A structured dialogue with industry professionals will determine the roadmap for our future

Engineering Post in conversation with Engr. Farooq Mehboob President Elect of ASHRAE

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Pakistan chapter arranged a grand expo at Marriot Hotel Karachi by the name of HVAC trends in the last week of November 2021.

President elect of ASHRAE Engr. Farooq Mehboob also attended the majestic event and had a detailed conversation with Engineering Post regarding the expo and the new trends of HVAC being followed by the country. He thanked the HVACR industry of the country for providing the much needed support for making this effort successful “For the last two years there had been no expo or event due to COVID-19. This event is a respite for everyone in the industry and could only be made possible through a team effort.” he said.

Engr. Farooq Mehboob is the first Pakistani to be elected for the prestigious post of President elect of ASHRAE. ASHRAE founded in 1894, is a global society of HVACR and other building sciences-related Engineers and Professionals,  With more than 57,000 members, from over 132 nations, geographically distributed in 15 regions, 200 + chapters, ASHRAE is a diverse organization dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration to serve Humanity and Promote a sustainable world. The ASHRAE is a 125 year old organization and during that time Engr. Farooq Mehboob is the first non-American, non-European and first Pakistani to be selected as its president which is not only an honor for the engineering community but the country as well.

Mr. Farooq was born in Lahore, got his early education from Convent school, intermediate from FC College and graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Engineering Dhaka, in 1965. Started his Professional career, as Application engineer and after that joined “Inter-Continental Hotels” in 1968 and was promoted to Regional Chief Engineer for Central Asia in 1978. His interest in thermodynamics led him to HVACR industry and he joined ASHRAE in 1980. In 1981, he founded S. Mehboob & Company – Consulting Engineers and he still serves as the Principal Consultant and designed many landmark projects which number is 600 + and introduced many new technologies in his projects.   During the conversation with Engineering Post he explained how his journey started “I became a member of ASHRAE as a young engineer in 1980 to get access to ASHRAE handbooks, Publications and technical trainings because it is the only source in the world to get authentic information and technical specifications on HVACR products. It helped me in my business as well. I learned a lot and to be honest I am still learning from the management structure of ASHRAE,” he said. 

Engr. Farooq Mehboob is the founding President of ASHRAE Pakistan Chapter, served the chapter as CTT chair for seven year, served the Region at large as Sub Regional Chair, Regional Vice-Chair, Director and Regional Chair, twice Assistant Regional Chair and at society level, he has served as the member of ASHARE Board of Director, Vice President and Treasurer. While commenting on his plans for the future as the President of ASHRAE he explained “I want to increase diversity in ASHRAE, and not just based on gender or color but also mental diversity. I believe it is time to increase the profile of the industry through this platform,”

Engr. Farooq Mehboob while speaking to Engineering Post shared his vision for the future of the HVACR industry worldwide. Increasing concerns about climate change and global warming has put the HVACR industry at the forefront of it all. With companies all over the world seeking rapid modifications and urging adoption of environment friendly refrigerants to minimize damage to the environment “In this regard I plan to arrange roundtable conferences in America, Europe and Asia which will include all stakeholders including key players and key professionals to discuss where the industry is headed and how it can be prioritized for a safe future”

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has also accentuated the importance of HVACR industry in our daily lives and sparked heated debates about its safe utilization during the time of its outbreak which ultimately led to companies incorporating filtration techniques and purifiers into their products. While commenting on creating awareness Engr. Farooq Mehboob said “It has been my experience that people are not aware of ASHRAE even in America. I want to create awareness about the importance of ASHRAE in the lives of people,” he said

During the conversation Engr. Farooq Mehboob said that Pakistan also lacks a proper guiding policy especially for the HVACR sector and he plans to work for developing it. “We will include industry professionals and other stakeholders to develop a policy defining the way forward for the future of HVACR Industry in Pakistan. After a concrete policy has been formed and agreed upon, we will present the policy to government officials so the industry can grow with the support of the government,” he added

Although the HVACR industry in Pakistan has been flourishing in recent years but the problem is that most of the parts are imported in the country and assembled instead of being locally manufactured. With the increasing restrictions on imports being imposed by the incumbent government the manufacturers need to work proactively towards establishing local manufacturing infrastructure in the country. While discussing the possibilities of local manufacturing Engr. Farooq Mehboob said “First of all we need to increase the training and education of our workforce because it is the need of the manufacturers. Secondly we should start taking advantage of working with international companies by initiating technology transfer from Chinese and Turkish companies. This transfer of technology is extremely important if we want to move towards indigenous manufacturing,”

The main hindrance with manufacturing in the country is that proper infrastructure is not available right now which needs to be established before we can move towards manufacturing quality products in Pakistan. While expanding on this concept Engr. Farooq Mehboob said “We have to set the table for foreign companies by providing uninterrupted Electricity, a proper transport infrastructure and educated manpower to attract them here,” he said. No foreign company will want to work in an environment where their machines have to shut down every 6-5 hours due to load shedding or if no proper railway or other transport mechanism is available. All these facilities need to be available for the new industries before we can expect significant foreign investments to come to Pakistan

Engr. Farooq Mehboob is a role model for the engineering community especially the young engineers of the country. He started his struggle as a student and was rewarded for his determination and consistent effort. When asked for any specific message for the new engineers coming to the market he said. “The young engineers should keep in mind that if you lose your values, principles and beliefs you have nothing left. People switch jobs over a difference of mere 5 thousand rupees without thinking of what they will be learning in the long run. We need to develop a mindset that one cannot be successful in a single minute. I personally volunteered for 40 years at ASHRAE before I got to this point,” commented Engr. Farooq Mehboob

While concluding the conversation the President elect of ASHRAE Engr. Farooq Mehboob said “When I joined ASHRAE I had a Chairman whose words always stayed with me he said ‘After a hundred years when people look upon my work they will not know my name only the service’. This is how we need to work for our future, not for fame not for selfish gains but as a service for the future generations”.