Member Spotlight: Darren Lemon
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Darren Lemon, Sales – Project Manager for Western Specialty Contractors in Springfield, IL. 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.
Name: Darren Lemon
Title: Sales – Project Manager
Firm: Western Specialty Contractors
City: Springfield, IL
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession as a Sales – Project Manager?
A: I grew up around the work because my Dad was the Manager of our Office. I would work on projects with him as a kid on side jobs. Eventually came to work for Western.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: Always do a good job and treat your customers well. I have people that use us exclusively because they know how we work and that we do a good job every time.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: My Dad taught me the work originally and to always do your best and that customer service is Number one. Others got me started in the Air Barrier and I took it from there and grew it to be larger than we originally anticipated.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: Bob Diehl in our St Louis office was originally certified and they did Air Barrier and Spray Foam. The industry was growing so we did a few projects to get experience before we went and became ABAA certified members here in our Springfield Office. Knew that more and more projects would eventually be ABAA projects and felt that ABAA would be a great asset to belong to. I ended up taking over as Quality Control Coordinator approx 10 years ago.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees?
A: I am not currently, we do multiple types of work outside of Air Barrier so we are really busy so I don’t feel I would be as helpful as I should be trying to take on more.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: As I mentioned I grew up around the work. I started out with Western in the Springfield Office as a union Laborer in 1989, then in 1994 I moved to the Bricklayers union to become a Tuckpointer. I did that until February of 2000 when I moved into the office to my current role of Sales – Project Manager.
What major changes have you seen?
A: Tools and equipment have all changed that we use today. All the Air Barriers we install now are asphaltic free where in the beginning everything was asphaltic based and made it difficult to clean up and created a lot of hazardous waste you then had to pay to be disposed up. Liquid flashings have really grown versus only priming and taping.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: You have to know your materials and know your customers. Staying up on the materials available is always a plus. We do tend to use a few specific materials but always need to be able to adapt to new products.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Make sure you always do good job on every project which will keep your customers happy and will keep the repeat business.
How much demand do you think there is for people in your profession?
A: It is becoming higher demand more and more due to the amount of projects out there and almost every projects has Air Barrier on it now where it never used to.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten years’ time?
A: I think that eventually all the materials will be thinner films when the technology gets better. More and more projects will require Air Barriers and more will be ABAA certified which will ensure better quality projects are completed.