HOW I USE MY SKILLS TO EDUCATE AND IMPROVE PEOPLE’S LIVES
“My goal isn’t just to find out what’s making people sick; it’s also to make good on an opportunity to educate.”
As a kid, my parents and I were forced to relocate pretty frequently. My father was in the Marine Corps and the Air Force, while my mother was with the U.S. State Department. Before I was 15, we lived in seven different places. Eventually , my parents retired, and we moved to Wisconsin where I went to high school and met my wife, Kaye.
Kaye and I got married after high school and had three beautiful daughters. As our family grew, we decided to move from northern Wisconsin to southern Wisconsin, because we thought it would be warmer. Shortly after, we moved to northern Illinois to get away from the snow. That winter, we saw more snow than we’d ever seen. Finally, we decided to go to a place where it rarely snows, and we’ve been in Texas ever since.
At the time, I was working in engineering, and I was starting to get bored with the industry. I began looking for something new. Indoor air quality (IAQ) offered that opportunity, as it is an offshoot of the engineering work I had been doing. It presented a new challenge and required me to develop new abilities to see the issues that others didn’t necessarily see. While there is some low-hanging fruit that many people can spot, there are also some unique challenges in IAQ work that only trained eyes can see. I enjoyed the challenge and found that I was good at it too!
I started my company in 1989, offering indoor air quality consulting to the owners and managers of commercial buildings — places like office buildings, industrial facilities, and retail buildings. Work was slow at first. At the time, IAQ was something that nobody else was doing, and it took a while to get people to recognize that it really was an issue. Most people just didn’t understand the concept of indoor air quality in the early days.
Since the early ‘90s though, building occupants have learned more and more as they’ve become interested in indoor air quality. Hundreds of articles and reports have been written, and when problems occur, they become front-page news. As a result, the bad press has really educated the public on the value of good air quality.
Over the years, I have invested countless hours in training to be able to learn about the types of problems than can occur. And now, when I’m in a building, my goal isn’t just to find out what’s making people sick; it’s also to make good on an opportunity to educate.
When I started this business, I knew the technical side of indoor air quality work, but I never anticipated the personal skills that would come with time. Nor would I have imagined how my writing skills would improve as I learned to write detailed reports using simple terms for the nontechnical reader. A lot about this business has changed in the past 27 years, creating a neverending challenge! I’ve increased my knowledge and widened my skill set, now able to help people through my work. I have even learned to focus my thoughts. I’m proud of my work and the positive impact Building Air Quality has made for the clients I serve.