. So today, we have a lot of Latinos working in ASHRAE, making a big effort, doing investigations and working really hard, but also doing the translation for the people who doesn't speak English. So, that's the reason I think, in my own experience it's very important to have Latinos in ASHRAE.

    John Falcioni:

    That makes a lot of sense, Cuauhtemoc. And Jeanette I'm going to let you answer the question, of course, but you add an extra layer to this because you're not only Latina, but you're also a Latina woman and you're a young woman in a largely male dominated industry so, what are your comments and insights on this?

    Jeanette Hay:

    Yes, of course. I, like Cuauhtemoc would also like to share my own experience. Personally well, we are a family owned chiller manufacturing company and previously we just focused on the Mexican and Latin American market. However, thanks to the free trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, we have been able to begin expanding into the US market. So it's an opportunity for us, as a Mexican manufacturing company to prove our quality, our service and professionalism in the US HVAC field. And we especially pride ourselves in our service to our customers which really comes from our Latino culture, where we highly value family, hospitality and service. So that translates into our work which has sets us aside from the competition. So what I have found from my personal experience is that it's really important to count with a diverse workplace where industry professionals from different backgrounds, cultures, and ideas can come together to create a more well-rounded workplace where creativity, innovations and productivity can flourish.

    And I very much so see this in action especially in ASHRAE in the society. I know ASHRAE has the commitment to provide a welcoming environment for people regardless of age, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or education. And the fact that ASHRAE Journal podcast has given, us the Mexican chapters, this platform where we can talk about our experiences in the industry and in the society as Latinos, it really proves that commitment and the fact that society is proactively pursuing and celebrating this diversity. And of course, understanding that by doing so leads to more creative ideas and solutions, not only for our society, but for the communities that our volunteers serve.

    So personally for me, it's an honor to have been given this opportunity to be a Latino voice in ASHRAE and to be the representation for all Latino chapters. And as you mentioned, John, not only as a Latino but as a woman in this society. And as you mentioned in the beginning this podcast is a historic episode since it's the first episode that we'll have that section in Spanish. And I really want to recognize that I just want to thank you all for allowing us to have this platform and celebrating also our culture which is part of ASHRAE as a whole as well.

    John Falcioni:

    It's our pleasure. So Jeanette since we're talking about culture and Eleazar spoke about the spirit, tell us about that special spirit that Latinos are known to have. So how does it live within the ASHRAE chapters in Mexico?

    Jeanette Hay:

    Right. So, as I mentioned we do have very family oriented values, and I would like to give an example of how we live that Latin spirit within our chapters in Mexico. So in Mexico we have three different chapters, which is the Guadalajara, Monterrey chapter and also Mexico City. Most of us might know the AHR Expo in the US. The ASHRAE as society they put on also the winter meeting, which also they have this conference program with technical sessions. However, here in the AHR expo is a little bit different. Here in Mexico, the host ASHRAE chapter puts on the conference program. So the Monterrey chapter, we have had quite a few years of experience doing so and for the first time this year, Guadalajara hosted the conference program during the AHR Expo. So because we have the experience as the Monterrey chapter, putting on these conferences, we have reached out to our sister chapter, which is Guadalajara and have reached out to help them during the conference, the organization and the executing the conferences. And of course they have also helped us so it really works as a family. We see each other as sister chapters and we take care of each other. And also the Mexico City chapter has been helping us a lot too so we really have that family bond. And you see that as well with our own members. That’s how we grow as a chapter, because we live out these Latin cultures within our chapters as well.

    John Falcioni:

    So, is it also important to have professional diversity within the Mexican chapters or how does that work out?

    Jeanette Hay:

    Yeah, so I believe that diverse backgrounds in the workplace or in the chapters, for example, they really bring a wealth of ideas and perspectives. As it has been proven when different voices are sitting in this metaphorical table and included in key decisions, the entire community benefits from greater solutions that address concerns from all people. Again, whether it be education, government, business, environment, or own chapters, ensuring that all voices are represented results in better and more thoughtful decisions. These improved decisions support the greater good that will help us build stronger communities and chapters in turn, we are in the position more than ever, where we have to come together and welcome this industry professionals with the diverse backgrounds to set those creative and innovative strategies and solutions on how to design produce and operate more efficient and sustainable HVAC products for the future of our world.

