A strategic corporate recruiting effort attracted Katelyn Woodling to the PHCP industry. But, the role that she played in affecting the environment for the better is ultimately what made her stay. Woodling is the product manager for Residential Forced Air Heating and Cooling Systems at Bosch Thermotechnology.
Since 2017, she has managed the technical side of Bosch Thermotechnology’s products. Her responsibilities have included: development of product technical requirements, benchmarking, market research, price and volume planning, product profitability maintenance, product portfolio management, strategic roadmap planning, and more. Bringing her background in engineering, Woodling holds a M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University.
PHCPPros recently interviewed Woodling to learn about her journey to her current professional role and her experiences as a woman in the industry!
PHCPPros: How did you get into the industry?
Woodling: I took a non-traditional route with getting into the industry. I graduated with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and joined Bosch’s Junior Management Program where I rotated around various Bosch divisions. After the program, I chose to join Bosch Thermotechnology because I’m passionate about the environment. I felt that by working in the HVAC industry, I could reduce my carbon footprint and help others do the same by developing energy-efficient products and providing comfort solutions.
PHCPPros: Do you have women in the industry who have mentored you?
Woodling: I’ve had women within Bosch in executive positions who have mentored me. But, there’s just not many women in the HVAC industry. I do attend “Women in HVAC” events that take place at HVAC shows each year, and I enjoy networking with other women in the industry. There’s also a “Women at Bosch” organization that holds networking events, courses, and other activities at the Bosch corporate headquarters in Detroit. I’ve met a lot of great women within Bosch and in the industry through these activities who have influenced me in my career.
PHCPPros: Do you mentor other women in the industry?
Woodling: We’ve had women who were interns at Bosch Thermotechnology who I’ve enjoyed mentoring. I also started a “Women in Watertown” group where all the women in the Watertown, Massachusetts office for Bosch Thermotechnology — regardless of position — are encouraged to get together once a month, go out for lunch, and talk about various topics. It’s a nice chance to connect with each other on a more personal level and learn about new ideas.
PHCPPros: What advice do you have for other women wanting to start a career in HVAC?
Woodling: Don’t let the fact that it’s a male-dominated industry scare you. Women are just as smart and capable as anyone else.
PHCPPros: Why do you think it’s important for women to be involved in the HVAC industry?
Woodling: It’s important to bring diversity into any industry to bring in new ideas and different perspectives. It is especially important in the HVAC industry where women are seen as a minority. There is opportunity for women to break down barriers and establish themselves as leaders in HVAC.
PHCPPros: What challenges do women face in the HVAC industry and how have you dealt with those challenges?
Woodling: There have been times at tradeshows where people will come up to my product at the booth and ask to speak with the product manager or product expert, even though I’m already standing right in front of my product. It can be frustrating, but I politely let them know I’m the product manager and answer any questions they have. While it can be frustrating, it only motivates me more to excel at my job and encourage women to get involved in HVAC to expand the diversity of the industry.
PHCPPros: What would you recommend as next steps, as relates to recruiting and retaining women in HVAC?
Woodling: Going forward, there needs to be a focus on having more women and girls involved in the HVAC industry and STEM education. It’s important for women and girls to be exposed early in their lives to STEM programs, and to have mentors encouraging them that they can pursue any career or goal they set their minds to. It is important to have strong women in HVAC leadership roles because it opens up the possibility for young girls to think, even if just for a second, “that could be me!”