Member Spotlight: Amy Baker
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Amy Baker, Architect & Specifications Consultant for Amy Baker Architect in Royal Oak, MI. In this feature interview, learn what made her become an ABAA member, what led her on her career path, and get her perspective on the future of the air barrier industry.
Amy Baker, AIA, LEED AP, CSI, CDT, SCIP
Amy is a Registered Architect (Michigan) and Specifications Consultant with over 17 years of experience in commercial construction. She specializes in the technical development of projects with a passion for exterior enclosure detailing, building science, building codes, and construction specifications. Amy participates in the Detroit chapter of CSI, is a member of Specification Consultants in Independent Practice (SCIP), and has been elected to the Board of Directors for both the Building Enclosure Council of Greater Detroit (BEC-GD) and the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA). Amy holds Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from Lawrence Technological University.
Amy Baker Architect, a commercial architecture and specification consulting firm, was formed in 2018. Amy is primarily focused on working with design and construction professionals, offering specialty consulting services including architectural specification writing, third-party document reviews, and construction administration services. Amy’s experience as an architect and technical specialist offers a unique perspective to specification consulting and enables her to function as an extension of the architectural team.
Amy Baker, AIA, LEED AP, CSI, CDT, SCIP
Title: Architect | Specifications Consultant
Firm: Amy Baker Architect
City: Royal Oak, MI
ABAA member for 2 years
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession as an architect?
A: I’ve always been interested in the technical side of architecture and found out early in my career that I appreciated the exactness of preparing specs. As I gained more experience writing specs for other architects within the firms we worked, the idea occurred to me to start a specifications consulting business.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: I believe that better education about building materials and having enough time to produce higher quality documents will result in the ultimate goal of higher-performing buildings.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: My mentors have allowed me to explore my professional interests and chart my own course over my 17-year career. I have never felt “pigeon-holed”.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: Through spec writing, I am interested in contributing to ABAA’s mission of sharing air barrier knowledge.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: I’m on the Board of Directors and am a member of the Technical Committee. .
How long have you been in the industry?
A: 17 years.
What major changes have you seen?
A: When I started working in this profession, the understanding of air barriers was sparse and terminology was all over the place. I had the opportunity to work on several projects in Canada and realized that they were much further ahead. Over the years, I’ve seen that knowledge trickle down to projects in the states.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: Being able to admit that you don’t know the answer and having the motivation to do the research and seek it out.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Be patient with career advancements and seek out interesting learning experiences from every single project, even if you don’t think the project itself is very glamorous. Getting to the top is not a race. Amassing knowledge will serve you better than getting too far up the creek without a paddle.
How much demand do you think there is for people in your profession?
A: My hope is that architects will be viewed as the participant in the construction process that provides the road map for how to tie all of the disparate project goals together. Planning a building that looks good is one thing, but making sure it performs well over time, falls within a budget, and has a smooth construction process as a result of high-quality documents and clearly set expectations is where architects can shine. I would think there will continue to be a demand for this service.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten year’s time?
A: I hope in 10 years we will look back at the energy-saving goals we set today and will think, “Wow, we set the bar really low back then.”