The name Holohan is well-known in the plumbing, heating, cooling and piping (PHCP) community. As a result of hard work, there are likely two names that come to mind when you hear Holohan: Dan and Erin.
Technical writer and industry expert, Dan Holohan, and his wife Marianne, founded HeatingHelp.com in 1997. HeatingHelp.com is an online community and resource for heating information. In 2016, the couple retired. And, that is where Erin Holohan Haskell, one of their four daughters, came into the picture. Erin bought the business, and currently serves as the president and innovative mind behind the development and growth that Team Heating Help is experiencing.
As the September 2019 Woman In PHCP, we want to share more of the exciting things Erin is bringing to the industry and provide background on her journey.
PHCPPros: How did you get into the industry?
EHH: I’m the third generation of the Holohan family in this industry. My grandfather worked for a New York based manufacturers’ representative and he encouraged my father to join him saying, “Kid, this is the best business to be in because people are always going to need heat, especially in the winter.” After my parents founded HeatingHelp.com, my three sisters and I grew up right alongside the business. I have beautiful memories of following my dad around old bookshops searching for rare heating books (that he would later use to write The Lost Art of Steam Heating). I shadowed him on consulting jobs in boiler rooms and attended his seminars. I’d also help my mom around our office. As kids, my sisters and I had no idea about the weight of the decision to start a business while raising a family; all of the risks and the possibilities. We saw them work incredibly hard and build something wonderful while giving back to the heating community.
I knew I wanted to be part of that and went about developing the skill set I’d need to make meaningful contributions to our family business, as well as to our industry. Prior to HeatingHelp.com, I ran a marketing and design firm in the Washington, D.C. area for 12 years. HeatingHelp.com and several other companies within our industry were my clients. And when the time was right, I began to lead HeatingHelp.com.
PHCPPros: Do you have women in the industry that have mentored you?
EHH: I am blessed to know and learn from many strong women in our industry. My mother, Marianne, raised four strong daughters and my aunt, who has Down’s Syndrome. She was also the CFO of a successful business and beat Breast Cancer. She inspires me every day.
I’ve also learned a great deal from Judy Garber, executive director of Women in Energy, and the community of strong women at Women in Energy. Judy has spent decades in the energy industry and often says, “When I was growing up, women had three career choices: nurse, teacher, or secretary. And none of those choices appealed to me. Today you can do whatever you want to do as a woman. And young women should take advantage of those choices because prior generations of women have paved the way for them.”
I am very fortunate to have mentors like my mother and Judy pave the way for me and I’m doing my part to pave the way for my daughter’s generation.
PHCPPros: Do you mentor other women in the industry?
EHH: As a founding member and current vice president of Women in Energy, I helped build our Mentorship Program. The program’s goal is to invest in our industry’s future by providing students with valuable connections and tools for success, as well as highlighting the outstanding career opportunities available within our industry. In addition to this program, I’ve had a great time getting to know other women in our industry through Women in Energy events. I also have a young daughter and I plan to pass down all of the lessons I’ve learned; especially the ones about heating systems. And, if she’s interested, when the time comes I plan to welcome her to HeatingHelp.com.
PHCPPros: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
EHH: I invite you all as readers to learn more about Women in Energy at wewomeninenergy.com. Our mission is to connect and empower women working in the energy industry. We do this by providing career and educational resources, as well as networking and mentoring opportunities.