PODCASTS

Importance of Communication & Empathy in Building a Successful Company

Importance of Communication & Empathy in Building a Successful Company

 

Kip sits down with Melissa Kois to discuss Importance of Communication & Empathy in Building a Successful Company
 

 


 

Podcast Participants:

Graham: Product Director Concora
Kip Rapp: CEO Concora
Melissa Kois: Business Development and Marketing Manager for Unilux CRFC

 

Graham:
Hello everyone and welcome to The Concora Corner, a podcast dedicated to bringing you interviews with folks working in the AC and BPM industry. I’m one of your hosts, Graham Waldrop, a Director of Product here at Concora. Today on the show, we’re talking with Melissa Kois, who is the marketing and business development manager at Unilux. Melissa discusses how Unilux has broken down barriers between departments in terms of communication and understanding that has translated to greater success for the company as a whole. She also touches on what it’s like to be a female leader in the industry and how to create more opportunities for women who want to pursue leadership positions in the building and construction industry. We hope you enjoy today’s interview with Melissa. But before we begin, here’s a quick word from our CEO, Kip Rapp.


Kip:

I wanted to thank everyone again for listening to our podcast. And if you’re interested in knowing more about Concora, we help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great lab experience that’s bolted onto your website. It makes it easy for your architects, engineers, and contractors to do business online with you. We sum it up as three things. It’s providing a good web experience, good content, and good tools. And we have some great tools such as submittals, sustainability, project showcases, or anything else needed by your design community to specify purchase products. We’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo and you can go to concora.com, to learn more, read case studies and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.


Kip:

Well, thanks, Melissa. It’s definitely was looking forward to this discussion today in the podcast. We’re doing a Concora. And I know when we did our prep, we talked about what you do and in the work you do at your company and being a female leader. And we have a lot of listeners and companies I talk to and it’s certainly not easy sometimes. And there’s a lot of things that we can share in best practice. So I was really looking forward to this conversation and talk about your experiences and what you do at your company and how that can translate out to other people that are listening. So how we’d like to start Melissa’s who are you and what are you doing, what’s your company doing, and what makes you different?


Melissa:

Well, thanks for having me. This is a really interesting opportunity. It’s the second podcast I’ve ever done. And it’s more professional related to what I actually do in my career. So it’s definitely going to be interesting for me. So I am the business development and marketing manager for Unilux CRFC. It is a sister company to a larger brand called Unilux VFC, which is also owned by an even parent company to that. We provide retrofit solutions for fan coil units in aging residential high-rise buildings. So we work in condominiums, apartments, hotels, senior residents. We also work in some shared facilities. So mixed residents with commercial. But we are primarily in the residential sector. And as I mentioned, we provide a retrofit solution.


Melissa:

So as opposed to working in a new building and new construction, we go in after a building has neared or reached or surpassed 20 years and we provide the property managers, the board of directors, residents that reach out to us, even the larger corporations, especially in the apartment sector a solution to changing out their fan coils that are found within the suites. And we provide them with the remediation solutions, with the assessment. We also provide them with post-installation services to ensure that their new retrofit equipment is working effectively. And any warranty-related issues, we ensure that we’re managing so that the longevity that we promote in our equipment actually stands. In saying that, I provide an, I don’t want to say an exceptional amount of service to our account management team. We are not an enormous team, but we are growing. And in saying that, I don’t directly go to our customers and go to them as the deal is being worked out, but I am there to provide support and whatever the account manager needs.


Melissa:

So whether it be any type of custom material or information, any type of digital resources, a custom registration system that we build for all of our customers. And if we are working with a partner or a dealer, I’ll provide support to them through either our management or our account managers who might directly be working with them. I also do all of our branding and digital branding. So Unilux CRFC is only about a year and a half old and it started a few months before I started. So I’ve really been able to kind of control the direction of the branding, which has been really cool. We’re moving into a lot more digital programming campaigns like on LinkedIn. And we’re just about to launch a new website. Actually wish we could have done it before this, but we’re about to launch a new website. So it kind of, I guess, there’s a lot of different moving parts, but that’s essentially what I do on a day-to-day basis.


Kip:

Oh, that’s really cool. I mean, you mentioned some really interesting things there about the companies form recently at least this division and you were there fairly soon after. So there’s quite a bit of influence and entrepreneurial type of concepts there, which I think is interesting. And one thing I just for my edification, when you’re talking about fan coils, do they go on the HVAC system, or is there somewhere else?


Melissa:

Yep. No, so they’re directly connected to the entire HVAC system of the building. So it’s what controls the heating, cooling, and ventilation within a suite. Fan coils started being installed in buildings probably in the early 1970s as a solution to baseboard heating. I’m not sure if in the states that was a big thing because I know that there are so many hotter climates, especially as you go farther South. But it was a really big thing here. We actually go into buildings that are 40 or 50 years old and it’s combined fan coil and baseboard heating and they want to transition out of it. But it was a solution to basically to that baseboard style heating.


Melissa:

And what it did, it actually gave the resident inside the suite more control over the temperature and the ventilation in their own suite. And it was a more efficient system. So at the time, it created more energy efficiency by taking away that radiant heat, which is fantastic during the winter months, but it does consume an exceptional amount of energy. It also provided the building more control over their HVAC systems. So there are some additional options and features you can install in your fan coil unit that gives you even more control. And some of the newer buildings do that. But essentially, it was a way for each unit to have more control and the building to have more control while increasing the energy efficiency.


Kip:

And so you mentioned that your company’s lean and mean and you’re in the marketing machine, right? So-


Melissa:

Yeah. Yeah.


Kip:

are you… Is there more than one person that does marketing in your company? Are you-


Melissa:

No, so I’m in… Sure, there is, like I mentioned, there is a parent company that has been around for 50 years and they’ve actually been manufacturing fan coils, heat pumps, HVAC equipment again, for 50 years. So there was a marketing director. He still works for VFC as well as the other parent to that that owns a multitude of other companies. So he kind of jump-started the marketing and branding for the four months before I started when CRFC was created. But it’s all me. I work under a fantastic leader. He just came in about a year ago. He actually started right at the height of the pandemic. I remember thinking it was-


Kip:

Oh, that’s scary.


Melissa:

I know. I remember thinking like, this is intense. Good for you. And one of my jobs is to really get him onboarded to the company. So while I didn’t know every single role in depth really, I kind of got him into what our culture was and how we all wanted to develop, and what we all foresaw in the growth. So he’s been fantastic. He actually has a sales and marketing background, even though he’s our senior VP. So he’s been actually a really incredible mentor because he just has this experience that’s been able to make me be a better marketing and business development professional.


Kip:

That’s great. Yeah, and it’s awesome that you have great leaders that are great mentors and it speaks well to the culture of collaboration because like us, we’re small and it’s very important that you have the right people with your team. And it sounds like you and your company and your leader, there certainly fit that molding. And it also, I guess, goes into more of what you do because you said you do branding and marketing and you have business development and I can see that, where you have that kind of wearing multiple hats.


Melissa:

Yes, very entrepreneurial. Everybody that I’ve seen been hired, I was part of probably the first four or five people and everyone that’s since been hired, that’s something that, I’ve helped with some of the hiring, some of the roles, but that’s something I think that our higher-level management and I know I definitely look for because the owner of our company, both owners actually are incredibly entrepreneurial. They don’t just own either CRFC or VFC, they own a multitude of other companies. So I think from the top down, it’s something that they desire in all of their employees.


Kip:

As a company culture, what is… Because this is I think really good for our listeners is like, what do you think is really good from a… Because you mentioned a few things like mentorship and collaboration, but what would you define your culture? And what would you recommend is like the really important things for an entrepreneurial company like yourself?


Melissa:

So where I am right now, I would say that there’s a lot of onus on leadership. So even somebody that might not be in a really high up senior-level role, there’s always an expectation that they’re going to be a leader and they’re going to own what they’re working on, what they’re doing, what their role is. And I’ve really seen it in all of our employees. So whether it’s an account manager working with a client, whether it’s our administrator who right now, she just pioneered a full-on warranty project that honestly, I remember when she shared it with us, I was like, this is incredible. It was almost over my head.


Melissa:

Everybody is really proud of what they do. And I think that’s come from the management down because they’ve let us be leaders. And for a smaller organization like us as we grow, I think that’s important because when you wear a lot of hats, you have a lot of things going on. And at any one minute, if you’ve got a leader or a manager that looking down on you or pushing you down or even just creating that passive, aggressive feeling in the office or even virtually through all of our mediums that we now use, I think that can take away your strength and feeling like a leader and therefore becoming a leader.


