Heather Schopplein, PE — San Diego Chapter, Region X
Participating in Leadership U gave me a unique opportunity to see how the volunteer leadership of ASHRAE works. As a chapter president it is amazing to see how efficiently the “society” team works together. The camaraderie between the Executive Board members is truly inspirational. Just attending the meetings helped foster a deeper desire to get involved in ASHRAE at the Society level. They are all leaders, in every sense of the word, and they inspire leadership in those around them.
I was lucky enough to shadow Vice President Bjarne Olesen, Ph.D.. Mr. Olesen is a Professor at the Danish Technical Institute. He is extremely active in technical committees and international organizations. Shadowing Prof. Olesen gave me the opportunity to meet with many heads and members of international societies. I was able to attend a meeting of the AASA (ASHRAE Associate Society Alliance) of which there are 58 International Associate Societies. We also attended a REHVA event (Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Associations). It was a surreal experience; being able to discuss HVAC technologies, government requirements, and organizations in different countries. I value so much the opportunity to meet so many of Bjarne’s international friends and associates.
I have been very active on the chapter level, but Leadership U gave me the opportunity to learn more about the technical side of ASHRAE. As a Professional Engineer, the technical aspects have ASHRAE have always interested me; however I did not know just how important they are. As Prof. Olesen’s shadow, I was able to attend Technical Council, Document Review Subcommittees, and Special Projects meetings. I also attended my first technical committee. It is amazing to see how things develop throughout the conference. Ideas and proposals from technical committees and task groups advance into research projects, which later develop into design guides and standards. Each attendee, delegates in other meetings, brings forward news and information to help ASHRAE move forward. It is beautiful to see how fluid the process is.
I can honestly say that following Prof. Olesen was “hands down” my best ASHRAE experience to date. I learned so much; I learned about leadership, Society structure, interactions between councils and committees, technical committees, international relations, and so much more. I thank ASHRAE, the YEA Committee and Prof. Olesen for this wonderful opportunity.