Women in HVACR 2013 Annual Meeting a Great Success

Nov. 7, 2013
The Women in HVACR Conference is held each year in conjunction with Comfortech and is sponsored by Contracting Contracting has been the Platinum Sponsor for Women in HVACR each year and was the primary contributing sponsor in forming the organization.

The Women in HVACR organization has certainly adopted the Comfortech model of combining valuable learning with good entertainment.

With Comfortech 2013 in Philadelphia, PA as the venue, the WHVACR conference kicked off at the Philadelphia Convention Center with a 70’s style reception, complete with groovy glasses, funky hats, and an Elton John impersonator. "A 'funkadelic' time was had by all who attended," says WHVACR President Patti Ellingson, who is also director of HVACR sales/North America for Cooper-Atkins.

An Elton John impersonator provided the entertainment at the WHVACR 1970s Reception.

The reception was followed the next day by a full slate of workshops and educational sessions presented by industry leaders who shared their knowledge and experiences with the group.

WHVACR President Patti Ellingson.

Ellingson provided details of the year’s success with educational outreach at AHRI, AHR EXPO, HARDI and RSES events. Details about the new student scholarship were shared, and the winner of this years’ Go-Vo Tech scholarship was announced. Ellingson shared the entry letter by winner Stephanie Hallock, and provided details on how to enter, and who is eligible.

Photos and details about the new regional WHVACR meetings were shared and upcoming regional meeting details were discussed, with other organizational details.

Carol Wallace, CEO of Cooper-Atkins, shared her success story and the benefits of becoming a 'certified, woman-owned business.'

The group then participated in an Icebreaker exercise where Ruth Ann Davis — recently appointed senior vice president of sales and marketing for Williams, and vice president of WHVACR — led the group in an exercise demonstrating networking. She helped attendees step out of their "comfort zones" and really get to know the people around them, while sharing with the group the basic skills to successful networking.

The 2013 Woman of the Year, Laura Difilippo of Difilippo's Service, Paoli, PA, shared her amazing journey in the HVACR industry, from helping out part time at the company, to becoming a part owner with her husband, Vince DiFilippo, to her term as the first female chairperson of ACCA. 

"Laura is a true leader in this industry and continues to focus her energy and efforts towards improving the industry," Ellingson says. "She is a champion for contractors; never hesitating to share her experiences and ideas as a mentor to others both men and women. Laura is a mother, a wife, a business partner, an industry champion and now 2013’s HVACR Woman of the Year."

Rodney Koop, CEO of The New Flat Rate. Rodney shared the importance of "knowing where you come from" and always fighting for what you believe in.

Laura Difilippo addresses the WHVACR audience.

Emily Saving, director of education and research for, shared an enlightening view on the new "Millennials" or "Gen Y."  Emily went into detail on how best to mentor and connect with this newer generation. She discussed ways to engage the newest generation in the work force and how to keep them excited to stay with your company. "They are the future and can be an asset to the industry and to your company once we know how to communicate in their language," she said.

Throughout the day, there were numerous drawings for door prizes, from Women in HVACR, Safety Girl, WW Grainger and Carlisle HVAC Products, and signed Elton John items.

Mike Hun — the Safety Girl representative — shared the new (Free Shipping- promotion for WHVACR members on Items ordered through the link found on the Women in HVACR web site.

Mark Matteson— motivational speaker, consultant and author of the best sellers, “Freedom from Fear” and “Freedom from Fear Forever” — spent the afternoon with the group discussing the importance of networking, positive thinking, and how life is not about finding yourself, but about creating yourself.

Rodney Koop: fight for your beliefs, work your strengths.

Carol Wallace, CEO of Cooper-Atkins Corp. spoke to the group about “The Benefits of Becoming a Certified Women Owned Business”. Carol shared her story of how she got into the HVACR industry with her father and then later, her decision to have the company certified as a WOB. By becoming a WBENC, many additional opportunities were opened up to Cooper-Atkins due to diversity programs otherwise not available. “These opportunitie,” she shared, “have been realized both directly and indirectly as a manufacture providing a product or service.” Carol also shared how to begin the process in becoming a certified WOB, and the requirements.

"Carol has a teacher's heart, and as a mentor in both her community and as an advocate to other women looking to better themselves she continues to shine as a leader in the industry and a proud member of WHVACR," said Patti Ellingson.

The day's educational sessions wrapped up with a session presented by Matt Michel, CEO of Service Roundtable.  Matt shared his knowledge and expertise with the group as he discussed, “How to set yourself and your company apart from all the rest”. He discussed what makes a leader in the market a true leader, how to find that THING that makes you special and market it. “Brand You” with the right branding your company can reach success.   

The fact filled educational day wrapped up with a wine and cheese networking session that was sponsored by Williams Furnace. It was a full day of inspiration and education attended by both men and women from the industry. If you missed us this year - We hope to see you next year  in Nashville, TN the week of September 10th.

Mark Matteson helped attendees deal with the little fears we all have.

is held each year in conjunction with Comfortech and is sponsored by Contracting magazine. has been the Platinum Sponsor for Women in HVACR each year and was the primary contributing sponsor in getting this organization operating.

Women in HVACR is a not for profit industry organization that exists to improve the lives of our members by providing professional avenues to connect with other women growing their careers in the HVACR industry. We empower women to succeed through networking opportunities, mentoring and education.

Membership is $75.00 per year and runs from January 1st  thru December 31st .

If you are interested in becoming more involved please contact us at [email protected]

  • Network with top individuals from all areas of the HVACR industry
  • Take advantage of existing educational and professional development opportunities
  • Expand your role in the industry
  • Be a mentor and help recruit more women into the industry
  • Be heard in the industry and beyond

The success of WHVACR would not be possible without its network of sponsors:
Comfortech, Yellow Jacket, Southwire, Jackson Systems, Williams Furnace, The New Flat Rate, Cooper Atkins Corp., Service Roundtable, Arzel,, CPS, NATE, Harvey Hottel, Meier Supply, Safety Girl/Online, Grainger, DuroDyne, Carlisle HVAC Products, HARDI, Contracting, Online Access, NAFA, NCI, Ed2go, HVAC, MCAA, AC Today, HVAC Insider, AHR EXPO, AHRI, and HRAI.