I have been an ASHRAE member since 1995. Before that, I worked at a consulting engineering company owned by one of the first ASHRAE members in Portugal, Manuel Camacho Simões, and had access to all ASHRAE technical literature. When I left the company, in 1995, I needed to become an ASHRAE member to continue having the benefit to access, at a lower cost, the ASHRAE literature.
How you spend your days at work:
Mostly I spend my days at work teaching and guiding the work of my team of talented young engineers.
How you spend your days when not at work:
When not at work I try to dedicate most of my time to family and friends, voluntary social work and leisure activities.
Your favorite lunch spot:
Anyplace with tasty and healthy food and a professional and friendly service.
What you enjoy most about your current position:
Big professional challenges that require the most of my knowledge and professional capacity.
Who, or what, inspired you to become an engineer?
The will to give my small contribution to improve the relationship that our increasingly technological civilization has with nature and the environment allied with a strong curiosity in scientific and technical issues inspired me to become an engineer.
Did you consider any other professions, aside from engineering?
In my early youth I considered becoming an architect, since good design always fascinated me.
Proudest professional accomplishment:
One of the professional accomplishments I am most proud of was the development in 2003 of an innovative (at the time) free-cooling solution for existing Telecom rooms I developed for the company “Portugal Telecom.” The energy savings were huge, and, after being demonstrated in two pilot installations, it was replicated in over one hundred installations in Portugal. The project included the design of a new AC unit and control system. Since the product did not exist at the time it was specified and its manufacture assigned to a local company that boosted its business with hundreds of orders from “Portugal Telecom” and other clients for similar applications.
One other very relevant accomplishment was my recent participation in the first joint technical committee between ASHRAE and REHVA, assigned to produce a “Chilled Beam Systems Design Guide.” I believe this was a historic milestone in the approach between the two organizations and I am most proud to have given a contribution to its success.
Proudest life accomplishment:
Without a doubt the life accomplishment I am most proud of is my beautiful daughter Francisca.
Why did you join ASHRAE?
ASHRAE was always the most important source of information on HVAC&R (in earlier days, in many issues the only one). Since my first days in HVAC consulting I used to work with ASHRAE technical literature; the ASHRAE Handbooks were and are always literally at hand reach.
I first joined ASHRAE to have access to ASHRAE literature at member price, today an important drive is to actively participate in our technical community and give back something to ASHRAE, although knowing that I shall never be able give as much as I received.
Where did you study?
I graduated in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Thermodynamics branch, in Portugal, Lisbon, at Instituto Superior Técnico.
What advice do you have for engineers who are new to the industry or just starting out?
For young engineers I would advise to always consolidate the scientific knowledge on the areas relevant to our industry; physics don’t change, that knowledge shall be useful throughout your full professional life.
I would also advise to keep studying and updated on technological evolution; technology is always progressing and we can never rest on what we know at a given time.
Your ideal retirement dream includes…
Keep working, although without stress, and pass on the accumulated knowledge to the younger generations.
If you are involved at the Chapter, Regional, or Society level, can you tell us how?
I am currently the president of EFRIARC, Portuguese Association of Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, an ASHRAE Associate Society Alliance (AASA) member. For the last five years I have been EFRIARC’s representative to AASA and actively participated in the subcommittee meetings and general assemblies.
Would you say ASHRAE has impacted your personal and/or professional life? How?
ASHRAE has been omnipresent in my professional life through its technical literature. In the last years, my personal life has been enriched by a number of friends and colleagues I made by participating in AASA and the “Chilled Beam Design Guide” Technical Committee.
Member Since: 2005 (but started attending meetings & participating in 2003 – just took me a while to sign up)
How you spend your days at work: I work mainly with contractors and consulting engineers on new build and retrofit commercial projects, and sometimes even have direct involvement with the end users and building owners. I am a sales representative for a small but diverse line of products ranging from fan coils and computer room units (CRAC’s), to radiant heating systems, specialty laboratory and vehicle exhaust, and even grease duct. My role involves “cradle to the grave” ownership of projects, meaning that I get to watch them grow from birth at the conceptual design stage all the way through the installation/start-up of our equipment, and eventually the building commissioning. It’s exciting to drive around my city and see the finished products, knowing that I played a role, no matter how small or large.
How you spend your days when not at work: I’m either spending time in San Diego with my family and friends, out enjoying the amazing city that we live in, and hosting houseguests who love to visit the coast, or we are in Arizona spending as much time with my step-daughter, Isabelle, as possible and seeing the rest of our family and friends. We love to take our dog for walks in the canyon or out to play with his buddies at dog beach. Isabelle doesn’t mind weekends at the beach either.
