Meet all of the 2022 Top Women in HVAC

Pamela Gerken

Title: Project Manager
Company: CMTA Energy Solutions
Educational Experience: Masters of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering
Industry Work Experience: I have worked in the energy services industry since 2005, starting as a University of Louisville intern for a national energy services company. After graduation, I worked full-time for this company until 2017, when I began working for CMTA Energy Solutions.

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

My introduction to the HVACR industry came with my internship while in college. This introduction had me hooked — I love all the details that go into creating the most energy efficient, yet cost effective, HVACR renovation for customers that are often in dire need of an upgrade.


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

The most rewarding aspect of working in HVACR, and more specifically as an HVACR professional in the energy services industry, is developing renovation solutions that will result in better indoor environments for customers, while at the same time saving energy and reducing maintenance costs. Most of our customers do not have the budget to afford complete, well-planned, and thoroughly commissioned HVACR system renovations, so it’s very rewarding to be able to offer a solution to make this a reality.


Describe the proudest moment in your career.

I don’t necessarily have a single proudest moment in my career; however, I do take great pride in ensuring I’ve done my best for CMTA’s clients. I dig into details and put in the work. It’s not acceptable to deliver a mediocre project that doesn’t perform when the client is counting on your expertise.


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

I have been very fortunate to work with a great group of engineers throughout my career. I have always felt respected and understood both as a woman in engineering as well as a mother of three. This is not to say that balancing a demanding career and family life is easy, but I’ve been fortunate to find a company that values work-life balance.


How can we increase the number of women in HVACR?

To increase the number of women in HVACR, and engineering in general, an introduction to and continued emphasis on STEM starting at a young age is crucial. I also think that it’s important that women currently in engineering make themselves examples for young aspiring woman engineers. Whether this is through internship programs or career days at schools, women engineers need to be seen.


What does your day-to-day job entail?

My day-to-day job varies depending on where I am in the project development cycle of a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract (GESC). A GESC is a financing approach that uses cost savings from reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs to repay the cost of installing energy efficient upgrades. Typical upgrades included in a GESC include HVAC renovations and replacements, building automation system replacements, LED lighting installations, renewable energy installations, etc. I am involved in all aspects of GESC development from the initial audit through construction, from building automation system commissioning to post project utility monitoring through the life of the project. So, my day-to-day could vary from collecting and analyzing utility bills to writing control system sequences to visiting construction sites.


What remains on your HVACR bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?

I don’t really have a bucket list item. My goal in the HVACR industry is to continue to develop the best, most efficient, cost effective project for my clients.


What advice do you have for females who are considering entering the HVACR field?

Do it! You won’t regret it.