Thomas H. Phoenix, P.E.

Member Since: 
1983

Thomas PhoenixWhat you do: I am a principal, corporate vice president, and director of engineering for our company. Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates is a medium-sized architectural and engineering design firm in central North Carolina, specializing in commercial, education, and government facilities. Our engineering disciplines include HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and fire sprinkler expertise for the design of numerous operating building systems.

I am also currently serving this year as the president-elect of ASHRAE (formerly the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers).

What do you value in the people you work with? Professionalism. I believe that everyone should take pride in their work and strive to provide the best service possible. I am fortunate that the people in my company, and the staff and volunteers at ASHRAE with whom I work, have the same philosophy; I am proud to be associated with all of them.

Biggest professional role model? It would be impossible for me to point to one individual that I could call a role model. When I first started in this profession, I had a number of people that mentored me and taught me many of the procedures and principles I still use today. And I am still learning. I am always impressed with people in our industry that have been successful, and I try to study the reasons for their success and learn from them.

What do you think companies need to do to attract younger generations into the engineering industry? Everyone, in any profession, wants to feel like they are making a positive contribution and are being recognized as a valuable member of an organization. That is just human nature, and the desire to make a significant impact is as strong in the young people just entering the working world as it has ever been. In order to attract and retain the best and the brightest of the new generation, the engineering industry needs to prove to them that their work is important to society and show them how they, personally, can make a difference.

If you weren’t an engineer, you’d be: I am not sure I have an answer to this question, because I really never wanted to be anything other than an engineer. From an early age, I enjoyed building things and solving practical problems. Construction has always interested me; so, if I couldn’t be a design engineer, I guess I would still want to work in the construction field, probably as a contractor.

Proudest engineering accomplishment: Being named a Fellow at ASHRAE. I have worked on a number of significant projects over the years that have received awards and citations; but being recognized by your peers for your engineering work is very special.

Your hobbies? Hobbies? I had almost forgotten what they are. :) Actually, I do have a couple activities that I really enjoy, like golf and fly-fishing; but for the last couple years almost all of my time has been spent handling my duties at work and traveling for ASHRAE. Any free time I have, I try to spend with my family. It makes for a busy schedule, but I really enjoy what I do.

You joined NSPE to... network with others in the engineering profession and learn from them. When I first joined NSPE we had a really active local chapter that would meet each month for dinner. We normally had 40–50 people there, and it was a great way to get to know the local engineers.

Your desert island book: One of Clive Cussler’s novels. The stories of Dirk Pitt, Kurt Austin, and Isaac Bell are great escapes.