Member Spotlight: Danko Davidovic, Ph.D., P.E. (GA)
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Danko Davidovic, Ph.D., P.E. (GA), Senior Building Scientist f0r Huber Engineered Woods LLC in Commerce, GA. In this feature interview, learn what made him become an ABAA member, what led him on his career path, and get his perspective on the future of the air barrier industry.
Danko Davidovic, Ph.D., P.E. (GA)
Experienced building scientist professional with twenty years of experience in various aspects of the building industry to include: education, forensic consulting, research and development, manufacturing, and computer modeling. Currently work with Huber Engineered Woods as the senior building scientist and work on multiple projects within R&D related to building envelop product performance characterization regarding heat, air, and moisture transport, water resistance, air tightness, and durability. The expertise involves experimental, and numerical hygrothermal performance evaluation, laboratory testing of various wall and roof assemblies using Huber’s and competitors’ products.
Name: Danko Davidovic, Ph.D., P.E. (GA)
Title: Senior Building Scientist
Firm: Huber Engineered Woods LLC
City: Commerce, GA
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue your profession in building commissioning?
A: My journey in technical world started with my bachelor’s degree in HVAC engineering earned overseas in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade which provided me strong foundation to understand better how buildings actually “live” along with mechanical systems. After enrolling into graduate school at the Penn State University I slowly shifted my interested more towards building enclosures with a focus on energy efficiency, hygrothermal performance, air tightness and water integrity of buildings. Those interests spread wide over different areas of expertise including numerical modeling including sophisticated software for hygrothermal modeling, computational fluid dynamics, heat transfer and energy performance of buildings. I also pushed myself hard to be heavily involved in field evaluations and testing of building enclosures to compare the “real” and “ideal” world. Since working for a building envelope product manufacturer, I have conducted numerous experiments and tested both Huber’s and competitors’ products, including building sensoring systems and monitoring of products in various wall and roof assemblies in the lab and field conditions.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: Even with all advancements in technology these days, I firmly believe the coordination and good communication between various parties is a major key to success. The customers, whether they are owners, builders, or architects, are always looking for simple black and white answers to their design or performance problems. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort, time, and communication to bring the whole team to the same page and understand what is most important and critical, and how that can be accomplished cost effectively in a timely manner. There are a lot of challenges we are all faced with on daily basis. Again, great communication among the parties is the key to better management of construction projects. The best path forward to reach out this goal is continuous education and dissemination of the knowledge and experience.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: I am constantly learning. I both asked and get asked new questions daily. This challenges me, and forces me to research, study, and consult others to find answers. Acquiring new knowledge from peers and colleagues is one of the things I enjoy about my job the most.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: We consider ABAA as the leading industry association that promotes best practices and solutions to provide air tight homes and building on multiple levels. Huber Engineered Woods shares the same principles and is highly motivated to be involved in any segment of industry that promotes building better. It did not take us too long to feel that we are at right place by being ABAA member.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: My personal interests revolve around the work of Technical committee, Research committee, and QAP committee. I am always excited to learn from other smart people participating in these committees and share my own experiences about broad variety of topics related to performance, design, installation, and quality assurance of air barrier and water-resistive barrier systems.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: In the United States, I started my professional carrier in early 2007 after graduate school, as a consulting engineer in Building Technology Group in Simpson Gumpertz and Heger Inc., an engineering firm located in Boston. I learned extensively about the consulting business and design perspective of building envelopes. When I joined to Huber Engineered Woods more than ten years ago, I transitioned my career path to do the research and testing for the manufacturer of building products that believes in research, development, and innovation. I have twenty years of work experience in the building industry when combining my graduate education work, consulting, and research work in private industry.
What major changes have you seen?
A: The building industry is one of the slowest industries to evolve. Due to a variety of reasons and the complexity associated with construction, the building industry has not adopted significant large-scale advancements in automation like other engineering disciplines (auto industry, processing industry, etc.). There are some outliers, but for the most part we still need to touch, carry, position, apply, install the things with our hands to make sure they will perform per specifications. One big area of improvement compared to decades ago is the use of advanced communication technologies to exchange information and deliver it to job site and to the clients much quicker compared to just a couple of decades ago. In addition, all these advanced technologies allow for collection and processing of lot more data on various levels such as materials behavior, systems evaluation, and buildings performance monitoring. These opportunities open a wide alley for faster learning and making improvements and advancements on multiple levels.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: I think success in this industry requires dedication, persistence, and continuous education. Additionally, never forgetting about keeping your mind, spirit, and excitement alive whenever you learn new things. Finally, I think it is important to always keep your mind sharp with questions such “How does this work”, “how does mother Nature create all these miracles around us”, and “how can I make these things work or look better”.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Use your willingness and motivation to learn and master the things while you are still young and free from many other things that are waiting on you in your life and may be quite distracting when you want them to be least distractive.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten years’ time?
A: As I mentioned above, the building industry is one of the most sluggish industries to evolve. Although, there is lot of momentum around automation of building construction such as printing 3D homes, BIM, etc., it will take a lot of time and effort to implement these concepts in the construction world being the way it is today. Personally, I am expecting to see much more coming on the horizon about new construction materials and products with advanced and high performing features and characteristics.