Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Diaz ’08 ’10MS

Sales Engineer

 

DelRen HVAC, Inc.

 

UCF Degrees in Mechanical Engineering

Describe your job and responsibilities:

As a sales engineer at DelRen HVAC, I am responsible for providing equipment and sophisticated solutions to contractors and engineers in the greater New York City and  Philadelphia areas. I am involved with building projects from conceptual design all the way through installation and service. I enjoy partnering with lead architects, project engineers and contractors to work through technical difficulties and to identify solutions that will ultimately benefit the end user.

Before I moved to New Jersey, I was a mechanical engineer at SGM Engineering in Orlando, and worked on the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center project downtown, where I learned a great deal about the HVAC industry.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Serving as president of the ASHRAE* New Jersey Chapter this past year has been the most humbling and rewarding experience. It’s provided me many new experiences while helping college students make valuable connections and job leads within the industry. Our chapter’s number-one goal was to launch a local ASHRAE student chapter at Stevens Institute of Technology, which is now a reality. I’ve also had the privilege to serve as a mentor and co-advisor for some of Stevens’ Senior Design students.

Our chapter’s hard work and accomplishments were recently recognized as the “Most Improved Chapter” for ASHRAE’s Northeast Region. I am honored to serve as a leader of ASHRAE, and to be recognized for it in 2019 with a New Jersey 40-Under-40 award from NJBIZ.

*ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, a global professional society devoted to advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment.

What's the hottest trend in your field?

Ryan Diaz at 99 HudsonBuildings account for 40 percent of energy consumption in the U.S., and their HVAC systems are critical. Self-sustaining “Zero Energy Buildings” are becoming the industry standard. They use less energy than they produce from onsite renewable energy sources such as solar panels. Similarly, Smart Buildings feature automated systems that optimize how a building performs using data collected from sensors and meters to pinpoint where equipment investments are best made. The industry goal is for all new buildings to be Zero Energy by 2030 and existing buildings by 2050, so it’s an exciting time to be at the forefront of this effort! Mechanical engineers and other professionals will be essential to research, development and implementation of new technologies.

What are your future professional aspirations?

I will always follow my passion of mentoring students and young professionals – I believe that young people hold the key to the future! Long term? I would love to own my own company within the industry. For now, my focus is on enjoying time with my growing family. My wife Kate (Judge) Diaz ’10 ’13MEd and I are dedicated to raising our “Three Under Three” – our son Remington, 2, and our almost one-year-old identical twin girls, Summer and Cheyenne.

How did UCF prepare you for your career?

Wow, UCF provides so many opportunities to help prepare students for the real world!  I played club lacrosse for all four years of college which allowed me to compete at a high level while focusing on school. Being on the team taught me a lot about time management as we had games each week during the season. It was tough to get all of my work done, especially if we had a far-away game. UCF also has an excellent student chapter of ASHRAE, which taught me the importance of social skills and communication, and also how to network.

What really sets UCF apart is how much professors are willing to push and motivate you. Dr. Ali Gordon is someone who did that for me. I received a paper back in his class that had a note written on it to come visit him during his office hours to discuss graduate school. It turns out, he was pretty impressed with my paper and asked if I was giving any thought to possibly attending graduate school after senior year. He went the extra mile to push and inspire me to do something I never even imagined doing. I’m happy to be able to say today that I did go on to successfully get that master’s degree!

What advice do you have for students?

Never stop networking and meeting new people! Go after what you’re passionate about and keep working hard until you find the balance and find a role that fits your career aspirations and your personality. For me, being a sales engineer allows the social side of my personality to come through when working with clients, while also applying my technical knowledge and background. You may not find the “perfect” job right after graduation but remember that a new door will always open when the prior one closes.

Be open to taking risks and helping others – you will get paid back in ways that you will never be able to put a price tag to. Don’t settle! Anything is possible!

Published Nov. 5, 2019, College of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida