Women in ACR : Diana Madra of Johnson Controls, Navy Systems


15 September 2017
johnson controls navy systems design engineer
Meet Diana Madra, Lead HVAC Design Engineer for Johnson Controls, Navy Systems.

Where did you study?
I studied Environmental Technology at the University of Technology in Wroclaw, Poland (Politechnika Wroclawska ), specialising in Air Conditioning  and Heating systems.

What was your first job?
My first real job after graduating was providing sales support at a refrigeration equipment distributor in Poland.  

Where do you work now?
Since 2007 I’ve worked for Johnson Controls, Navy Systems, in the UK. 
What attracted you to the industry?
I thought HVAC sounded interesting because of the wide variety of tasks and challenges.  It is not just about designing ventilation ducts and selecting the cooling equipment, it also involves calculating the heat loads, analysing the noise and vibration, working with customers and suppliers, resolving integration challenges, and much, much, more.

What do you specialise in now?
I design the HVAC systems for Navy vessels.

What excites/interests you about the industry?
The constant challenges and the requirement for bespoke systems and solutions. Navy HVAC systems are unique and you face completely different problems to those in commercial HVAC systems. 

Thanks to working on international projects you get to meet people from many different countries and get the opportunity to see and learn about different cultures.  You also need to know different rules and regulations as different countries have different requirements.

HVAC itself is also developing and the requirements changing, which requires that you constantly need to develop your own skills and knowledge.

How do you see your career developing?
Over the past 10 years I have developed my understanding and skills and progressed from trainee design engineer to the Lead HVAC Engineer.  I’d like to keep learning and developing my skills further and increasing my responsibilities.

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
I do not remember if I was told it or I read it in a book, but it was that you need to find something you like doing and then you should try do this the best you can. It means that you need to ask questions, seek information and grow your skills all the time.

What are the challenges of this industry?
For the part of the HVAC business I am involved with, each system is bespoke, different rules apply and there are different requirements and vessel designs.  Also, the space constraints onboard Navy vessels makes it extremely challenging to fit all the necessary system components, equipment and ductwork.

What are the benefits of being in your role?
My job is not just sitting at a desk and working on the computer. It also involves travelling and meeting with people. There are constantly new challenges.

Working on projects around the world allows me to visit many countries, meet different people and learn about different cultures. 

You cannot be bored in this job. 

What would you say to other women who are considering coming into the ACR industry?
I would say that if they are looking for an interesting job and they like challenges, then they definitely should consider working in the HVAC industry.
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