December 15, 2020
Get to Know: Beth Braddy, AHRI’s Richard C. Schulze Award Winner
Beth Braddy is many things.
A fiercely proud Georgia Tech alum. An energy efficiency and regulatory champion. And most recently, winner of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) prestigious Richard C. Schulze award.
An attractive combination
Having worked for Georgia Power during college, Beth was exposed to various types of HVAC work in commercial buildings – and intended to stay in the power industry until a job description from Trane caught her eye.
“A marketing engineer role was posted, which I saw as an opportunity to support and educate people on HVAC equipment,” she says. “Being able to combine technical knowledge with people-facing work was very attractive to me.”
She’s been doing just that ever since.
Bettering customers and the planet
Beth’s held a number of different roles with the company since her first job in Macon, Georgia, but spent over 10 years concentrating on regulatory work for our equipment – something she took great pride in.
“We had to stay on top of constantly churning, new federal and state requirements for energy efficiency, equipment performance and building codes,” she says. “Every deadline we met yielded a huge sense of accomplishment. Completing that work and enhancing our products for the betterment of our customers, and the environment, was a true personal achievement.”
Staying ahead of the pack is something Beth learned early on.
“I was named valedictorian of my high school class, so when I landed at Georgia Tech, I thought I was pretty smart,” she recalls. “I quickly learned that I was surrounded by some of the most elite company and brightest minds out there! The school’s engineering curriculum is extremely challenging, and I was average at best compared to my peers.”
Beth says she soon realized the time and discipline it would take to keep up in her new environment – which set her up for success once arriving at Trane a few years later.
“While a lot of us are adjusting to working remotely this year, I actually had to learn how to do that many years ago, as I was assigned to products and work content that were at manufacturing sites and work locations all over the country,” she says. “My leadership has also been at a different location than mine since 2005. Learning to accomplish my goals without being physically in the same location as my manager was a necessity.”
Now a product manager focusing on water source heat pumps and commercial self-contained units, Beth’s goal of improving efficiency and performance continues – and is boosted by her engagement with AHRI. She also maintains a laser focus on sustainability.
“There are so many social reasons to embrace energy efficiency and sustainability,” she says. “Trane Technologies does a fantastic job in that realm. I’m very proud of our company and our stance on these areas holistically.”
The highest of honors
“The synergy of the work I do with AHRI is equally important in my current role as it was in my previous one,” Beth says. “I’m blessed that I get to be a part of something big – something that will help Trane do even more good.”
That work is now being recognized by AHRI, who recently bestowed Beth with their highest honor for service to the HVAC industry – the Richard C. Schulze award. The annual award is given in appreciation of distinguished service and commitment to AHRI and the industry’s goals and objectives.
“Beth’s many years of strong and selfless service to our industry have been an inspiration to her colleagues who have benefited immeasurably from her contributions, which are recognized and celebrated with this award,” said Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of AHRI.
Beth says she was excited, honored and surprised to receive the award – which carried even more weight given it’s an industry-wide recognition.
“Even though, technically, these are competitors, in a lot of ways we all want the same things for the industry, and we’re pushing the envelope on energy efficiency and performance,” she says. “I’ve worked side by side my AHRI cohorts, so to be selected out of that group is an honor. I was blown away.”
With STEM, the possibilities are endless
When asked what advice she’d give for students or young professionals considering a career in engineering, Beth says, at its core, STEM is really about solving problems.
“Those problems can be anything from true applications, to more abstract or future-facing ones,” she says. “You can solve problems sitting in a desk on the phone, or physically standing in front of the problem and using your strengths and interests to understand it and find a solution.”
“There are a number of ways to take the knowledge harnessed from a STEM-related degree and apply it to a fulfilling, impactful career,” Beth continues. “The possibilities are endless”.
Get to know Beth, in her own words:
Where are you from?
I grew up in Eatonton, GA which is a small, rural town about 45 minutes NE of Macon. I now live in Macon, having moved here right after college graduation to work for Trane!
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy running, listening to music, reading and spending time with my family.
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
A material for smart phones to be covered with (I’m thinking a liquid that is sprayed on the phone or that the phone is dipped in and hardens), that is impervious to liquid and protects the phone from any trauma (like dropping it) that will protect the complete exterior (including the screen) without having to add a case and that will not harm any of the electronics.
What was the last good book you read?
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
What’s an accomplishment in life you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of my Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech. I worked extremely hard in a challenging academic environment to earn my degree, and at the same time I worked as co-op student with Georgia Power Company to pay for my education.
Describe your perfect day.
I would sleep until daylight and wake up to look outside at a beautiful beachfront view. I would go for a morning run, then hit the beach and enjoy the day with my family and any friends that may have tagged along. We would have a wonderful evening meal (fresh seafood) and relax.
Who would you most like to have dinner with, dead or alive?
Dolly Parton! (WWDD?)
What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the course of your career?
Never stop learning. Push yourself to try new things, study and grow.