Nicole Boyette, Innovating a Family Lineage in HVACR, Generations in the Making

December 22, 2022

Nicole Boyette, a proud NOVA Nighthawk, recently received a scholarship from Women in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR). 

Early on, Boyette sidestepped the family HVACR business to find her own way, earning several degrees and trying various careers in the process. But eventually, she realized she wanted to put her own innovative mark on the HVACR business that her family had been in for generations. 

Here, she talks about her journey in being a woman in a field dominated by men while looking to create effective business models for the region’s HVACR field. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:

I'm from New Jersey, previously lived in Pennsylvania and have resided in the Northern Virginia region for about eight years. My husband and I live in North Springfield, Va. Between us, we have five kids. 

I was what they call “born into the trades.” My grandfather on my dad’s side was a tradesman and my grandfather on my mom’s side was a technician at General Electric (GE) who later became a business leader. My father also had a HVACR business for decades. 

I initially wanted nothing to do with the trade field after I left home. I pursued law enforcement, the arts, and a counseling career. I went to Temple University Police Academy, and after worked at a detention center. I went on to receive a bachelor’s degree. At the time, I wanted to help at-risk teens, since I saw a lot of myself in them. Then I finished my masters of arts in professional counseling. 

I then received a phone call from my father that made me want to help him succeed in his business. He asked if I wanted to help him with his heating and cooling business. I told him I would only join if he was willing to get a business and finance coach through Business Development Resources, since I was stepping into unknown but vaguely familiar territory. Through coaching and cultivating a cultural climate to support business growth, I developed a newfound love for the field! 

The ingenuity and creativity needed to take an environment and mold it into something we can control always fascinated me. 

I found that opportunity by returning to school at NOVA.  I am now a scholarship recipient who has completed a certificate and am moving into advanced courses to obtain my associates degree. I am currently employed at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited in Northern Virginia, and love working there. 

What brought you to NOVA?

I met Keith Brown with NOVA's automotive technology program and I told Keith about my idea to run a business. He told me that NOVA has a course structure that would allow me to learn the technical aspects of the trade. 

I had learned statistical analysis, but I want to bring my knowledge of human behavior into the HVAC workplace. I want to use what I’ve learned from NOVA and my father’s business to create career pathways for folks who are career driven. I feel I am a bridge between the old and new generations: teaching and innovating.

What are you studying at NOVA?

I have a handful of classes left to finish my HVACR certificate. I see HVACR as one of the most stable and growing fields, especially with the industry focusing on sustainable energy.

I’m excited to be part of transforming the industry’s culture by bringing more efficiency, transparency and heartfelt care to create an environment that helps families and communities in the future. 

Tell us about your experience at NOVA (i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you've met)

It is not easy to build a business. It takes a lot of hard work and determination. Building a business is like building a family. You have to have core values. It takes good executive leadership to drive that forward with the right team behind. I learned by leadership skills at BDR, and NOVA helped solidify the technical aspect needed for the job.  

I love taking courses from Murim Martin Kang, Dale Knicely, Hatim Aoujil and John Meeker. They hold our profession and NOVA to a higher standard. Having them at the forefront of my experience was crucial. I am also a member of Women in HVACR, and I signed up for the mentorship program through the non-profit. 

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