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How ASHRAE’s Nomination Process Works

How ASHRAE’s Nomination Process Works

By Tom Phoenix, P.E., Presidential/Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE; Tim Wentz, P.E., Presidential/Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE; and David Underwood, P.Eng., Presidential/Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE

From eSociety, July 2018

There have recently been questions or comments concerning our nominating process. Therefore, we thought it would be a good time to explain how the Nominating Committee, and the nominating process, works and its importance to a volunteer-led society. Let’s take a look at some of the misconceptions and uncover the reality of our nomination process.

Myth – Nominating does not represent membership.

Reality – Nominating is the most representative committee in Society.

Nominating is comprised of one voting delegate and one alternate selected by volunteers at the CRCs for the 15 regions. Another eight delegates and alternates are elected by the Board of Directors to ensure both technical and grassroots membership is well represented. That is representative governance at its best.

Myth –Nominating knows the nominees even before they start.

Reality – Nominating only reviews candidates submitted by volunteers. 

The list of candidates for Society Officers and Directors comes exclusively from the CRC’s and from individuals. Any member of Society can submit candidates, including themselves, to Nominating.  It is not hard at all to put a candidate’s name into consideration. Every name that has been submitted is brought before Nominating at their fall meeting and every one of these names is discussed.

Myth – The process is closed and very secretive, as the ballot contains only one nominee.

Reality – All candidates submitted to Nominating are carefully reviewed and vetted.

The issue of having only one nominee on the final ballot for each position is often misunderstood. Having a single nominee is based upon our guiding principle “the office shall seek the person, rather than the person seek the office”. Nominating conducts a thorough review of each and every candidate and then selects nominees who “can best serve the interest and objectives of the Society.” We believe the practice of providing one candidate per office is the more correct procedure given the openness with which ASHRAE solicits candidates. The selection of the leadership of a highly technical Society should not become a “popularity contest.”

It is true that the discussions of Nominating are held in executive session. Nominating would not be able to conduct their work otherwise since there are very frank discussions about each candidate. This again reflects our guiding principle that “the office shall seek the person, rather than the person seek the office.” You can download and read Nominating’s rules and procedures, as found in the Manual of Procedures and Reference Manual at

Myth – The Nominating Committee is dominated by presidential members and/or staff.

Reality – Presidential members are a small minority, and there is only one staff position on Nominating.

Presidential members serve as chair (a non-voting position) and vice-chair (a voting position).

The Secretary of Nominating, a non-voting position, is the only member of staff on Nominating. In our many years of service we cannot recall a single instance where there were more than two or three presidential members on Nominating, other than the chair and vice-chair. Moreover, we cannot recall a single instance where either presidential members or staff dominated any conversation. Given the number of ASHRAE volunteers on nominating it is clear why no one group dominates the conversation.

For more information about the nominating process or to submit a member for nomination, go to