Melissa:

So I mean, let’s see if I’m there in 10 years, who knows what’s going to happen. But I can see this company really growing into a lot of leaders that want to be a part of all the moving parts that want to be not even so much overly involved, but they want to know what’s going on because they’re proud of what they’re doing and everything connects together. So leadership is definitely one of the most important things. And again, not just from the top down, not just the owner being the leader and not just the senior VP, but everybody being a leader in what they do. I think that’s one of the strongest things that every employee can have and be proud of and take into every role that they’re doing.

 

Graham:
Yeah, it sounds like you have a great sense of comradery within your company. So I was curious about sort of interdepartmental relationships because I think that’s something that we really strive for on our side is making sure those relationships are great. So I’m curious in particular with products for example because I come from products. I’m always interested with how other departments interface with products. What’s your relationship like there and what’d you do when you started to try and build a solid foundation for that relationship to work?

 

Melissa:
So when I started, so I actually have a tiny bit of HVAC background coming in. So it wasn’t like I was being hit with all these things that I was totally overwhelmed with. But at the beginning when there wasn’t a lot of us, one of the biggest things I did was I walked right into our manufacturing facility, their house together, our office, and our manufacturing facility and I just started asking questions. And not just asking our leader and asking at the time our plant manager, I was asking the guys that are down on the ground, what are you manufacturing? What are you making? What is your role in putting that part with that part to create our fan coil unit? The guys in the back, it is incredible. Just the sheer amount of knowledge that they have because they’re the one’s manufacturing, they were able to teach me so many different things.

 

Melissa:
We also had a plant manager who has since actually moved back onto our parent company. He was fantastic too answering questions. Also providing us with information that we can share with our customers who are essentially residents. And then from that, I feel like I was able to build a pretty good archive of information on my own and understand all of our equipment as we were making changes into new generations of models. But right now, we’ve gotten to a point where we have a logistics manager who works in the back, and he actually kind of assumed some of the roles of our plant manager, very experienced, very knowledgeable. And anytime something new is presented, he is right there in front talking to the manufacturers of the components, asking questions of those that might have a little more experience to actually know and understand what he’s working on.

 

Melissa:
So in all of our weekly meetings, weekly team meetings, anytime there’s anything new in production or with our model or even with our equipment, if we’ve changed a supplier for any reason, for a grill or a drawer or a motor, anything like that, everybody shares all of that information. So as a team, we actually understand the product of what we’re selling and why we’re selling it. So there’s a really open culture of understanding on the actual equipment instead of there being that piecemeal of, okay, you’re in sales, you just go sell the equipment and you’re in marketing, you just build the branding. We all actually keep each other in the loop of what we’re doing. I guess, too because we are still growing. And sometimes I’ll get technical questions and I don’t want to have to say, I’m not sure. Let me get back to you unless it’s something incredibly in-depth. I’m not an engineer. But we really all stay together and update each other on exactly what’s going on, especially with our equipment.

 

Graham:
I think that’s really cool too not to be siloed, have a mastery understanding of the product, even if that’s not like directly what your… I mean, you are working with the product because you’re in marketing, but it’s not like you are on the ground floor. So I think that’s great that you have that sort of go get them attitude to go in there, ask questions. Your background helps. I mean, that was just awesome hearing that because I think one of the problems we see sometimes is that people get too siloed in what they’re doing and they only seek to understand enough to not even just to get by, but just do their job and not worried about the company at large sometimes. So I think what your attitude around that and your philosophy around that is awesome.

Melissa:
Yeah, and especially, like I said, as we’ve seen more people come in because we have hired more I guess administrative-technical roles. We brought in somebody for finances and we brought in someone for administration. And it’s so interesting to see because these are people that could essentially never go in the back for any reason to ever have to even look at a fan coil unit. Do you even know the components? And they’re asking questions and they’re always walking around the office of course when we were all in there full-time. But they always, we all always have questions. And again, I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a smaller nature of office right now or if it’s because we are just all innately very curious. But I think even just a culture of people that we hire, it’s something that we see in the person that we’re either assisting with hiring or we’re directly hiring.


Kip:

Yeah, no, that’s a great point. It’s all about personalities and cultures to build your culture, which is collaboration, curiosity, reactiveness, leadership, accountability. And you mentioned one other thing earlier to Melissa about you were there early in the company and you talked about influencing the brand. So what is the brand, what was the brand and how did you figure out the brand?

