Thriving as a Woman in a Male-Dominated Trade: An Interview with Yesy Hernandez, Partner and President of Climatisation HVAC

  • Published on:
    July 22, 2023
  • Reading time by:
    9 minutes

Yesy Hernandez knows what it’s like to excel in a male-dominated industry—but it hasn’t always been easy. As President of the Los Angeles-based Climatisation HVAC Inc., this business owner specializes in custom, environmentally-conscious HVAC solutions. She knows that collaboration is key to success in the trade, and for this reason, Hernandez continually makes sure her workers are cared for. But there’s so much more to this founder’s success. Leveraging her experience as an entrepreneur, Hernandez shares key insights into running a thriving, environmentally-conscious business.

Let’s Get Personal

Can you tell us about your journey in the mechanical air conditioning and heating industry? What led you to pursue this career?

My parents and mentors played a key role in my trajectory. Growing up in Burbank, California, I was very close with my mom—she encouraged me to earn my degree and become a stationary air conditioning and heating mechanical engineer and MBA. There were no limitations to what I believed I could achieve, which made it easy for me to dive headfirst into my education. I also credit my mentor “Alfred” who owns a very successful mechanical air conditioning company, who I see as a father figure, and whose leadership and work ethic in running his own HVAC company inspired me. Though I began my career in insurance, I eventually felt the pull to carve a path in the same field—and I got to carry the knowledge I built as a child into adulthood. First, I became Vice President and learned the trade of the company where I worked for over a decade. Then I became the founder and partner of my own mechanical air conditioning and heating company.

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, what challenges have you faced throughout your career, and how have you overcome them?

Starting out, some people second-guessed me—not everyone, but definitely some. It was tough, but I stood firm in my abilities and experience, and I continued believing in what I was capable of doing. I’ve always been confident in what my team can do. With my education and background, I try to stay cool in the face of adversity because I know that I have the skills to back it up. The obstacles I’ve encountered, the many years of experience I’ve gained, have made me a strong and wise person. Now that I’ve proven myself, those people are few and far between.

How do you believe your background and experience have shaped your leadership style as the President of Climatisation HVAC?

Collaboration is at the core of my business. I saw that supportive, team-oriented culture work well, and I’ve adapted it to my own company. My experience through the years in my career in air conditioning, heating, and ventilation has played a role in my leadership style too. As a leader, I want team to know they’re never on an island. They can always come to me—and to one another—with challenges. And most importantly, we can always put our heads together and find proven solutions to clients’ problems. There’s a lot of trust involved, and we always meet deadlines for projects.

What motivated you to start Climatisation HVAC and focus on delivering heating and cooling services to luxury residential and commercial properties?

Sustainability plays a core role in what we do. Today I have over a decade of experience working in high-end retail and luxury homes. I have made a name for myself in the air conditioning and heating industry, and we’ve built a reputation of being the best in new-construction installation and service repair luxury residential and commercial properties. I like to think that HVAC systems are an integrated part of a greater whole, and working with these types of clients has motivated me to make sure that every system is coming together the way it should.

Could you share an example of a complex problem you encountered in your work and how you found a unique solution for it?

Once my team was working hard to pass a challenging inspection. I thought it would be most effective if we sat down and worked through the best possible solution for the client together. I truly believe collaboration is key to success, so we put our heads together and found a good path forward. I’m pleased to say we passed the inspection. 

As a female mentor in the industry, how do you support and empower other women to succeed in the construction and development field?

It’s been a true honor to connect with other women not only in the trade, but in the construction and development field in general. There are more of us than I could have ever imagined, and I believe social media has made it easier for us to connect and support one another. I always encourage other women to reach out to me with questions or thoughts on their experiences, and I’ll do what I can to make them feel at ease. I like to highlight that while we’re still the minority, women in HVAC are very capable, and the sky is the limit in terms of what we can do.  

What role do you think diversity and inclusion play in the success of a company like Climatisation HVAC?

Diversity and inclusion are key for us. In our industry and in life, we need people from all backgrounds—from all walks of life—in order to communicate effectively, learn successfully, and serve clients to the best of our abilities. At Climatisation HVAC, I make cultivating a welcoming and inclusive environment a priority. Ensuring that our team represents the diversity we’re founded on is a key objective. 

How do you balance the technical aspects of your role as a refrigeration air conditioning and heating engineer with the business aspects of running Climatisation HVAC?

My education has helped me prioritize both the technical and business aspects of my company. I hold an MBA from the University of Phoenix, so I’ve been able to hone my abilities as a founder and leader over the years. I know how to run a team. At the same time, I’m a trained and educated stationary engineer with longstanding expertise in refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating systems. I know how these systems actually work. In many ways, these technical systems mirror the business side of things in that all parts must work in order to be successful.

What are some of the proudest achievements or milestones of Climatisation HVAC under your leadership?

