Johnson Controls — Women in STEM series — Jowin Lim
Jowin Lim has a keen interest in engineering as a young child. A career in the HVAC industry, though, wasn’t quite what she had in mind. Today, the petite 30-something sales manager with Johnson Controls HVAC in Malaysia waxes lyrical about all-things HVAC and relishes getting up on roof tops to inspect equipment. What changed her mind?
HVAC sales manager Jowin Lim is a standout within Malaysia’s male-dominated HVAC profession. Working with large equipment does not faze the petite 30-something who hails from Taiping, Perak. In fact, she is known for her can-do, hands-on approach to her colleagues and clients at HVAC sales and Marketing. “I don’t mind getting my hands dirtied, and have no problem climbing up and down roof tops to inspect equipment,” she said.
Her interest in engineering took root at an early age. One of Jowin’s childhood hobbies was taking apart electronic gadgets to find out how they work. A tutor, who coached her in her studies when she was a student, further piqued her interest in engineering with his sharing of his day-to-day work encounters.
However, Jowin is quick to admit: “Actually, I entered the HVAC industry quite by accident.” She holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Malaya, and shares how job offerings in the biomedical industry were slim upon her graduation some 10 years back. Undaunted, her search for opportunities in other engineering fields landed her with a job offer from United Straits M&E Sdn Bhd, a local contractor company.
“To many people, HVAC seems very different from biomed — but I don’t see it that way. I was able to apply my knowledge of basic engineering and thermodynamics to understand how a HVAC system works,” she said. She also credited her mentor at United Straits M&E for showing her the ropes of the trade. Within a year, Jowin had settled into her chosen field and enjoyed her work on overhauling compressors and going to worksites for client meetings and equipment inspection. Her can-do attitude and work performance had also won over senior colleagues who initially had doubts if she was the right fit for the job.
Today, Jowin still professes a deep interest for her work. She currently manages a team of five engineers and leads the Malaysian HVAC sales team. She’s also responsible for organizational sales that covers sales, revenue and expense controls.“Working at Johnson Controls has been a rewarding experience for me. There’s professional respect among our colleagues and we’re treated equally, regardless of age, gender or seniority,” said Jowin. She continues to make trips to work sites to witness and sign off on the delivery of HVAC equipment to the clients, describing such instances as“proud moments” for bringing projects to fruition after months of negotiation and specs design.
Jowin believes that strong communication skills and an appetite for learning are the key ingredients for a successful career — be it for a rookie starting out or a seasoned professional like herself. She added: “Communicating to share our expertise and learning from one another are essential in our line of work. The industry is evolving with new technologies, hence we need to keep up. When we brainstorm within our team, we bring new ideas to the table that will help our clients meet their sustainability goals.”
“I’m very happy to be in the HVAC business even though it was not my first career choice. Johnson Controls has given me many opportunities to excel and to upskill myself. Even after 11 years, there’s still so much to learn in this business. I know I’ve made the right choice to stay on. There’s no looking back for me,” said Jowin.
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