IIBEC Member Profile – Robért Hinojosa

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February 1, 2021
By IIBEC Foundation Development Officer Rick Gardner

How did you get involved in IIBEC?

The first company I worked for out of college was in Houston, Texas. My work there involved building sciences and roofing. The company sent several employees to the 2002 RCI Convention and Trade Show in Galveston, Texas. There, I was able to spend a long weekend being exposed to IIBEC, taking advantage of educational opportunities, and networking with industry members at the trade show. It really opened my eyes to the professional organization that IIBEC is. I was truly impressed. I realized then that this is an organization that would benefit me in my career. I signed up to become a member within a week after the convention and have been a member ever since.

I have served on the board of directors for IIBEC as region director and then on the Executive Committee (EC) and am a past president.

What do you do during your typical day-to-day?

There really is never a typical day. My company works with all types of buildings, clients, and situations. Some of our clients are national, and others are international. We work on everything from healthcare to education, building failure assessment to report writing, design details for a building restoration to a bid process, to construction, to project close-outs. We offer a wide range of consulting services in any particular day.

Today, I’m in the office doing proposals and completing reports. I’m working on designs that will be going out to bidders. Tomorrow, I’m on a plane to do a project assessment in the Boston area. Later this week, I have a trip down to Aruba to perform some quality assurance on an ongoing roof restoration project. There are many aspects of our consulting services.

What is one of your favorite projects that you have worked on professionally?

The American Heritage Center (AHC) at the University of Wyoming was a favorite. The AHC is the university’s library, built in 1991, and designed by architect Antoine Predock. It is a seven-story-tall building with a giant, conical shape. There were problems with air infiltration, water infiltration, and moisture issues with the skylights and exterior façade (which consisted of copper panels). We performed unique building thermal analysis and leak testing to investigate all of the ongoing issues. Ultimately, we had to remove the copper panels on the exterior, add insulation—which changed the entire wall thickness and assembly—redesign the skylights to accommodate the new wall thickness, and install a new prefinished aluminum panel system that was copper colored. It was a great project because it was a challenge for both roof and exterior wall expertise.

Images from the restoration of the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.

Have you had a mentor in the building enclosure field? How did that relationship benefit you and your career?

One of my earliest mentors was Luther Mock; we met at the Galveston convention. We talked a lot about being an expert witness. He helped me with questions I was having about the process, and I remember he emailed me his CV as I was developing mine to give me a sample of his professional CV. It wasn’t an official mentor-mentee relationship, but I just appreciated the kindness he showed me. It really helped me in my younger years as a consultant. He probably didn’t realize he was that guy for me.

What core values do you aspire to live by?

Ambition, dependability, loyalty, and passion. I believe these core values can work in both personal and professional relationships.

I believe my core values came from my father and my mother. My dad was in the military; I believe he gave me that drive. Since a young age, my goal was to be a United States Air Force fighter pilot. I started my education at the United States Air Force Academy, but I received a medical discharge because of color blindness and transferred to Texas A&M University, where I finished my BS in civil engineering. I use that same drive and resiliency to understand the building enclosure field and become an expert. I’ve always had a drive to strive to be better.

Hinojosa (left) with keynote speaker Bill Walton at the 2017 convention in Anaheim.

What is your greatest accomplishment both personally and professionally?

  • My family: wife, Shelly; daughter Alina (12 years old); and son Lance (13 years old)
  • Starting and operating my own business with offices in both the US and Canada
  • Serving on the IIBEC Board of Directors and Executive Committee and becoming president of the organization
  • Running over 40 marathons and 5 ultra-marathons (anything over 26.2 miles is an ultra-marathon)
  • Seven years running the Boston Marathon in a row in support of Michael Lisnow Respite Center. The center provides emotional and physical support for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Do you have a favorite IIBEC Convention memory?

Anaheim in 2017 was my convention when I was serving as president of the organization. It was a great experience being involved with the opening ceremony, watching Bill Walton give the keynote speech, and having my wife and kids there to see the culmination of my years on the Executive Committee and my year as president. I also had my fortieth birthday at that convention. Shelly threw a party for me, and many of my friends from IIBEC who were there in Anaheim were able to attend.

What advice would you give today to someone starting out in the industry?

The biggest thing I would mention would be to have a thirst for knowledge in this industry. The industry is always changing. Never stop learning about the building enclosure and our profession. I have always been an advocate for continuing education. I have learned something from every symposium, convention, course, and meeting.

It boils down to this…Always have the hunger to learn more.

What is the most important goal you hope to achieve in your life?

My goal in life is to enjoy life; to be playful, to explore and be adventurous, and to be spontaneous. Live for today, devote time to my family, business, hobbies, goals, and passions.

What do you do when you are not working? What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love spending time with my family. We live on the water in Destin, Florida, near the Gulf of Mexico. During the summer and on weekends, we go out on the boat and go to the beach. There is a place we like to go called Crab Island, where the water is only about two to three feet deep. There is a floating playground for the kids, and floating restaurants. Folks with their boats anchor and gather there…it’s basically a big party on the water.

2018 London Marathon winner

After finishing the 2018 London Marathon, Hinojosa received his six-star medal, indicating completion of  the World Marathon Majors.

I’ve been running marathons since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which is what got me into running. Since that time, I have run all the world’s major marathons: Chicago, Boston, New York, Berlin, Tokyo, and London. My next goal is to run a marathon on all seven continents. So far, I have run marathons so far in North America, Europe, Asia, and Antarctica. I was scheduled to run in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cape Town, South Africa in 2020,  but those events were canceled due to COVID-19.

Hinojosa ran the Destin Beach Ultra 50-Mile Marathon, all fifty miles of which are on the beach.

Antarctica Marathon

Shelly and Robért Hinojosa after completing the Antartica Half Marathon and Marathon, respectively.

I am also a big sports fan. I love Texas A&M and Houston Texans Football. I have been a season-ticket holder of the Texans since 2002 and attend many games both home and away. One highlight was when the Houston Texans played in Wembley Stadium in London in 2019. I was able to bring Shelly and the kids to Europe to watch the Texans win!  It was an amazing trip.

Hinojosa and his family attended a Houston Texans football game in London, England.

 


Rick GarnderIIBEC Foundation Development Officer Rick Gardner

Gardner has advocated for IIBEC’s foundations via fundraising, networking, and innumerable phone calls since 2014. You can reach him via email at rgardner@iibec.org.