Working with globally-renowned retailers has been humbling. These partnerships also offer powerful insight into how other successful companies operate. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to learn from others. Whether it’s a client, a colleague, or a competitor, I won’t hesitate to listen and observe—or sit down for a conversation when the situation allows. But truly, working with retailers like Moncler, Birkenstock, Gucci, and Zegna has made me incredibly proud. 

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for Climatisation HVAC in the next few years?

At this stage, I want to continue to grow. I also want to keep showing gratitude for not only our clients, but our workers too. At Climatisation HVAC, we couldn’t do what we do without the people on our staff (or the people and businesses we serve). 

All About the Business

How does Climatisation HVAC differentiate itself from other HVAC companies in the market—especially in terms of providing heating and cooling services to luxury residential and commercial properties?

Top-tier installation and repair. Seamless ventilation, heating, and refrigeration services. Attention to detail is paramount, and my team and I try to leave no stone unturned where our clients’ logistics are concerned. Climatisation HVAC recognizes the value of custom service, and we try to factor that into every project. 

Can you tell us about the process of securing and maintaining contracts with high-end luxury brands such as Moncler, Birkenstock, Gucci, and Loewe?

My team and I work with each client to develop a joint vision. This focus on connection—on partnership and mutual understanding—is something that resonated with these high-end brands. I believe it played an important role in our ability to work with global players who trust us enough to partner over the long term. Our team sees that HVAC systems are a part of a greater whole. More than that, we’re committed to making sure each project is designed not only with the client’s practical specifications in mind, but with their long-term goals factored in too.

What strategies do you employ to ensure that Climatisation HVAC consistently delivers top-tier heating and cooling services to clients in prestigious neighborhoods in Los Angeles?

Again, this goes back to collaboration. At Climatisation HVAC, we find holistic solutions to practical problems. Clients seem to appreciate this throughout Los Angeles, but those in our city’s more prestigious neighborhoods truly share in our core values. I should clarify that these values include Safety, Transparency, Innovation, Collaboration, Stewardship, and Follow-Through. By integrating these concepts into everything we do, Climatisation HVAC can continually deliver on our promise.

How do you stay updated with the latest technological advancements and industry trends in the mechanical air conditioning and heating field?

Wearing multiple hats is key. It’s important for everyone on our team to be willing and open to learn—even if they’re already experts in the field. Long nights on the drawing board, early mornings onsite, and late afternoons scouring the latest research on sustainability and HVAC technology are the norm for us. I’ll repeat that continuous learning is critical, especially given how quickly the trade is evolving.

What measures does Climatisation HVAC take to ensure sustainability and efficiency in its projects and operations?

In addition to improving our skills as HVAC professionals and engineers, our team is always looking into how we can mitigate climate impact on our planet. At Climatisation HVAC, we invest in green technologies, prioritize sustainability in every project, and ensure our systems meet the latest energy code requirements. Deadline completion is a top priority as well.

How do you manage and maintain a skilled and knowledgeable workforce at Climatisation HVAC, considering the specialized nature of the HVAC industry?

My company makes finding solutions a top priority. We develop those solutions within the constraints clients and stakeholders place upon us. This requires advanced training and mentorship, both of which we prioritize at Climatisation HVAC. Our team knows they can turn to each other to build knowledge, leverage each other’s strengths, and ultimately solve problems.

Can you share an example of a particularly challenging project that Climatisation HVAC successfully completed? How did you navigate the complexities and deliver exceptional results?

At Climatisation HVAC is a solution-oriented company. From cost estimation to project management, we come together to schedule, oversee, and complete our clients’ projects. It can be tough to find the right balance when navigating time, cost, and aesthetics, but we always make it happen—complete with our sustainable approach. 

What role does customer satisfaction and client relationships play in the success of Climatisation HVAC? How do you prioritize and nurture those relationships?

Every project begins with a deep-dive into the client’s needs. The goal is to craft a shared vision and find solutions that might not be obvious right from the start, which clients really appreciate. Transparent communication is an integral part of what we do, and we won’t hesitate to pick up the phone or answer an email when the client needs us. Customer satisfaction is genuinely the driving force of our business.  

Are there any expansion plans or new markets that Climatisation HVAC is considering venturing into in the future?

Today we are grateful to serve Los Angeles and the majority of Southern California. For the right opportunity, Climatisation HVAC could take our services wherever they’re needed, so long as we’re able to maintain our current relationships. In the near term, I could see us serving other parts of California.

How do you envision Climatisation HVAC contributing to the overall growth and development of the construction and development industry in Southern California?

I envision the business continuing to grow—fuelled by our “client-first,” collaborative approach. Frequent referrals and long-term partnerships, paired with our focus on sustainability, would allow us to further our reputation. My long-term goal is for the construction and development industry to recognize us as the premier eco-conscious HVAC company in all of Southern California. 

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