This year, I had the privilege of representing Region X as our LeaDRS candidate. Through the LeaDRS program, I shadowed Region X DRC, Marites Calad, through her meetings at the ASHRAE Winter conference in Chicago.
Through shadowing Marites at her meetings, I was able to see the society from a different perspective. We attended a DRC meeting where I saw firsthand struggles and successes that other regions have, and a planning meeting where a committee of highly qualified ASHRAE members were discussing the upcoming strategic plan for the society. My favorite meeting was the Board of Directors meeting. Seeing how decisions are made at a society level was eye opening and I admire all the work these volunteers put into ASHRAE.
I was also able to make some friends within the LeaDRS program. Many of us attended the same meetings and got to know each other well throughout the long weekend. I hope to see these friendly faces as we all progress through the ASHRAE ranks.
I had two main takeaways throughout my time in the LeaDRS program. The first is that I learned there are many ways to serve ASHRAE without being part of a technical committee. Being a project engineer at a design build contractor, I have always felt somewhat out of place in the technical sphere. The LeaDRS program opened my eyes to all of the planning, publishing, finance, and more, sides of ASHRAE that are more people oriented and less technical. The second takeaway is that it is possible to balance your job and ASHRAE. Marites flawlessly balanced all of her meetings for ASHRAE as well as being a manufacturers representative and all that the AHR expo entails. It gave me hope that I too can succeed in my career as well as volunteer for ASHRAE.