    John Falcioni:

    Cuauhtemoc, how do the technical and professional sectors of HVAC&R in Mexico interact in the field?

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    That's a very good question. In Mexico, as in Latin America, contractors and engineers coexist in a very unique way. In construction projects, whether commercial or residential or industrial, the one that carries the weight in the opinion of the contractor and later the design part, which is contrary to the US. For this reason, it is much more important to professionalize the technical sector and provide tools, pass it on the science and engineering to have profitable, healthy, and efficient buildings.

    John Falcioni:

    Eleazar, can you comment on the current panorama of the HVAC industry in Mexico and Latin America? So in other words, what are the hot technical trends that Mexico and the rest of Latin America are dealing with today?

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    Ooh, that's a good one. Let's talk then about the hot topics here. Energy efficiency, adaptation to climate change and water stress and above all, as Cuauhtemoc said, the professionalization of the technical and contractor sector. Well, the population is growing and with them, the HVACR needs. Heat waves are getting bigger and heat will notable populations or those who did not have these needs, I don't know, 10 years ago. I believe that the overall is related to energy efficiency, good practices and again, this climate adaptation.

    Jeanette Hay:

    If I could chime in as well, John, so something I was reading the other day that really impacted me is that out of the 20 top emerging countries in the world, five of them are located in Latin America. Which are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. And these countries have rapidly growing economies and currently we see evidence of such in the rapid development of the infrastructure in our cities. So what does that mean for the HVAC industry in Mexico and Latin America? Well, as Eleazar mentioned, we have an increased demand in all aspects of the HVAC industry. From contractors to manufacturers to service technicians and everybody involved in the field. Whether it be for residential, industrial or commercial applications, we are living that huge growth at this very moment.

    John Falcioni:

    So, what would you say are the differences between HVAC&R work in Latin America and the United States? Are things done differently in Latin America than they are here in the United States?

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    I believe that the biggest challenge for Mexico and Latin America in relation to HVACR is the following: regulations. In Europe and in the United States and in Canada, there are energy codes and construction standards with processes that require an auditor to constantly ensure that buildings and homes comply with them. On this side, the great challenge is not only to work on these standards, which by the way, there are many friends here in Latin America who are working hand in hand with governments to achieve this goal. The real challenge is to give it continuity. And for us in this side, for the government to allocate resources from the state to follow up the audit and the training part. So I believe that again, regulations it's a key here in Latin America, and that's the real difference between US and the reality that we are living in.

    Jeanette Hay:

    I think that's a really good point. Something else I have also noticed is that in the United States, you will see that in the HVAC industry, it is led by the big, well known corporations. Here in Latin America there's such a strong entrepreneur spirit, which specifically in the HVAC industry, it has opened a door for small to medium companies to enter the industry. And we see that most of these companies are entrepreneurships or family owned. And these companies are now in that playing field with the larger corporations. And just now in this podcast you will see that there's a diverse professionals in the HVAC industry, you have Cuauhtemoc as contractor, Eleazar as a consultant and myself working in a manufacturing company. So that really is the essence of what is the Latin American in the HVAC industry and what I see as a difference between the Latin America and the US market.

    ASHRAE Journal:

    Seeking a job in the engineering field, or searching for the most qualified engineers? The ASHRAE career center connects opportunities and candidates. Search for jobs, manage your resume and create alerts for when jobs are posted. Employers post new jobs, review resumes and manage recruiting. Go to jobs.ashrae.org.

    John Falcioni:

    Cuauhtemoc you started your own company in Mexico. How does the HVACR market fit in Mexico? What's its importance and why did you decide to open up your business there?

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Well, I'm following the family tradition. I started to work in the family business 30 years ago. I learned how beauty could be this industry, because every day you face a different challenge and you learn a lot of different things. A lot of customers, a lot of necessities. It's very fun and it's very noble as a business. All the year you have work. You have something to do, you have someone to help so, it's very important to me to express that as a family business, the wellness of my family becomes to this business. I hope keeping doing this for a lot of years.

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    We hope also.

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Yeah.

    John Falcioni:

    That's well said, Cuauhtemoc. And so looking at sort the future of HVAC&R in the Spanish speaking community and also looking at sort of the changing climate of the world and the way that the engineering is done in developing countries, what do you think the future of our industry will be moving forward?

