Meet all of the 2022 Top Women in HVAC

Jennifer Milazzo

Title: Owner, GM
Company: Dykstra Home Services
Educational Experience: Trinity Christian College
Industry Work Experience: Office Administrator, Payroll & HR Specialist, Office Manager, Sales & Technician Incentive Specialist, President

What caused you to/when did you to enter the HVACR industry?

When I was a little girl and I stayed home from school sick, I would go into work with my mom or my dad. I would hang out under my dad’s desk in his office and listen to the dispatchers all day.

Other days after school, my grandfather would pick me up from school and take me to the office to do my homework and wait for my mom to get done for the day. When I got a little older, I would work on Saturdays and spend most of the four hours cleaning and talking to our main dispatcher, Don. He taught me so much about what the technicians were doing, where they were going, and why.

I started in a more regular role 1998 assisting our sales manager with proposals, moved into more of a daily CSR position, and eventually took over all the payroll/accounting/HR functions of the company, along with building the technician channel for selling and incentives.

I suppose I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps; he always seemed to love his job and was so grateful and generous.


What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in HVACR?

The HVACR industry has changed so much since I entered. To see women develop into mentors and leaders in this industry is amazing. I am so proud to be a member of Women in HVACR. The resources and support we all provide one another is invaluable. We all truly want each of our respective companies to succeed. The joy I get watching women move up in their companies to CEO, CFO, president, etc., is so empowering and inspiring.


Describe the proudest moment in your career.

I was recently asked to be a panelist at a women’s networking event. As “Stepping Into Success” panelists, we were able to be real with attendees during our presentation about the realities of juggling home life and business. This was such an honor for me; being a single mom of four daughters, it can be a struggle to find enough time to get everything done. But it’s also beyond rewarding to feel accomplished at the end of the day. I was surrounded by incredible women who have accomplished so much both personally and professionally; to be seated next to them, speaking to our peers, was such an honor, and I am so grateful.


What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example?

I do feel this industry is becoming more welcoming to women. That being said, it has been a struggle. Most trades have the “boys’ club” mentality, which can be a large hurdle to jump.

At times, it is difficult to have a voice in a male-dominated industry, so we must work a little harder to be heard, included, and given a seat at the table. It is being done, though, every day, which makes it so exciting for the rest of the women.

I remember at one of the first conventions I went to, I am not sure I saw more than 10 women in total of a group of 500 or more. The first day walking into the conference center, two men at the door were tasked with checking badges. Without even reading my badge, the man looked at me and said, “Oh honey, the wives sit by the pool all day.” I was shocked, angry, frustrated, and answered with a colorful explanation of what I was doing there and why I belonged before making my entrance into the conference center.

That has always stuck with me. Sometimes it still makes me feel frustrated, but then I am reminded of the direction we are moving and all we, as women, have accomplished in the trades, so I can turn that disappointment into gratitude.