Women Pioneers in the HVAC Industry

Women Who Changed the Heating and Cooling Industry Forever

Before 1916 the HVAC industry was run entirely by men. Since then, influential women like Margaret Ingels and Alice Parker paved the way for future women in the workforce. In 2023 women from all over the country can now enjoy the perks of a steady-paying career without worrying about college debt or job insecurity. 

The HVAC Business Today

Donna Bossman, director of Ingersoll Rand’s Materials and Chemistry Network of Excellence, helps women in the HVAC trade by supporting new technology in the industry. With more emphasis on green energy, the future of heating and cooling will continue to grow. This helps both consumers and the labor force.

The Women in HVACR mentorship program has now expanded its outreach. It is designed to help women navigate their training through career guidance and personal assistance. Providing support can introduce new opportunities for professional growth regardless of location.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an industry growth of 15% from 2016 to 2026. There are now scholarship programs offered by several different organizations for women who are interested in a secure career.

History Presents: Alice H. Parker


Alice H. Parker was the first African American woman in the HVAC industry. In 1919 she invented a gas furnace patent. Although not commercially produced, the patent was used to create central heating systems nationwide.

Her invention delivered warm air through the ductwork by allowing cool air to pass through the furnace and into the heat exchanger. Before natural gas furnaces, wood and coal were the primary methods for indoor heating. 

Alice H. Parker first became interested in heating due to her freezing nights in New Jersey. Rather than chopping wood in the cold to build a fire indoors, she devised a revolutionary alternative. 

The Effective Temperature 


Margaret Ingels is the first woman to earn a Mechanical Engineer degree. She created the “effective temperature” scale that helped make air conditioning what it is today. 

Air conditioning units are now considered portable because they cool public buildings. Before she earned her degree in 1920, air conditioning was not typically found in schools or restaurants. If offices were too hot in the summer, electric fans were necessary.  

From 1932 to 1952, Margaret Ingels gave over 200 speeches as a professional spokesperson. She helped consumers and business owners understand the basics of air conditioning and heating. By 1940 she was considered in the top 100 women to have had a successful career in a male-dominated field. 

As an advocate for the profession, she wrote more than 40 papers about the importance of cooling devices in America. Her speech about women pioneers in engineering was as well-known as it was well-received. 

In 2005 the University of Kentucky named a dormitory after Margaret Ingels. The Student Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers created a Fellowship Fund in her honor for students enrolled in an engineering discipline. This fund supports women so that progress can continue. 

About 360 Air Tech

360 Air Tech provides AC repair, replacement, and maintenance plans to homeowners in and around Williamsburg, VA. Their staff is responsible, prompt, and always friendly, helping homeowners find a personalized and reliable solution to their heating and cooling needs. Ready for HVAC service? Contact 360 Air Tech today.

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