Melissa:
So it’s funny. I came in and there was a logo. I think even every owner is like, I want to create my logo. They visioned something in their heads. So that was already there. So one of the biggest things that I found in starting and even now as we’re doing more projects and growing is because we are the sister company to a larger parent company, the brand name competes with itself. But it’s not really competing because we’re using, it’s the same name, but it says subsidiary. It’s a solution to our original equipment without throwing anything under the bus because as we know all equipment ages, our phones age, our computers age, our cars age. But when you’re asked, when you’re going into a building and you’re telling somebody, okay, so it’s time for you to change what they essentially consider their furnace in their home, it’s something that’s out of sight, out of mind.

 

Melissa:
So we’re talking about something that they haven’t thought about that they need to spend money on. So when we took our original brand, the Unilux VFC brand, which is a very, very strong, very recognized international brand, not just Canada, internationally recognized. One of the biggest things I wanted to do was differentiate the actual service of the equipment. That was really important because I didn’t want people just calling and emailing us saying, “Oh well, your Unilux. Just give me a price.” No, it’s not about just giving you a price. There are other manufacturers. We understand that. There are other people that are going in as one-offs. Oh, I can change that for you. Oh yeah, I can find you the best deal. I wanted to differentiate the actual service of the equipment so that people understood why to stick with the original manufacturer, why our equipment was superior to those other companies that are just fly by nights or one offers or oh, that’s what the price they’re giving you? Fine, we’ll give you a better price.

 

Melissa:
So I really tried to build a lot of our material to highlight the original equipment and its superior level of manufacturing which would then highlight our equipment and how we’ve modeled what we’re doing based on having this exceptional reputation already. And it’s definitely moved that way. So as we start working with more clients, it’s funny. One of the biggest things we are seeing is, oh yeah. Yes, so there’s already Unilux unit. Of course, I came to you first. I want to know everything about your equipment. I Googled it and I saw the unit, but can you tell me more? So even in the conversations, we’re having, they’re saying the biggest things, they Googled our name. They already know who we are based on the equipment that they have in their unit.

 

Melissa:
They’re collectively asking us the right questions as opposed to just give me the best price. So as we move forward with more, I guess, more branding if that even makes sense, but as we move forward to more branding, so doing things like Google ads, increasing our LinkedIn productivity by posting more contributing editorials in industry magazines, which we do actively, advertising, cross-promoting with some of our other dealer brands, I think that’s just strengthening the specification that we built in our brand of being the solution to the original unit. Not this is better, not this is cheaper, not pick us because we said so, but because we’ve actually created all those layers of questions that people know to ask us.

 

Kip:
Yeah, so I mean, that sounds great. So when you were saying you wanted to differentiate on the service, are we thinking there’s the trust, the relationship and you were going to provide a high-quality service to replace this and make it to a modern type of unit. So could you walk us through that what you meant by differentiation?

 

Melissa:
Yeah, of course. So with the retrofit unit, there are actually different components that were created for not just the idea of, okay, we need to provide a solution, but we need to provide a solution to improved indoor air quality. We need to provide a solution to increase energy efficiency. We need to provide a solution to their not being available opportunity for mold to potentially grow in the dark moist cabinet. So there were a lot of considerations taken by the technical professionals that built this unit. And what they did is they modeled it based on the changes in the environment over the last 20 years as well as the changes in the actual structure of the original fan coil units because you’re thinking about these manufacturing starting in the 70s. They’re of course evolving in different models. And I’m sure that there are some companies that have model one to model 50.

 

Melissa:
So what we’re doing, what, sorry, what they did, what all of our technical engineers, product specialists did is they actually took a lot of this information into consideration to decide on what type of new components were important. So some of our just very, I guess, basic that everyone would understand, we’ve changed the installation from fiberglass to a closed-cell foam. What this means is it’s essentially, I wish we had a piece to hold up, but what it essentially is is it’s like a foam pad and it’s not like a sponge where it’s going to retain water and it’s going to hold onto it. Similar to how fiberglass is, it’s a woven material. So as the moisture starts to sink into it and it lives and then grows as the temperature becomes warmer. And all you need for mold is 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which in Celsius is like, I think about 14 degrees. That’s not hot. So think about once it gets really hot and there’s condensation or it’s aging and you have leaks and you start to have pooling and flooding. That’s a recipe for mold.

