Member Profile: Daryl Ball

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October 12, 2021

Daryl Ball is a business development officer with Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing in Austin, Tex. He is also currently serving as the president of the IIBEC Central Texas Chapter. Ball attended Western Michigan University, where he received a full scholarship and studied music performance. He is a certified paver installer, was previously a certified American Institute of Architects (AIA) instructor and active with the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

How did you go from music to the building enclosure?

I always planned on music for my career; I was performing professionally in Chicago but always kept a side job in sales. I got into the ceramic tile business, starting with residential, and I studied interior design. I have always been very creative, and so I found fun and creativity in business. Music always helps connect me to my clients and business. Singing opens a lot of doors for me. I have been asked to perform at major conventions because I understand pacing and connecting with the audience.

Music ironically has led me to many great business opportunities. It has endeared me to a lot of major businesspeople across the United States and Europe.

Performing comes naturally for me. I have worked as a public speaker. It is something I love to do. I feel very comfortable in front of a bunch of people. When I was presenting for AIA, I always had full classes. I spent my summers writing presentations and instructional information, and then I would go on the road in the fall. It was crazy, like 70 cities in nine months.

I have developed this very big voice. I learned to sing over the piano. I like to tell people that I am so loud I can talk on the phone without dialing it. In fact, at Chamberlin, they put me in an office far away from everyone else.

What has been your involvement with IIBEC?

In 2003, I was doing decorative concrete material sales. I moved from the manufacturing side to contracting side. Around the same time, I relocated from Michigan to Houston. While working for a paver contractor, I approached Chamberlin Roofing as a client, selling commercial paver systems over their waterproof decks. I was looking for more opportunity to grow than my paver company offered me, and my friends at Chamberlin said, “Why don’t you come work for us?”

My experience was not roofing and waterproofing, though. Chamberlin said, “We hire character first, and we can teach the rest.” They moved me to this booming town of Austin, starting [me] as a remedial estimator because I had a lot to learn.

I decided to get involved with IIBEC for the education and to submerge myself in this business through other consultants. I was invited to serve on the local chapter board. I told them that I felt uncomfortable about being a board member, and they said, “We could use the help; we like you and want to get you more involved.” I said yes, but under one condition: they had to agree to teach and mentor me about the building enclosure business. They agreed to help me out.

Now I am president of the chapter. I love the emphasis on understanding what goes into our building enclosure and solving problems. I am a people person. I love that IIBEC has a forum—we all come together for meetings and roundtables—that benefits everyone and serves our industry.

I love being involved in buildings. I love to be able to say, ”See that building? I worked on that building!” There is a pleasure in knowing what I have left behind.

Tell me about what you do during your typical day-to-day.

I start my day by taking a deep breath, I go for a walk, spend time doing personal reflection, and reading the Bible. I start around 4:30 a.m. and start work at 6:30 a.m.

Right now, I am training and mentoring another business-development guy that came from another industry as well. I am teaching him our systems. I help clients develop proactive roof maintenance programs that keep their roof under warranty compliance and elongate the life of the roof while lowering their costs of maintenance.

I spend my time making connections with clients and making presentations. A lot of our buildings have issues from movement, improper waterproofing, client lack of knowledge, or the client’s fear of seeing an “out of sight, out of mind until it becomes a leaky” roof surface. Projects I am working on for these clients range from roofing to waterproofing maintenance on buildings and parking decks, to remedial work, such as issues with flashing, to major remodeling.

Is there a particular project you have worked on that has been special for you?

Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, TX.

Yes, there are a few.

There is the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin. It was built in the 1800s near the state capitol. The decks were falling apart (they were not built for deflection), it had tile issues, and I was able to line Chamberlin up with the right tile contacts. We found some crafted mosaics that came out looking beautiful. It was a classic piece of history to work on. Chamberlin won a national award for the project.

Another project was the 3701 Kirby Drive parking deck (aka Kirby Towers) in Houston. I worked with the general contractor to bring the old building up to modern standards. When we started, the decks on the structure were not strong enough for parking or public use. We used carbon fiber to reinforce from underneath. We installed a series of green decks with planters, pavers, and even a putting green. We transformed a totally outdated building to something that looked newly constructed in the modern age. By pooling our resources, we made a gorgeous, waterproof system and added great value and green space to an outdated, depreciating building.

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

Be a sponge. Explore as many experiences as you can. Don’t be nervous.

People get uncomfortable in a group where there are people smarter than you! Remember, one of the biggest benefits in life is surrounding yourself with people who know more than you and not to be insecure about that.