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    As we've been talking the planet is getting warmer. The economy and the population are increasing and with them, HVACR needs. When people and owners think about acquiring or developing a project, they tend to opt for cheap systems. And in the long term they lead to higher maintaining cost and whatnot. Likewise, currently in Mexico and most parts of Latin America, we still produce energy through fossil resources. So we increase carbon emissions into the environment, creating a loop. We consume energy to cool the spaces while we heat the environment and that creates increasing energy requirements to re-cool that spaces and so on and so on and so on. We need better technologies here in Latin America that do not compromise the budget and that deliver reliable cooling or heating indoor quality and energy efficiency at the same time. I believe that is the core idea of the future HVACR. What do you think guys?

    Jeanette Hay:

    Yes. I think it's a really good point. I mean Eleazar is an expert in this topic and he said it very well. Climate change is expected to have a widespread impacts in Mexico and Latin America. Which in fact, we have already been witnesses of. We have seen and will continue to see significant increases in temperature. In fact, many cities in central Mexico, which a few years ago did not need air conditioning and buildings due to stable comfortable temperatures year round are now requiring air conditioning. For example, we go down to central Mexico to a city called Aguascalientes. I have family down there and I remember that it was always really nice climate and temperature. We would always take a little sweater, because it would get cold at night. However, now they're getting ready to install mini splits. So, a lot of people in Mexico in Latin America they can no longer live or work under these new climate conditions.

    Therefore, as Eleazar said there will be a continuing demand for efficient air conditioning and refrigeration systems. And for example, here specifically in Monterrey, Mexico. A few years ago, our infrastructure was growing horizontally. Now we see that we are going vertical. And with this verticality, it means that we need more systems to cool these buildings. At this moment, we have more than 50 buildings in construction that are over 30 floors high. In fact, the tallest building in Latin America is located here in Monterrey, standing at 156 meters tall. And a few months ago, they just began the construction also here in Monterrey for a building that will be even taller. Three times bigger in fact. So that is huge for the HVAC industry in Monterrey, Mexico and for the future of it, we need to see how we can make our systems more efficient because demand keeps growing and the industry keeps growing as well.

    John Falcioni:

    So I guess the question was going to be, why does it make sense to have the AHR conference in Mexico, but I guess that it makes some sense now, right? Why is it important to you guys that we have the conference in your country?

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Okay. I believe this it's important because an AHR conference in Mexico offer the opportunity for everyone who cannot travel to the US to access to the new technologies, to get the new standards and to have a chat with other professional like them and attend the technical program in their own language. It is the right place to do business thinking in the same future, being sustainable and taking care of the environment that that’s a challenge.

    John Falcioni:

    Yeah, and Cuauhtemoc, you represent the host city, right? Guadalajara, where it was held this year. What were your perspectives and expectations going into the conference for visitors?

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Thanks for the question. Thank you all for allowing me to express even a little bit of the motion that the Guadalajara chapter has in holding this event. Just as in the US, there is an AHR that coexists with the winter meeting in our association. Here in Mexico, the AHR Expo represent the same thing. It is a space where you can find technologies for your projects, innovations in HVAC and the best continuous training, workshops, and above all, see your friends from around Latin America and share this industry that we are so passionate about.

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    Well, I believe that if AHR is like the Hollywood of the cinema, AHR Mexico is like Cannes. Jokes aside, within the framework of the AHR as Cuauhtemoc said, we will do—

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    It's a big party.

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    Yes, we will do what we know best. Party and also we'll provide a continuous training program, completely in Spanish.

    Jeanette Hay:

    That's correct. And I want to comment on that as well, that last point that Eleazar made. I mentioned this a little bit earlier but I really want to make it clear, now that we're talking about this. Many of the listeners will be familiar with the AHR Expo in the US. The AHR Expo in the US is usually held with the winter meeting in ASHRAE. And ASHRAE as a society organizes and put together these technical sessions. However, here in the AHR Expo Mexico, once it's held in the three cities and the host chapter organizes and executes the conference program, which is over 40 conferences. Now, I want to remind everybody and I sometimes have to remind myself, these are volunteers, right?

    So, these are volunteers that are putting together more than 40 conferences, to bring the continuing education during the AHR Expo, regarding our industry and our topics. So it's really important that we get to be part of the AHR Expo as the chapters because it gives that exposure to our chapters in Latin America and it puts us as the experts in the education in the HVAC industry. Not only just for Mexico, but all the countries in Latin America that attend the AHR Expo. And maybe, coming into the AHR Expo they didn't know ASHRAE, but now they can see the value what ASHRAE can bring and we have seen that has helped our chapters a lot in that recognition.

