Women in HVACR scholarship provides opportunities for students like Samantha Hacker.
Southern PHC talked with Samantha Hacker about the Women in HVACR scholarship, her interest in HVACR, and her plans for the future.
How did you first become interested in HVACR?
When I was four years old, my dad opened an HVACR business named Stone Services, Inc. For the first few years, the business was run out of the basement. Eventually, an office was acquired. My sister and I were taken to service calls and meetings before and after school. In the beginning, my mom worked a full-time job during the day but did administration work for Stone Services in the evening. On most days we were at the office until 9 p.m.
My childhood consisted of coloring with technicians as they waited to be dispatched, answering phone calls, filing paperwork, and accompanying my dad on service calls. I grew up in the HVACR industry. A few months after I graduated from high school, Stone Services was in need of an administrative assistant. I agreed to help for a few months, but my ambition was to become a psychologist. Three years have passed and I am still at Stone Services. I fell in love with the work and became good at it.
Do you have any mentors or role models? If so, who are they and how have they helped you?
I am blessed enough to have three role models. My dad built Stone Services, Inc. from the ground up. He had a family to support, but still took a leap of faith and believed in himself. If he can beat the odds, I believe that I can do anything I set my mind to.
My mom has stuck by my dad’s side through everything. It’s not easy to work with family, and she has worked with her husband for 17 years. There are days where I question if working with my family is something I can handle, but my mom centers me and gives me the strength to move forward.
My sister has helped me with my overall confidence. When I first started at Stone Services, I would often get upset if I walked into a situation where I was ignored or talked down to. I now enter those situations with confidence and receive respect in return.
How did you learn about Women in HVACR and its scholarship opportunities?
I was searching for scholarship opportunities online and put the keywords “Scholarship” and “HVACR.” I saw the Women in HVACR website, clicked on the scholarship page and saw that I qualified for the scholarship. I began looking through the rest of the website and knew I wanted to be a part of the organization.
I found an organization that has strong, independent women who face the same struggles and challenges that I experience within the industry. Women in the industry have to support each other, not tear each other down. Women in HVACR provides me with a strong support system that I didn’t realize I needed.
Samantha Hacker of Middle River, Md., is a recipient of a 2017 scholarship awarded by Women in HVACR, an organization that furthers the growth of women in all aspects of the HVACR industry and provides networking opportunities, mentoring, and education. For more information, visit womeninhvacr.org.
What school are you attending? What is your course of study?
In December 2017, I graduated from The Community College of Baltimore County with an associate degree. I am currently in my first semester at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md. I am planning to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
What are your plans after school? What are your ultimate career goals?
After school, I plan to work in the HVACR industry, whether it is for Stone Services, vendors, manufacturers, etc. I enjoy administration work. There is an array of options pertaining to administrative work and I hope to explore each one throughout my career.
In your opinion, what are some ways to get younger people, and women in particular, interested in trade careers such as HVACR?
For many years, attending college was seen as something everyone should do. In the past few years, trade careers have been making a comeback. I think people have realized that college is not for everyone. I believe that shop classes and basic HVACR, electrician, and automotive classes should be available to both male and female high school students. If someone has never been exposed to something, how would they know if they have a passion for it?
What is the best advice, career-wise or otherwise, that you’ve been given so far?
The best advice I have ever received is, “Finish what you started, no matter how long it takes.” I am a semester behind in school, pushing my graduation date to December 2019. At first, I was devastated, but I have learned that it doesn’t matter if someone finishes something in four years, 10 years, or even 60 years—they still finish, and in the end, that’s all that matters.
MORE ABOUT WOMEN IN HVACR
“Empowering women to succeed through networking opportunities, mentoring and education.”