Tell me about your day-to-day schedule.
Typically, my day revolves around one of five things:
- Answering questions about the building enclosure via phone calls and emails;
- Reviewing architectural plans for continuity, compatibility, and constructability;
- Visiting job sites to review installations of building enclosure products and systems;
- Doing testing (before I became a consultant, I was doing mock-up and field testing); and
- Building enclosure forensics and litigation support.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Design work. I enjoy coming up with workable designs for a building enclosure. My crowning achievement to date is a combination of 15 years of work on a complex of buildings. The first project I worked on was the initial building of the complex at the University of Iowa, in 2000. In 2015, I completed the third building. It was a $100 million project: a 250,000-sq.-ft. biomedical research building with a 33,000-sq.-ft. vivarium underground, five custom curtainwall systems, and three different cladding systems. On the last building, I did 100% of the building enclosure design and commissioning. The lowest level of the building is 35 ft. underground, and it extends seven stories above ground.
What is your least favorite part of your job?
Having to do something over because it wasn’t done right the first time. Forensics is a fun challenge but there is no good reason for a building to leak. And getting brought into a project late is frustrating.
If you could go back and re-live an IIBEC event, when would it be and why?
First of all, I’m not the type of person that would ever go back to re-live anything. I want to experience something, and then go find the next thing.
But if I had to, it would be the Region III road trip I took with Lionel van der Walt and Scott Hinesley. On the first day, we started with a visit to a meeting of the Wisconsin Chapter and ended up that evening at The Old Fashioned Tavern and Restaurant in Madison, WI. There we all had “Old Fashioned” mixed drinks, which have affectionately become the “The Madison.” The next day, we went to the University of Wisconsin and met with Director of Commissioning Courses John Davis. We met with the Iowa Chapter and then had dinner at the Machine Shed. I got a photo of Lionel driving a tractor while pulling Scott in the trailer. Finally, we traveled to Kansas City, met with the Mid-America Chapter, and I gave Lionel and Scott my tickets for the Friday night races (NASCAR) at the Kansas City Speedway.
The camaraderie that came out of that trip was not just with Lionel, Scott, and me, it spilled over into the entire board. “The Madison” became a fun reminder and built a lot of rapport among the board.
Tell me about your involvement with IIBEC.
In 2017, I became the Region III Director. I am finishing up my second term in March, 2021. I’ve been on the Building Enclosure Commissioning Task Force and the Manual of Practice Task Force. I have helped develop the Building Enclosure Commissioning Provider Certification. I wrote the section on Building Enclosure Commissioning and assisted with the Drone Operations portion in the Manual of Practice.
I plan on running for the secretary/treasurer position on the Executive Committee of IIBEC in Spring of 2021.
What advice would you give today to someone starting out in the industry?
- Embrace the entire building enclosure. The entire building enclosure is becoming a major part of the industry. We all have roofs, but it doesn’t matter if the roof is fine if the rest of the building doesn’t work.
- Do not limit your focus. Get involved with all six sides of the box.
- Building enclosure is not as complex as it seems. If you are willing to do a little research, you can figure out the components.
- Always be willing to learn something new. There are new things coming out every day.
- Keep an open mind about every product and system. They all have a place and a purpose.
- Get involved with the industry and the different associations—IIBEC, NRCA, ASTM, etc.—and learn from them. Be willing to interact, voice your opinion, and participate.
Tell me about your mentor when you started in the building enclosure field.
One individual who has been involved in my work from the beginning was Bill Mielnik. He was the project manager on my first project in 2000. He always had faith in me, always promoted me, and showed belief in all the work I did. He kicked off my career and supported me throughout. Bill just retired from the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinic as associate director of capital management.
What do you do with your free time?
I love to spend time with my soulmate, my kids, and grandkids (my son had a new baby girl in January and my oldest daughter had a baby boy in September). I’m definitely a “gear head.” I have ten cars/trucks and a motorcycle, and I enjoy working on my cars. I have a ‘85 Chevy short-bed four-wheel-drive truck that I am currently restoring. I am also restoring a ‘69 Mustang Fastback with a Coyote 5.0 and 5-speed manual overdrive. I have a 1930 Ford Vicky (Victoria) that was featured in Hot Rod Magazine and belonged to my uncle. My uncle started me down the path when he taught me to build models when I was eight. Everything was custom.