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Jenny Smith has spent her entire career as a pioneer for women in HVACR.

In 1981 she was the first female apprentice in refrigeration and air conditioning appointed by the Federal Government.

In fact she was part of a government program to assess whether a woman could actually complete a mechanical trade.

It sounds comical today but back then as a 15 year old Smith had a tough time in her steel cap boots that didn't fit, pants and safety gear that didn't come in her size and class mates that weren't very welcoming.

That was almost four decades ago and Smith has mentored plenty of female fridgies since then. Moreover, she is currently an active member of the Northern Territory chapter of the Woman of AIRAH Committee.

Her first job involved working on Naval boats, submarines, RAAF and Army jobs.

“As a large central plant mechanic everything was big, heavy and dirty but I was strong and I held my own,” Smith said.

“Being in the plantroom in the middle of the night with a major breakdown and no-one but yourself to get it back on line is a great way to learn and really hone your skills.”

The Woman of the Year in HVACR Award winner then spent 13 years in Adelaide working at Simms Refrigeration and Logic Air which specialised in large chillers at Adelaide University and Port Adelaide TAFE.

She also worked with glycol chillers and completed a Diploma in Education so she could run a program promoting trade opportunities for women.

It allowed Smith to manage work placement experience for some 200 students.

In 2005 Smith returned to Darwin and started her own business, About Airconditioning. As the business flourished so too did Smith's skills and education. She completed a Diploma in Business Management and a Diploma in Project Management which allowed her to work on a range of building projects in Darwin.

“The scope of HVACR is huge and we need more women in this space as we think differently which is great for diversity of ideas,” Smith said.

“I have enjoyed every day in this industry and although it has been difficult at times, it has rewarded me for a lifetime.”

Once again Daikin Australia sponsored the Woman of the Year in HVACR Award with Daikin commercial sales manager, Andrew Symington, announcing the winner.

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