 

Kip:
Are you the… Because everything that you’re saying is I feel as a homeowner, I really understand because, and you’re thinking about solutions with health, sustainability, maintenance, bettering my lines, but are you selling to the building owner, the property manager? And I’m sure they have the same roles, but who are you actually telling that message to then?

 

Melissa:
So we talk to the property manager who manages the building for all the residents. We talk to the board of directors who are residents themselves that actually, I’m going to call them the decision-makers because that’s what they are. The five to seven, however, many are on aboard. They’re the ones that control the annual budget. They control the reserve budget. They control all the changes. They consult with their buildings of course, but when something becomes important, they’re the ones that seek out the different, either manufacturers or service providers or whomever for whatever the project is. And then we’re also talking to the resident.

 

Melissa:
So we get a lot of one-offs that will reach out to us. Oh, my fan coil unit is 32 years old. I think I need to change it or I need an assessment. So that’s great that the resident realizes. That means they’ve opened it or maybe they’ve had a weird smell in their unit or they’re having an excessive amount of noise from an aging monitor, monitor, an aging motor. So as they reach out to us, we work directly with them. But we also try to work directly with the building because if one unit is over 30 years old and they’re experiencing issues, the likelihood that the rest of them are experiencing issues, it’s pretty high.

 

Melissa:
So we’re primarily talking to those three people, but then we also work with engineers. So on a more technical level, we’ll work and talk to and share and collaborate with engineers that work in the condominium or high-rise sector. But it’s a little bit different. With the engineers, we’re working more directly with them and they’re generally already working on a project. So they have a different technical specification that they’re bringing in. But those are the essential threes, property managers, board of directors, and residents.

 

Kip:
Awesome.

 

Kip:
That’s great. And I know I wanted to spend some time on you being a female leader in this industry.

 

Melissa:
Yeah, so it’s definitely still a very interesting industry. I have, like I said, experience in HVAC and prior to that, I actually have experience in the construction industry. I come from a pretty long line of construction as well. A lot of my family works in it. My partner works in it. So it’s not new to me and the nature of what can happen isn’t new to me either. But sometimes I’m still surprised to see the sheer amount of men over women. But then on the flip side, I’m not surprised to see the sheer amount of men in leadership roles versus women.

 

Melissa:
And I don’t really say that in a good way, but it doesn’t surprise me because it’s still a very construction-related industry. HVAC is both technical and simplified. Once you actually learn about what you’re doing. So whether you’re working on large equipment or you’re working on fan coils or you’re working on heat pumps or you’re working on all of them or you’re working in the condo sector. It’s a very small world so it becomes very easy to navigate. But I think the hardest thing is to penetrate to actually get into it. So my background allows me to actually become more of a leader because I have that experience and I have the knowledge.

 

Melissa:
But there’s definitely a lot of times that I’ve walked into a room where I’m either hosting a presentation or I’m assisting on hosting a presentation or we’re going to an event and all the people speaking on the panel are men. And I’m wondering, is it because they don’t want women or is it because women aren’t comfortable, or is it just an industry that maybe don’t interest women? I think there’s a lot of questions around it. And I guess, maybe you can tell by my personality, I’m very outgoing. I’m very in your face. I don’t know if that’s good to say, but I have that larger-than-life personality.

 

Melissa:
Very, very assertive. It’s allowed me to stand in those rooms and to talk to those male leaders and to talk to those business owners and to be comfortable with my level of knowledge, even if it isn’t that of an engineer whom I’m speaking with many male engineers who are far more technical than me and have looked at me with I’m sure questions like how did she get to where she is and how is she doing this? But I think there’s a level of confidence that’s paired with the knowledge that I have and the experience that I have. I also think that there’s a lot of questions to be answered in our industry.

 

Melissa:
So because I look at it more from the lifestyle perspective of indoor air quality, of human health and safety, of the residents working with the property managers, breaking it down to that customer service level, I think that’s really what’s enabled me to get to where I am and to do what I do because as you start to move down that ladder, a lot of the property managers who are essentially decision-makers for their buildings, they are women and they have this incredibly large role. They have to keep hundreds of residents happy. I couldn’t even imagine that. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping my two kids happy. They’re keeping hundreds of people happy. So these are people too that are essentially leaders, but they’re not really treated or considered to be leaders.

