Susan Frew: Turning the HVAC Industry on Its Head Gasket

“Who is that lady running Sunshine and what the hell is she doing over there?”

This is a question heard around the Heating and Cooling industry around the time Susan Frew started Sunshine Plumbing, Heating & Air. It was 2007, just before the economic crisis. Trade industries then – just as today – were facing a worker shortage and saw very low numbers of women in the field. Women-owned HVAC and Plumbing companies were nearly unheard of.

“I think we did some shaking up and I loved it.”

These obstacles were not enough to phase Susan. In fact, she took every hurdle on with stride and is still winning races today. As Co-Owner and President of Sunshine, Heating & Air, Susan credits her success to her “12 points of love” method of customer service along with a strategic and laser-focused marketing plan.

We caught up with Susan ahead of her keynote address at the Colorado Women’s Chamber Girls Rising event that champions girls and women who are choosing careers in male-dominated industries.

  1. Why are you involved with the CWCC Girls Rising Event?
    There is a shortage in trade industries and do you know why are women are not going into the field? Nobody is telling them. Less than 1% of women are plumbers, only 2.2% Electricians are women and only .7% become HVAC technicians. I feel so strongly about getting the message out to women that there is so much opportunity in my industry and so much work to be done in the community. Look at all of the things that will not be able to be built in our growing state – I-70 improvements, new buildings, bridges, etc. – all constructed and maintained by people in trade industries.
  2. What can people do to help this cause? 
    Scholarships like the Girls Rising Scholarship fund to build a pipeline of female leaders definitely helps! I also believe that we need to educate girls about ALL of the post-secondary options, including trade schools. If everyone in the room on May 15th told one girl that there are other non-traditional options in these industries, we’ll consider it a huge success!
  3. Do you have advice for women who are entering the field?
    You can gain authority and power by being the most educated person in the room if you do your homework. Be confident and hold your own…. even if you’re shaking under the table!

To learn more about Susan Frew and to order her new book, The Pufferfish Effect, Secrets to Crush your Competition, visit

You can hear Susan’s keynote address on May 15th 7-9:30 am at Girls Rising: Building a Pipeline of Female Leaders, presented by Xcel Energy. Click through for more information and to register.

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