While society at large wrestles with diversity, equity and inclusion, we struggle with these same concepts in building management. Often, we fall short of including the facilities team in planning upgrades or of ascertaining whether HVAC systems deliver comfort and acceptable IAQ to the entire building. In this session we’ll explore parallels between DEI challenges in society and in building O&M management. Central to our discussion will be how the use of certain ASHRAE best practices for building systems operation and management might make us each a leader, not only in the mechanical room, but outside the building as well.




Sonya M. Pouncy is a degreed mechanical engineer with 20+ years of experience in the HVAC industry. She began her career with Carrier, for which she initially developed residential furnaces and later sold chillers, air-handlers and other commercial equipment. During that time, Sonya learned strategic problem-solving, process improvement and statistical process control. Thereafter, she has consistently brought these bodies of knowledge to bear on her work.
Since leaving Carrier, Sonya has worked with manufacturers’ representatives, utilities and consultants. She has commissioned new construction projects, developed and managed utility rebate programs, led building energy audit teams, and developed and delivered technical training programs. In 2014, she was selected to serve as a subject matter expert to the National Institute of Building Sciences on its Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council to help improve the quality and consistency of training and certification programs for building energy auditors.
Sonya has presented at local conferences and written several blog articles on aspects of building systems’ energy performance. She is a recognized developer and instructor of high-quality educational seminars on topics ranging from HVAC technologies and applications to business development through energy efficiency, the MI Energy Code (ASHRAE Standard 90.1), and—most recently—building reopening readiness.
Sonya is an active member of ASHRAE at both the local and national levels. Currently, she is the Communications Coordinator for the GAC and a Liaison for the Fundamentals Handbook. Previously, she served as the Region V Vice Chair for Government Affairs, Chair of TC 7.3—the Technical Committee on Operations, Maintenance, and Cost Management, and as a member of the Conferences and Exhibition Committee. Locally, Sonya is a Past President of the Detroit Chapter and currently its Government Affairs Committee Chair. In 2020, with the approval of the Detroit Chapter Board of Governors, she established the ad hoc Joint MI Chapters of ASHRAE COVID-19 Task Force. As Chair of the JMAC-CTF, Sonya led a committee comprised of more than 25 members from Michigan’s two ASHRAE Chapters to raise awareness across the state of the role HVAC equipment can play in reducing risks of infectious transmissions within buildings.
Sonya earned her baccalaureate from Purdue University. In 2020, she reinstated her consulting firm Building Vitals, LLC, which helps facility managers identify, understand and implement projects to bridge the gap between where their building performance is and where they want it to be.