Melissa:
And I think one of the things that when I work with them or I speak with them or I work with a prop, I’m sorry, an account manager who’s working with them is I’m always trying to make them feel like they are leaders of what they’re doing. So I don’t know if maybe that higher level of management that is still predominantly men if they’re allowing those women to move beyond that level of leadership that they’re in. Maybe the RNM just not seeing it, but a lot of the leadership that I’m seeing in these larger property management companies, in these larger HVAC companies, even on the organizational boards, a lot of them are still men. And I think there’s a lot of room for really knowledgeable experienced women. And I’m not even just saying myself, I mean, on the whole.

 

Kip:
Yeah.

 

Melissa:
And it’s actually very interesting. I was at an event last year in Chicago, a great city. Love Chicago. And they had an hour-long group event and it was for women and it was called female leaders in the indoor air quality sector. And I couldn’t make it because I was hosting our booth. And I remember thinking that is awesome that they even have the event. Not even, I was obviously disappointed that I couldn’t go, but I remember thinking about how it starting. You’re seeing those things. You’re seeing those events. You’re seeing those focus groups that are catered to women in this industry. And while I don’t always agree with the separation, I think that it’s necessary to establish those higher places for women in the HVAC industry and in the high-rise sector, and in construction on a whole.

 

Kip:
With the example of the property man or these women, folks that are making everyone’s lives happy.

 

Melissa:
Property managers.

 

Kip:
Property managers. And it sounded like one of the things that you’re telling them is, and I’m guessing is think of yourself as a leader, number one-

Melissa:
They are, right?


Kip:

Yeah, and that in itself can help with moving up and having those dialogues. So is that what you’re saying?

 

Melissa:
Yeah, definitely. So here in Ontario, property managers actually have to become certified. And there is a governing body. It’s called ACMO, Association of Condominiums Ontario Management, condominium owner management. I always call it ACMO. So I’m having a hard time remembering the whole name. So they credit and then they accredit. So all these property managers who become certified, they actually have to do continuing educational credits, which enables them to learn even more within their sector. So how these people don’t move up to become those next level of leaders is beyond me because they’re constantly educating themselves on everything to do with the condominium, the high rise sector safety, legal, pandemic related.

 

Melissa:
The amount of courses that I see going through these emails is incredible for these people. And I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want to or they’re not allowed or there’s a glass ceiling that they can only go so high beyond. I’m not 100% sure. But these condo leaders, so these people that are the leaders of their buildings, they have over a span of three, five, 10, 15 years of being a property manager. They have the skills, the knowledge and the experience to be running those larger property management companies and to move into high-level roles in HVAC companies because they’ve probably at some point worked with a supplier like myself, or sorry, a manufacturer like myself however many times over between all the buildings they’ve worked in and all the projects that they’ve assisted their boards with.

 

Graham:
What do you think needs to happen? I know you said, you’re not sure why it’s happening, but what do you think needs to happen to get more women into those leadership roles?

 

Melissa:
Well, I think generationally, it’s going to shift. There is a pretty traditional viewpoint on the construction industry and HVAC falls into that whether it’s a new build or a retrofit. I think generationally, it is going to change. You’re going to be seeing, we are going to be seeing more women and we’re going to be seeing more individuals of different ethnicities and different cultural backgrounds moving into those leadership roles in those industries. But I think what really needs to happen immediately if I could open a door and tell these higher-level leaders what I thought, I think that what they need to do is they need to open the doors without fear for these female leaders.

 

Melissa:
They need to look at the people that are serious, either in front of them or sending their resumes in or maybe have worked for the company for a few years and are trying to better themselves in education and experience and give those opportunities where they’re due. I know right now it’s a little tricky with the pandemic and how everything’s changed and the working remote and opportunities. We are, all of us across Canada and America, we are suffering job losses. There are not as many opportunities. But when there is one, I think that it has to go beyond what could be considered traditional. And we have to start opening the doors for these different people to provide a different perspective, but who still have the experience, the knowledge, and the skills.

 

Graham:
Yeah, I think you hit the nail around the head because it does start at the top. How are you going to get that message out there is really dependent on who wants to get the message out there? And so without support from leadership and various companies, it’s going to be tough to see that change I think so. Yeah, there certainly should be more of a movement there.

