January 2022 saw the launch of the first ASHRAE-CIBSE YEA Mentorship Program, supporting young
engineers’ (“mentees”) at the early stages of their career by pairing them with industry leaders’
(“mentors”) to guide, advise and foster their early career growth. The spine of this program is made
up various structured and unstructured sessions, where the mentee and mentor develop a non-
formal relationship, creating a positive & friendly environment for professional development,
growth, and career learning. The program is coupled with “structured” bespoke workshops on topics
such as Leadership, Personal Branding and Career development.
Since its launch, the program has gone from strength to strength and has successfully developed 10
mentor-mentee pairings, ran three group workshops & 1 technical session. The program even
received recognition from ASHRAE HQ president – Mick Schwedler during his visit to Ireland in April
in UCD! However, It must be said, the ICING on the mentorship cake came last month as two of our
mentees got the opportunity to represent the program at the global ASHRAE Conference 2022 held
in Toronto, Canada!
This trip acted as an opportunity to reward two very talented young engineers – Alex Frant and Mike
Ahern for their participation, enthusiasm, and hard work in the program to date. Alex is a mechanical
engineer working with Varmint Consulting Engineers Ltd. and his mentor is John Smyth who is a
project engineer with Arup. Michael is doing a PHD in CIT and his mentor is Paul Walsh of CIM. Both
mentees were accompanied on the trip by incoming ASHRAE Ireland president Conor Murray and
YEA Chair Conor Deane, both of whom have been the driving force for the program to date.
The trip also acted as an opportunity to promote and display the mentorship program to a global
audience, aiming to spread the word and collaborate with chapters from around the globe cross
pollinating ideas, learnings, and program structure to date.
The conference was held over 5 days (25th -29th June) and was actioned packed with mixture of
technical sessions, debates, research presentations and training courses. Of course, there was some
time for some fun too (and the odd gelato!!).
The day-to-day conference program was broken into technical sessions, ASHRAE committee
meetings, director meetings and subcommittee meetings. The technical program included topics
such as fundamentals of HVAC, smart intelligent buildings, IAQ, thermal comfort, COVID 19 proof
buildings and decarbonisation (to name just a few). As well as these sessions, Alex Mike and Conor
got the opportunity to take part in building tours, delving into the detail on how a The Sheraton
Centre Toronto Hotel “a 1300-room, 43-story hotel in Downtown Toronto” operates. Alex got the
opportunity to view Enwave’s industry-leading Deep Lake Water Cooling system which is the largest
of its kind, harnessing the renewable cold temperature of the water at the bottom of Lake Ontario to
cool hospitals, data centres, educational campuses, government, commercial and residential
And believe you me – The fun did not stop at just the technical sessions and tours! The trip was a
fantastic opportunity for networking and expanding relationships. The opening ceremony on day 1
closed with a passionate talk from nationally recognized keynote speaker STEM Educator Fredi
Lajvardi who instilled the “nothing is impossible” message. Day two ended with the YEA Hospitality
Reception where Alex, Mike and the two Conor’s met other YEAs over light refreshments, discussing
how the mentorship program could work in places like Chicago and Atalanta. The Presidents
luncheon took place on Monday 27th June where incoming ASHRAE President, Farooq Mehboob,
presented this years Society’s theme: Securing our Future, a message that hit home to all. Monday
evening saw CIBSE host a co-networking event where President Kevin Mitchell and Mike Schwedler
exchanged words on the future collaboration between the two organisations, something that we
have made a core theme in our mentorship program to date working alongside Michael Curran and
As the conference was held in Toronto, any spare time was used to explore the hive of activity that is
Toronto city centre. The ASHRAE Ireland team witnessed a baseball game in the famous Roger Centre
where the almighty Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox (Conor Murray must have been the
lucky charm?). The group also ventured up 553.33 m (1,815 ft., 5 in) high in the CN Tower – Canada’s
National Tower, an engineering Wonder and the world’s largest tower in 1975. As the conference
came to a close, Conor D, Mike and Alex ventured father a field and cycled around Toronto Island
before ending the trip on Canada Day in Niagara Falls where the sky lit up red and white celebrating
the birth of the country.
It must be said – this was a once in a lifetime trip and opportunity.
The trip showcased the opportunity that this program can bring on a global level and highlighted that
this is an important initiative within our industry, connecting both young and old. We would like to
extend a sincere thanks to both Conor Deane and Conor Murray for spearheading this initiative over
the past few months, as well as our sponsors CIM, who not only provided financial support to the
initiative, but were also actively engaged in the programme.
This has been a joint program run by ASHRAE Ireland with collaboration from CIBSE with Michael
Curran and YEN lead Ryan Loney. The program has a vison to expand and grow in the coming years
and this conference initiated the momentum to connect with global chapters, learning from other
If you or your company are interested in getting involved, please contact our team