Faces of CNM: Marissa Brown

CNM student Marissa Brown is a third-generation HVAC professional who hopes to inspire other women to pursue careers in the trades
March 15, 2022

Marissa Brown might not be what most people think of when they hear “HVAC technician” but don’t let that fool you. Not only does the 22-year-old CNM student already work in the HVAC industry, but she’s also a third generation HVAC professional. 

Marissa always knew she wanted a job that allowed her to work with her hands, and because her family already owns the Albuquerque business Chill Refrigeration, HVAC & Mechanical, it only made sense for her to enroll in CNM’s Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technology (HVAC) program.

“I was already familiar with the HVAC industry, so it just felt right,” Marissa says. “My siblings went through the program before I did, so I already knew some of the instructors and was really looking forward to how hands-on the program was going to be.” 

Before committing to the HVAC program, Marissa worked in technical support and even considered pursuing a different type of trade. But she always felt a strong pull to the HVAC industry, and ultimately decided to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, father, and two older brothers.

“The thing I like about working in HVAC is that it’s always evolving,” Marissa says. “You need to be a jack-of-all trades and know a little bit about everything from electricity to mechanics.”

Marissa began taking classes at CNM last year and plans to graduate with her associate degree in Spring 2023. Although she already has a job working in the HVAC industry, it was important to Marissa that she continue to expand her knowledge in order to become the best HVAC technician possible.

“I knew a lot already, but there are gaps in my knowledge that the CNM program has helped me to fill,” she says. “I don’t want to just know how something works; I want to know why it works the way it does.”

The satisfaction of a job well done is a point of pride for Marissa, especially because it’s not every day that you come across a female HVAC technician. She hopes that through her work she’s able to inspire other women to pursue careers in the trades.

“A lot of people are surprised to see a woman doing what I’m doing, so it’s nice knowing that I’m doing something that not everyone has seen a woman do yet and proving that it can be done,” Marissa says.

It’s that same can-do spirit that inspired CNM’s upcoming Women in Trades Summit, a half-day professional development event on Friday designed to connect and inspire women who have dedicated their careers to trades-based work, and to share information with women interested in trades careers.

“It’s hard work and there are a lot of things to overcome, but that shouldn’t stop anyone. Anything men can do, women can do,” Marissa says.