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    Remember that we were talking about the passion of Latinos, so there you go—

    Jeanette Hay:

    We're very passionate.

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    Passionate people putting together more than 40 conferences.

    John Falcioni:

    So tell me a little bit about Guadalajara. People know a little bit about Mexico City because it's so large and Monterrey because it's so large. What's the role that Guadalajara plays within the Mexican social ecosystem?

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Guadalajara is in the middle of the country. It's like the heart of the Mexico. Guadalajara is the cradle of the Mexican culture par excellence. Everything that reminds you of Mexico come from representative of Guadalajara. The musicians, the mariachis, the Mexican Charro, national holidays, and why not, the tequila. Guadalajara also serve it as manager as the city of the trade with Asia and Latino America par excellence due to our proximity to the Pacific oceans. Guadalajara is definitely a benchmark of the Latin spirit.

    John Falcioni:

    So as we wind down the conversation, a final question on the growth of both the industry and ASHRAE in Mexico and Latin America. We'll focus on ASHRAE itself, which chapter or committees have been a priority for the growth and continuation of ASHRAE? Jeanette you want to start off with this one?

    Jeanette Hay:

    Sure. So we really pride ourselves in our technical programs so our CTTC, our Chapter Technology Transfer Committee, they have done an excellent job and they are crucial for the growth and the continuity for our chapter. We don't only put on the conference programs during the AHR Expo but we really have a very strong and evolved technical conference program and course program throughout the year so, for our operations. And with that as well our communications. So being able to, first of all, reach people not only in Mexico but in all of Latin America and let them know that we have this very strong technical program, where they can do continuing education within the HVAC industry has been really, really good for us and for our growth of our chapter. Last year, we held over 65 virtual transmissions and we had over 4,000 virtual attendees. So the pandemic, which forced us to try this new type of this new value to our technical programs have really helped us grow and we can now reach more people and our HVAC education courses can reach more people not just in Mexico but in Latin America.

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    I believe also that we have this strong and well-rounded pack of young engineers working together with the founders of the chapters. And again, as a family, we work together and get close together to achieve goals and to make our chapters well known around the world. I'm very proud of the work done by our volunteers along the years.

    John Falcioni:

    So, we've had a robust conversation and I think this is just the beginning of a longer conversation that the four of us will likely have moving forward. And I appreciate it greatly. Clearly the opportunities to recruit younger and more diverse engineers to HVAC&R are great. Does anyone have any final thoughts you'd like to share?

    Eleazar Rivera Mata:

    A shout-out to all the Latinos out there and thank you so much for the time and for the initiative to make this podcast. And again, it's really nice but it is an honor to talk with you all and also to represent our culture.

    Jeanette Hay:

    That I just wanted to also thank you again, once again, for the platform for our Latino voices to be heard within the ASHRAE community. Once again I think it's very important to have different perspectives. Hopefully someone listening to this podcast will be inspired, maybe to work a little closer in Mexico or visit us in Mexico. And just know that you have an amigo in Mexico. And yes, we look forward to seeing everybody here pretty soon. Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. We're very appreciative.

    Cuauhtemoc Aguirre:

    Yeah. Thank you. And this is a very important day for the Spanish people, the Latinos. And thank you ASHRAE for all the knowledge. That's mean growing and professional growing. So thank you.

    John Falcioni:

    Well, I'm so glad we had the opportunity to connect with the three of you today and I want to thank you. Jeanette Hay, Eleazar Rivera, and Cuauhtemoc Aguirre. From all of us at ASHRAE journal, I also want to thank you our listeners for tuning in today. I'm John Falcioni join us the next time for another conversation.

    ASHRAE Journal:

    The ASHRAE journal podcast team is Editor John Falcioni, Managing Editor Kelly Barraza, Producer and Associate Editor Chadd Jones, Assistant Editor Kaitlyn Baich and associate editors Tani Palefski and Rebecca Matyasovski. Copyright ASHRAE. The views expressed in this podcast are those of individuals only and not of ASHRAE, its sponsors or advertisers. Please refer to ashrae.org/podcast for the full disclaimer.

     

Close