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logoShaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

The Value of Joining Technical Committees

By John Constantinide, P.E., Member ASHRAE and Larry Smith, P.E., Member ASHRAE

Did you know that joining a technical committee (TC) makes you a more relevant, valuable engineer to your employer and industry? John Constantinide, P.E., Member ASHRAE, shares his personal experience with TCs—“When I was selected for the LeaDRS (Leadership Development through Regional Support) program to shadow then Director and Regional Chair Jennifer Isenbeck at the 2015 Annual Conference in Atlanta, my boss gave me an assignment to join two TCs that I would interact with.”

He continues, “After attending 13 full committee and subcommittee meetings, I settled with TC 5.2 Duct Design and TC 7.6 Building Energy Performance. Fast-forwarding through time and numerous ASHRAE conferences, my boss told me that sending me to these conferences was the best investment toward my technical development and his design team. Being on those TCs was an incredible preparation for my licensure exams and becoming a subject matter expert with my employer.”

Figure 1 shows what a TC structurally looks like and the opportunities available to ASHRAE members when joining a committee. From starting as a Provisional Corresponding Member to being a Technical Committee Chair, there is something for everyone.


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Figure 1. Organizational structure of a technical committee.

With virtual meeting technologies changing how we meet, it is now even easier to get involved with a TC. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we have learned that remote and hybrid meetings are effective, and we see remote participation as a first step in understanding what each TC is doing and the start of forging those personal relationships that will serve you throughout your professional career—and also foster friendships with peers in the industry, too. That being said, though it is not necessary to go to conferences to participate in TCs, being present at these events is expected and encouraged if an engineer aspires to a TC leadership role.

The core of a TC is in what it does. The work of TCs constitute the following:

  • Planning the programs seen at ASHRAE Winter and Annual Conferences.
  • Overseeing (via subcommittees) the research funded by ASHRAE.
  • Staying aware of and providing input on the Standards that ASHRAE maintains.
  • Updating chapters of the ASHRAE Handbooks.
  • Creating special publications, white papers and technical activities that engage our HVAC&R and built environment industries on today’s relevant topics, no matter how broad or detailed.
  • Reviewing position documents, ASHRAE Journal articles, ASHRAE conference papers and other technical documents relevant to their scope.

These TC activities also feed into other parts of ASHRAE, as shown below (Figure 2). Being an ASHRAE member can afford you the opportunity to take leadership positions in TCs. For Young Engineers in ASHRAE (YEAs) seeking engineering management training, being in TC leadership is a great way to learn how to motivate, find consensus and move forward with a group of volunteer engineers. Further, the ASHRAE Technical Activities Committee (TAC) has a Leadership Development Auto-Tutorial at, with free and on-demand training modules, which serves to help create strong leaders in TCs.


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Figure 2. How technical committees feed society committees.

How do TCs do all this work?

Through selfless volunteers­—yes, volunteers—who run the research, provide input on Standards, create and edit ASHRAE Handbook chapters and chair and present at ASHRAE conference programs. We are amazed at the unpaid yet invaluable work of volunteers every time we see the quality and quantity of publications and products available to industry. The Society Snapshot, available at, provides an update each year of what volunteers do, including those in TCs, and we do this because we truly believe in making ASHRAE’s vision—a healthy and sustainable built environment for all—a reality.

What should you do to join?

First, find the TC that is right for you. ASHRAE has 87 TCs, along with 2 Technical Resource Groups (TRGs), 1 Task Group (TG) and 12 Multidisciplinary Task Groups (MTGs), covering a wide variety of topics. Choose something related to your work or something in which you are interested in learning more about. Keep in mind that smaller TCs have more opportunities for leadership advancement and impact within the TC. Larger TCs have fewer leadership opportunities but more chances to meet other SMEs and possibly have a larger impact on society—they are popular for a reason!

Once you find the right TC, join as a Provisional Corresponding Member by going to This allows for the opportunity to take part in a TC for two years before being promoted to Corresponding Member status. Also, be sure to email the TC leadership so that they are aware you are joining. 

After joining a TC, you can become involved, learn and help the TC meet its needs and deadlines. Doing the work of the TC helps you become an expert in that TC’s scope within the HVAC&R and the built environment industry. 

John Constantinide is a Florida-licensed mechanical engineer from Merritt Island, Florida, an ASHRAE Director and Regional Chair, and Chair of TC 5.2 Duct Design and TG 9.SPACE Extraterrestrial and Deep Space Environmental Control Systems. Larry Smith is Engineering Manager with Linx Industries HVAC in Portsmouth, Virginia, a member of the ASHRAE Technology Council, and past Chair of TC 5.2 Duct Design.