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Energy and Green Intiatives, Weatherization

Women of Weatherization (#12)

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been around for over 40 years and has served over 7.4 million households, saving families money and making their homes healthier and safer. From the very beginning of the WAP’s history, women have been a driving force in weatherization. This post is part of a month long feature for Women’s History Month. Each post will highlight a few of the women working across the country in the Weatherization Assistance Program. You can join the conversation on social media with the hashtag: #WomenOfWAP

Featured in this post…

Jenifer McCoy- Energy Auditor, Virginia 

Terry Meissner– Weatherization Manager, Texas

Michele Kinsinger- Administrative Assistant, Wyoming

Sonya D. Oates- Program Specialist, North Carolina 


Jenifer McCoy

Energy Auditor and Quality Control Inspector, project:HOMES, Virginia

Jen McCoy

1.How did you first get interested and involved in weatherization?

I started as an installer six years ago. As I attended trainings, I became more interested in building science and the benefits of weatherization to homeowners.

2.Tell us about your current and past roles in the WAP.

I currently work as both a licensed Energy Auditor and BPI certified Quality Control Inspector. Previously, I was involved in both the client intake process, as well as installing energy saving measures in homes as part of a weatherization crew.

3.What is it like being a woman in weatherization? Advantages? Challenges?

I think there are some advantages to being a woman in weatherization, as some of the female homeowners may feel more at ease speaking with and having a woman working in their home. I think women auditors and inspectors can offer a different perspective at times, which will ultimately benefit both the client and the organization. As a woman in a male dominated industry, there are still challenges that exist – like proving your skills and capabilities among your male peers, or even to clients who are not used to women working in the field.  

4.Why do you work in weatherization? What about your job makes you excited to go to work in the morning?

Despite the occasional challenges or obstacles, I love going to work every day. Not only do I feel like I am taking an active role in helping the community and families in need, but as project:HOMES’ weatherization program expands and the energy field grows, I always feel like I am learning something new.

5.Do you have advice for other women interested in joining the weatherization field?

My advice for other women would be not to get discouraged, be patient with yourself and others, and always be willing to step out of your comfort zone. There are so many opportunities in this field, not only to help others but for professional and personal growth as well. You have a chance to take part in paving the way for other women who may not have previously thought of weatherization or building science as a career.


Terry Meissner

Weatherization Manager, Community Action Corporation of South Texas

1.How did you first get interested and involved in weatherization?

I first started working for a Contractor of Weatherization because of my construction background and saw the people that were being helped and thought it was a wonderful program, so I spoke with Community Action Corporation of South Texas about working with them.

2.Tell us about your current and past roles in the WAP.

I started out as a Weatherization Specialist performing assessments on the homes. Then, I started doing all of the audits on the homes as they were assessed. I am currently the Weatherization Manager for our agency which covers 13 counties in South Texas from just north of Corpus Christi to Brownsville to Laredo.

3.What is it like being a woman in weatherization? Advantages? Challenges?

Being the Manager of 10 men is sometimes a challenge in itself. The advantages are when you are working with all of our elderly women that live alone, I feel that they feel more comfortable and at ease with a woman that can explain what and how work will be performed. The challenges are many from not being able to “Rehab a home” that really needs it to not enough funding to hundreds more applications for weatherization than you can do. 

4.Why do you work in weatherization? What about your job makes you excited to go to work in the morning?

The answer to both of these questions is easy, when you get a hug from an elderly lady that remembers you and the work that you did for her and really appreciates it, it makes it all worth it.

5.Do you have advice for other women interested in joining the weatherization field?

If you enjoy helping people, hard work and can take some heartbreak because you cannot help everyone, this is the job for you.


Michele Kinsinger

Administrative Assistant, Council Community Service Weatherization, Wyoming

michele

1.How did you first get interested and involved in weatherization?

I was looking for a job and it is a great way to help people

2.Tell us about your current and past roles in the WAP.

I just started in February 2018, I am the Administrative Assistant for Weatherization

3. What is it like being a woman in weatherization? Advantages? Challenges?

It is nice to be a woman in weatherization. Not sure of the advantages as I just started. Challenges are learning everything that I need to know.

4.Why do you work in weatherization? What about your job makes you excited to go to work in the morning?

If you like helping others this is a great job to have as the crew helps people stay in a warm safe home and you help the crew with the paperwork and whatever they need to get the job done.


Sonya D Oates

Program Specialist, Action Pathways, North Carolina

1.How did you first get interested and involved in weatherization?

I was a volunteer.

2.Tell us about your current and past roles in the WAP.

Intake Specialist- Assist with applications & provide client education for the program

3.What is it like being a woman in weatherization? Advantages? Challenges?

The advantages are meeting the clients and providing them with the services and to see them get excited about what they will receive. The disadvantages are when they have the repairs that prevent them from receiving the services.

4. Why do you work in weatherization? What about your job makes you excited to go to work in the morning?

To know that I may be a help to someone.

5.Do you have advice for other women interested in joining the weatherization field?

It is a very good program to learn more about your house as a whole. You will learn more than you think.

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