 

Melissa:
I agree. I don’t think there’s any reason that a woman can’t work in the construction, HVAC, indoor air quality, high-rise industries. There’s no separation between levels of intelligence. If somebody is genuinely interested in what they’re doing, whatever industry it’s in, there’s no reason that a woman can’t sit at the top of a property management company and manage. There’s no reason that a woman can’t control or even own her own HVAC company.

 

Kip:
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I really understand and agree with your insight. And the thing I heard some time ago is even with educational, there’s a difference between men and women. Men doing more engineering stuff in general. And so one thing that really opened my eyes too is by talking a traditionally kind of an engineering type of concept like, okay, maybe you attract a little more men because of that. But then as you talk about problem-solving, about the betterment of lives and I think some of that can also help engage more women into that educational tract and talk about sustainability, quality, people’s lives, the mold, everything they talked about. So having that kind of switch into, instead of being a fan coil or HVAC unit, this is actually a betterment of people’s lives in the future, which then could attract a larger population of people at the interest in that. So that was one thing that might make sense there. Any thoughts on that?

 

Melissa:
Yeah, definitely. I think with… It’s funny because we have a few different generations of engineers. We’ve got some younger guys that we’ve worked with and then we’ve got some really experienced, more traditionally set individuals. And actually one of them is a woman and she’s been fantastic to work with. She’s, I can’t remember, she’s from Europe originally. So she has this really incredible perspective on things and just a really fun personality. So she kind of encompasses both of what we’re talking about, what you just said. So she is traditional. I think she’s in her late 40s. Maybe you’re… I don’t know actually. I have no idea.

 

Melissa:
But she is a little more traditional in her knowledge and her application of it. But she has this wonderful ability to speak to the residents and the boards who are essentially residents just so personally. So she makes it about their lives as opposed to making it so technical that residents’ heads are spinning and all they can focus on is, oh, I have to spend this much money. And I think with the generational shift, we’re going to see more of the importance on the life aspect of things like fan coils and ventilation and indoor air quality.

 

Melissa:
And I hope, I mean, I’m not an engineer, but I can only hope that more women who have that thought process and they have those technical abilities go into engineering roles and feel empowered to move into the construction industry because similar to how my generation… I’m in my 30s. I went to university with tons of women who graduated from science programs who said, I want to be a high school science teacher. There are no female high school science teachers. Did you have one? The funny thing was, I did have one and she was unreal. So I hope that as the generations decades and generations go on that more women are empowered to go into engineering roles and to work in these industries that are traditionally male and to not be afraid of who they are.

 

Kip:
Well, that’s awesome. And I know we’re going onto the end of our session and definitely appreciated your time, Melissa. I really enjoyed one, just kind of the entrepreneurial approach that you have with your company, the culture of your company, of you. I mean, you’re an awesome leader and a communicator and yet, it looks like you have great mentors and you’re hiring really talented people and highly influencing the culture of the company and the brand as you talked about where it’s more than just a widget, a feature, it’s about the betterment of lives, which is very consistent. Other people, I talked to how you differentiate. And then certainly really appreciated your view of female leadership of what are some of the challenges, how to get past that, and encouraging both women and men to get into HVAC. And so that’s awesome. So I do want to thank you for your time today. I know everyone’s busy and there’s a lot of things we can be doing. But I hope everything that you’ve said, I think will be great for our listeners. And again, thank you for that.

 

Melissa:
Good, thank you so much for inviting me. Like I said, I was excited to share more of a professional side and I’m still pretty light and easy-going. But I hope that this is a space that I can open up for other women and of course men. Like I said before, there’s no reason that men and women can’t work together in this, what is right now, a male-dominated industry.

 

Graham:
Melissa, is there anywhere that people can go to find out more about your company or find out more about you?

 

Melissa:
Absolutely, so I’m going to do a few little plugs. So you can check out the company that I work for at uniluxcrfc.com. Our LinkedIn account is also Unilux CRFC. And if you ever, you guys or any of your awesome listeners want to just shoot me a message or ask me a question or anything at all, they can check out my profile at Melissa Kois on LinkedIn.

Graham:
Fantastic. Well, Melissa, thank you so much for stopping by the show today, and have a great weekend.

 

Melissa:
Thanks so much. You guys too.

 

Graham:
All right, folks, that wraps us up for today’s show. So you can find our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and SoundCloud by searching for The Concora Corner. And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review if you listen on Apple, any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out or just the show in general or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com, we’re on Facebook at facebook.com/concorallc, we are on Twitter, @Concora and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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