Celebrating Women in Weatherization - Molly Carmichael

Molly Carmichael – Administrative and Billing Coordinator, Missouri

How did you first get interested and involved in weatherization?

I actually stumbled into the position. I didn’t know much about it and found a listing for Intake/Outreach and thought it would be interesting. I looked up what Weatherization was and said I’ll give it a try; this seems like an awesome and fantastic program to be involved in.

Tell us about your current and past roles in weatherization.

I started out as Intake and Outreach during Covid, so there was not much in person client contact. I spent a lot of time talking to clients on the phone and trying to get out into the community the best I could during that time. I was moved into a new position after a year and became the Administrative and Billing Coordinator. My current position has many roles including billing out homes, purchasing, proofing work orders , maintaining inventory, releasing monthly homes, submitting and posting contractor invoices, yearly contracts for our HVAC and weatherization contractors, and so much more.

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

I love being a woman in weatherization. I think it’s great coming into a male dominated field and feeling as though we belong here. I have not come across any person who believes their position dominates mine. I like working together as a team and as a whole in the industry. Women in weatherization do not see a limit to what we can do. My position, although in the office, requires me to have the knowledge of what my crew and contractors are doing in the field. I am the one billing each home and I have to understand what is actually going on and being included in the total cost of each measure and into the total cost of the completed home. Challenges I notice are that there are few women working in the field, with most of them working in the office. Some of the most amazing women I have met in weatherization are Quality Control Inspectors, Auditors, and Directors of the program. These are women with strong personalities and a vision of what teamwork is all about. Other challenges I notice are that women feel they cannot become QCI, Auditors, crew members or leads, and Program Managers because they do not have the strong background in construction. This is not the case, there is so much education in our field and so many people willing to help and push everyone forward so we can all thrive in our program. As for other advantages, I can’t fully express the importance of building relationships through networking at conferences and building our community. I have learned in the last 4 years how many walks of life are within weatherization and how we have all managed to build a strong community program not only for our clients but for ourselves.

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

I believe in the work we do for our clients and the overall reduction of energy our program provides beyond our clients. What makes my job exciting? I never know how my workday is going to be, it can be chaos, calm, exciting or just go with the flow. One of the best parts about my job is when you get that thank you call or letter from a client who so desperately needed our help, and you can hear and feel how grateful they are for the help we were able to give. Another exciting part is knowing my voice is heard. I can bring any idea to the table, and we run with it; well for the most part, as I can come up with some really wild ideas sometimes!

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

Just do it! This is an ever-growing field. The knowledge you gain from your peers, everyday work, conferences, the networking, but most importantly all the clients we serve daily is astonishing. It brings a whole new feeling of self-worth and value to the table and knowing you are making a difference in other people’s lives. You do not have to have a background in construction, weatherization or even know anything about weatherization. You come into the program, and you learn, and you are taught by some of the most amazing people in our industry. We are a community, and we all strive to help our fellow partners out. The knowledge I have gained through my peers, my state partners, and the friends I’ve gained along the way is priceless. The best advice I can hand out, is to go for it. Don’t be afraid to learn a new trade and put yourself out there. We as women are fierce and we can do anything we put our minds to. Know that the work you do on a daily basis truly matters!