Get involved with organizations like IIBEC, AIA, CSI, and others. Get on committees and develop relationships with other members, and let them teach you things you don’t already know. Build on the relationship factor and get involved.

Take advantage of every education opportunity that is presented to you.

Finally, be a resource for someone else. If you know someone, refer me or I will refer them to you. Not everyone is built for that. Challenge people to get out there.

Do you have a mentor in the building enclosure field?

There have been several. Alonso Caro Jr. has been my “go to” on our IIBEC board. Amy Peevey and Jon Cannon has helped me with industry knowledge and professional networking, and Neal Johnson, the previous IIBEC region director, has been a connector and helped me lead the chapter. They have all been so willing to help.

When I first got into commercial work, a project manager for a general contractor in Houston, Jennifer Gonzalez, took the time to show me how to work the estimating and design software. She helped me learn and gave me several projects to challenge and grow my skills. That was over 10 years ago, and we still work together after all these years.

At Chamberlin, Art Canales and Lyle Coston have been my models for business character. Art taught me to do all the right things and not take shortcuts. You always fulfill contracts, keep promises—win or lose. When it comes to understanding clients’ needs, Lyle is always one of the best listeners in the room. He misses no opportunities to learn. Chamberlin as a culture has the utmost character and care for their clients, their employees, and the community.

Can you tell me more about your involvement with Community First Village in Austin?

Community First Village is unique. It was founded by Alan Graham. I met him when he came to Building Owners and Managers Association(BOMA) International to speak at our luncheon. Growing up, I was homeless as a child. I have lived on my own since I was 15 years old. Both of my parents suffered from mental illness. At one point as a teenager, I lived in a ’64 Cadillac at public access near a lake in Michigan.

Community First Village in Austin

At the time I met Alan, I was not involved with the homeless. In fact, my attitude toward homeless people had been, “Get a job and you won’t need to beg for money.” Now I am just the opposite.

Alan pointed out that the number one cause of homelessness is a catastrophic loss of family. It really spoke to my heart. I met with Alan and asked him what I could do. I jumped in with fundraising, guiding tours, building houses, living on property as a missional neighbor, and being a befriender of the poor and homeless. In 1998, Alan started helping make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to give out to people living on the street. Hand to hand. Heart to heart. That is how the foundation of Mobile Loaves and Fishes (MLF) was laid. In 2005, Alan came up with idea of providing not just housing, but a community that wouldn’t be a temporary transition place. It would be a place with neighbors to become friends, and family to call home. First step was they started buying RVs [recreational vehicles] and remodeling them for the homeless in various RV parks. But the organization realized that housing isn’t the issue—it’s being part of a community and creating connections. Many of these folks are isolated with no connection or family to help them up.

Over time, MLF created Community First and developed a 54-acre plot and put in 570 uniquely individual tiny houses, RVs, medical facilities, outdoor kitchens, and a community hall. It’s an RV park on steroids; people living homeless lives are transformed into taxpayers because there are so many great work opportunities. There is a forge, an art studio for sculpting and painting, an Airbnb, an outdoor movie theater, an organic farm oasis, food services, and other community components. The residents use these opportunities to make a dignified income. For example, one resident sculpted a chess set that was auctioned off for $20,000!

The organization helps residents restore their dignity and pay their own way with amazingly created home designs from the best architects. We even have the first 3D-printed homes, developed right here in Austin.

Many residents have a key to their very first home in their lives! Now they have neighbors that care about them. Most of the community members had been homeless for over 20 years. Many previously lived under a bridge. Community First allows these people to live and die with dignity. The focus is on community and belonging. Being part of a family.

Community First has become an example for the rest of the country and it is completely privately funded. They just announced they will be adding 1400 more homes on 110 acres with a $120 million budget, which will bring the community size to approximately 1900 residents who were formally homeless.

I came to understand that I am the fertilizer, and they (the residents) are the roses. We both need each other to give life and love true meaning. Wow, what the world needs now more than ever!

What is one thing our readers would not know about you?

I got to sing for Pope John Paul when I was living in Chicago. I was singing for weddings with prominent Italian families on the South Side, and the music director at that church recommended me to her mother, who was a music director at the largest Polish Catholic diocese in the United States.

When her mother mentioned over dinner, “I need someone who can sing really well, I need someone really special,” my acquaintance said, “I’ve got the guy,” and she suggested me. I was blessed by the bishop, who happened to be a childhood friend of the pope. This Irish tenor even got to sing in Polish. It was truly an international event!