As quickly as the sun disappeared from the sky on Aug. 21, 2017, hidden by the moon, did it reappear once again. Little did I know this cosmic event — the first time since 1918 that the continental United States has been able to witness such a moment of wonder — would also mark my move to a new job.

As I pack up my reporter’s notebook, pens, coffee mug, sticky notes, etc., it’s given me a chance to reflect on this past year as the associate editor of Snips. My first assignment on how women are faring in the HVAC industry today opened the sheet metal door into a whole new world for me. Suddenly terms like “ductwork fabrication” became commonplace, and I couldn’t help but notice the sounds coming from our office’s HVAC system every time it kicked on, wondering whether it was installed properly or needed some duct-cleaning maintenance work as I sneezed in my cubicle. Thank you again to the eight women who let me listen to their personal journeys and for being among the first to expose me to the dedication of those in HVAC and sheet metal.

In January, I found myself in the center of the chaotic jumble that is the showroom floor of the 2017 AHR Expo in Las Vegas. I finally got to meet more than a handful of our readers face to face and was able to mingle with many others during several post-show soirees. Before my trip, someone had said to me, “The HVAC industry really knows how to throw a party.” I have since verified that statement: It’s 100 percent accurate. 

A trip to Las Vegas would also not be complete without seeing the Fountains of Bellagio in action accompanied by Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Thank you again to Linx Industries for inviting the Snips team to a hospitality event there. 

When I look back, most of my stories have required me to tackle broad and often challenging topics — phenolic ductwork, net-zero energy and getting young talent involved in the industry, for example — but each story gave me a better understanding of the obstacles the HVAC industry faces and the solutions workers, company owners and trade associations are coming up with to solve those problems. If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that innovation in all forms is not scarce in the HVAC and sheet metal industry. 

“Our industry is on the cutting edge of making a difference in the world because we can make much more energy-efficient buildings, design, install and make things work better, so that we don’t waste energy. We need our world to survive,” Angela Simon told me during a phone interview in July last year. 

Simon, president of Menlo Park, California-based Western Allied Mechanical, was one of the eight women I featured in my October 2016 cover story and little did I know it wasn’t going to be the last time I’d see her name in print.

If you’ve haven’t seen it in Snips yet or read about it elsewhere, Simon was named as the 2016 Contractor of the Year by the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association and before we know it she will become SMACNA’s president in October 2019, marking the first time a woman has been at the helm of the organization.

Simon also told me the best way to get more women involved in this industry is to allow the women who are already involved in HVAC and sheet metal to be seen and to be heard. As SMACNA’s president, she’ll have accomplished just that. I look forward to following her progress and to reading the coverage from Snips. 

And so, to my Snips family and all of our HVAC and sheet metal industry readers, thank you for letting me contribute. I wish you all the best.