Your favorite lunch spot: Pizza Port in Solana Beach with their awesome lunch deals and laid back atmosphere, or I’ll grab some food to-go from Water’s Fine Foods and walk down to Fletcher’s Cove for a scenic lunch. BEST perk about working across the street from the beach!
What you enjoy most about your current position: The people. Always the people. I work for a small family-owned firm that has been in San Diego for 40 years and I wholeheartedly attribute their success to the relationships that they honor and their reputation in our market.
Who, or what, inspired you to become an engineer? At the risk of repeating myself, the people. I’m actually not an engineer by training, I’ve just spent years earning the right to walk amongst them and being accepted. Much of which I can attribute to ASHRAE. I stumbled into the HVAC field in 1997 while working a reception job and going to school for my bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in counseling and 17 years in the HVAC industry later, I have made friends to last a lifetime and who have helped to show me an aptitude for things I didn’t know I could do, that it is possible to build our world without destroying it, and that sales can actually be really fun.
Did you consider any other professions, aside from engineering? Absolutely! My father was an engineer at Boeing and aside from seeing the awesome outcome of his work in aerospace, it just seemed so tedious to me. I never knew that I would have a passion for this field and my formal education is seemingly unrelated. But the counseling comes in handy in all walks of life and I’m certainly enjoying having a role in shaping our living environment.
Proudest professional accomplishment: I’ve been fortunate to have many experiences, hurdles to overcome and success stories in my career, but the thing that I am most proud of is joining T & M Mechanical. I was at a crossroads in my career, looking to relocate and I had a few offers to select from. It wasn’t an easy choice with each position offering something different, but I liked San Diego and I liked what I saw in T & M Mechanical. A very small company that was started by a wonderful man who is passionately dedicated to our industry but was forced into an early retirement due to his health, Tom Petre passed the torch to his son a few years before I joined and it has been so rewarding to be a part of Tom’s legacy and see his company continue to thrive.
Proudest life accomplishment: My family. My daughter may not be of my flesh, but she is so much more than a “Step-daughter” – she is the light of my life and I grow more proud of her with each day. Her father is pretty amazing, too.
Why did you join ASHRAE? I began attending the meetings for the networking and quickly realized that ASHRAE could be a fantastic vehicle for the technical education that I was missing. From the monthly meeting topics to the literature and resources available, ASHRAE has been the most cost-effective schooling I could ever ask for. Oh, ya, and my local chapter at the time (Central Arizona) convinced me to volunteer since the upcoming Chapters’ Regional Conference was in Hawaii. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Where did you study? I received a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree from University of Phoenix, but most of my career-relevant education has come from on-the-job experience, the professionals I have been fortunate to work with and the school of ASHRAE.
What advice do you have for engineers who are new to the industry or just starting out? Be confident. You are good at what you do. You are here because you have an ambition that MANY people spend their entire lives never realizing. Have faith in yourself to design, build or sell whatever you can dream and share those dreams. There is nothing too extraordinary or out-of-reach – if you can dream it, you can build a path to achieve it. No one thought that the world was actually round or that humankind could explore space or that people from all different walks of life could flourish together, but look at the amazing world we live in! You may be new to the table, but with that you bring something new to the table – NEVER be afraid to share that. Give your vision a voice.
Your ideal retirement dream includes… a cabin in a small mountain town with a great fishing hole nearby, a big family to spend holidays with and plenty of reserve funds to travel the world.
If you are involved at the Chapter, Regional, or Society level, can you tell us how? Currently, I hold the positions of Welcoming/Attendance chair for the San Diego Chapter, and YEA Regional Coordinator for Region X, which also allows me the opportunity to sit on the YEA Committee at Society level. Over the past decade I have also been involved with the chapter by serving as newsletter chair, historian, programs chair, CTTC chair, and as a member of the Board of Governors both for the Central Arizona and San Diego Chapters. I have also had the pleasure of serving as Region X Treasurer for four years and participating at the Society level on the ASHRAExChange ad hoc committee.
Would you say ASHRAE has impacted your personal and/or professional life? How? Personally, I have made so many friends from ASHRAE! Some of my closest friends are people that I know through my time with ASHRAE (I think our ASHRAE group could account for 1/3 of the people at my wedding!). I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places: Montreal where my parents met and got married, New York city, Chicago, San Antonio where I got to see the Alamo, Louisville where I got to see where the famed Louisville Slugger is made and, of course, Hawaii! Just to name a few. Professionally, ASHRAE has contributed more to my success than any other source. Through the information sharing, technical education, experiences participating in committees and presenting to my peers (and often superiors), and relationships that I have built, ASHRAE has reaffirmed talents that I didn’t know I had and boosted my self-assurance at every turn. I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I also know that I have a world-wide network of people who want to see me succeed and can help me answer any question I may ask. That alone is immeasurable and invaluable.