ASHRAE-CIBSE YEA Mentorship Program – Trip to Toronto!


January 2022 saw the launch of the first ever ASHRAE-CIBSE YEA Mentorship Program sponsored by CIM. The program supports 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 of various structured and unstructured sessions, where the mentee and mentor develop a non-formal relationship, creating a positive & friendly environment for professional development. The program was developed and launched in January 2022 by Conor Deane (YEA Chair of J.V Tierney & Co Consulting Engineers), Conor Murray (ASHRAE Incoming President 2022-23 & 3-Dimension) and guided by Daniel Coakley (ASHRAE Ireland President 2021-22 and of Lloyds Banking Group).

Since its launch, the program has gone from strength to strength. It has successfully developed 10 mentor-mentee pairings, ran two group well attended workshops and 1 technical session, the program even got a visit & recognition from ASHRAE HQ president – Mick Schwedler where the program was presented in University College Dublin!

However, It must be said that the icing on the mentorship cake came last month as two of our mentees (Alex Frant of Varmings Consulting Engineers & Mike Ahern , PHD student of UCC) and program leaders (Conor Deane and Conor Murray) got the opportunity to represent the program and their respective companies at the global ASHRAE Conference 2022 held in Toronto, Canada!

This trip acted as an opportunity to reward two very talented young engineers – Alex and Mike for their participation, enthusiasm, and hard work in the program to date. Alex is a mechanical engineer working with Varming Consulting Engineers Ltd. and his mentor is John Smyth who is a project engineer with Arup. Mike is doing a PhD in UCC and his mentor is Paul Walsh of CIM.

The trip also acted as an opportunity to promote and display the mentorship program and the aim was to present its development to a global audience, aiming to spread the word and collaborate with chapters from around the globe.

The conference was held over 5 days (25th -29th June) and was action 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 program included topics such as fundamentals and applications of HVAC, smart intelligent buildings, IAQ, thermal comfort, buildings COVID 19 proof buildings and decarbonisation (to name just a few). The technical sessions were a perfect opportunity to gain knowledge on key areas and the topics fit the diverse backgrounds of the ASHRAE Ireland Contingent. Conor Deane focused on attending decarbonisation and energy modelling sessions, Mike Ahern focused on HVAC control and fault detection in line with his PHD work with UCC,  while Alex Frant spent his time on mechanical design technical sessions. Conor Murray delved into the vast range of cleanroom topics.

“I particularly gained a lot from the decarbonisation, climate change and energy modelling technical sessions. Most work we do in J. V. Tierney focuses on energy efficient design, taking a holistic approach to embodied and operational carbon in decarbonising the built environment. It was interesting to find out that ASHRAE have developed a task force on building decarbonisation and will plan to publish guidelines on operational and embodied carbon in the near future. More importantly the conference gave me the opportunity to network with industry leaders in this field like Liam Buckley of IESVE and Jaap Hogeling of the EPB standards & EPBD

” Conor Deane

As well as these sessions, Alex Mike and Conor D got the opportunity to take part in building tours, delving into the detail on how a host venue “The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel” (a 1300-room, 43-story hotel in Downtown Toronto) operates and also exploring Enwave’s industry-leading Deep Lake Water Cooling system- 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 buildings.

Enwave’s industry-leading Deep Lake Water Cooling system
Conor, Alex and Conor were greeted by David Sinclair of the Toronto Chapter

Throughout the week the ASHRAE Ireland chapter also got the chance to present and speak about the success of the mentorship program to date. Day 1 saw Conor Murray and Conor Deane get the opportunity to present with the YEA Committee at their meeting in the Sheraton Civic North. Here we discussed the potential for Ireland to host one of the “YEA Leadership International” events where young people from around the globe learn about leadership , networking ,communication and professional development. At the end of the week Conor Murray gave an excellent account on the structure of the program at the 2 Panel 1: Presentation 1: YEA Mentorship Panel Discussion with College of Fellows 1”. After the presentation, Conor made contact with Dennis Knight to potentially work together with the Charleston chapter in a sister chapter programme in the near future.

YEA Committee Meeting on Day 1
Conor Murray presenting the mentorship program to the college of fellow panel.

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 between Ireland and the world. The opening ceremony on Day One 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, Boston Toronto and Atlanta. Ireland proved to be the “ice breaker” in conversations., such examples include meeting Arron Sorrell of the Boston chapter as he expressed his ambitions to visit Dublin while David Sinclair of the Toronto Chapter reminisced on his once of a lifetime trip to temple bar. As the days went on, one could get a sense of sheer number of ASHRAE members who have Irish connections, found memories or working relationships with Ireland .

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. The luncheon gave the opportunity for the ASHRAE Ireland team to meet & dine with fellow ASHRAE Region XIV Chapters Prof Mahroo Eftekhar, Andres Sepulveda, George Pantelidis and Jaap Hogeling where we discussed the upcoming region CRC taking place in September. 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 Ryan Loney.

YEA networking event
The team with Munis Hameed of Cibse and Richard Rowley 

Conor , Alex and Mike – ASHRAE Ireland reps for the week!

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.

The team at the Blue jays vs Boston Red Sox Game 
Niagara Falls Trip

It must be said – this was a once in a lifetime trip and opportunity.

“Before arriving in Toronto, I thought the valuable takeaways I would get from the trip would be found at the events listed in the ASHRAE technical program. While the breadth of topics under discussion gave me great insight into the tremendous work ASHRAE do, it was the informal chats with experts from around the world between the sessions that I found incredibly beneficial. While there are great resources online to learn about HVAC systems, the value of immersing yourself in an environment that’s full of like-minded people with a passion for their work is huge and it’s given me a great boost. I would like to thank Paul and CIM for the opportunity to attend the 2022 ASHRAE conference and connect with so many people from around the globe – nothing beats being there!” – Mike Ahern

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.

“The 2022 ASHRAE Annual Conference had been a surreal experience from the beginning to the very end, and the opportunity to attend this event had a major impact both on my professional career and my personal life. From a career point of view, this event had opened my eyes to the limitless opportunities and avenues that lie ahead for anyone brave, but most importantly curious enough to get involved with extracurricular activities, outside their daily job. This trip made me realise that engineering is not just about design, building energy simulation, building diagnostics, etc. but at its very core, engineering is more than that – engineering is a community – where engineers from all over the world feed in their ideas, theories, research findings, etc. to make engineering a more whole, ever growing entity. Furthermore, attending this event has provided me the opportunity to expand my network far beyond what would have otherwise been possible had I not attended. I was fortunate enough to meet and be influenced by extremely dedicated and driven individuals, some of which I can now call friends. I would like to thank ASHRAE Ireland and CIBSE for working alongside our sponsors, CIM, for providing this amazing opportunity. Additionally, I would like to extend my thanks to Conor Murray and Conor Deane for dedicating their own time and effort in putting this together and I would also like to thank Varming Consulting Engineer for the support shown along the way. – Alex Frant


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 vision to expand and grow in the coming years and this conference initiated the momentum to connect with global chapters, learning from other ASHRAE delegates.

Piece written by C Deane

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