Member Spotlight: Harry Slater
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Harry Slater, Project Manager for ECS Southeast, LLP in Wilmington, NC. 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.
I grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York and have been in the construction field since I was 14 years old. I attended SUNY Canton and obtained a Civil Engineering Technology degree. My career working in the consulting engineering field is at 25 years and counting. Starting out as a filed technician testing soils and concrete then moving up to a project manager position. About 12 years ago I was given an opportunity to expand into the building envelope field with ECS. This involves air barrier observations, thermography, and blower door testing. I currently still perform these service lines as well as design consultation.
Name: Harry Slater
Title: Project Manager
Firm: ECS Southeast, LLP
City: Wilmington, NC
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession with a manufacturer?
A: I started in construction as a teenager and enjoy the field. Building things has always been fun. I obtained an associates degree in civil engineering and have been in the materials testing field ever since.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: The computerization of everything!
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: They have pushed me to pursue anything that I was interested in doing. My company has allowed me the opportunity to chase any opportunity.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: The field of air barrier is a fast growing field as people try to become more energy efficient. The demand is continuing to grow and having a large association to help you out is a huge benefit.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: I am a certified auditor and blower door technician.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: I have been in the materials testing field for 25 years, the last 12 were more involved with the building envelope side.
What major changes have you seen?
A: Technology has come a long way. From the building materials to the way we design and test buildings. Started out using mercury filled manometers to check pressures and now it is all digital gauges.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: Being able to adapt to changes and think on your feet. Things are never black and white, common sense is needed.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Listen to those that have been doing this for a long time. Experience will outweigh anything that a text book will teach you.
How much demand do you think there is for people in your profession?
A: I think as the consumer wants to be more energy efficient, the demand will keep growing.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten year’s time?
A: I think there will be products developed to use as air barriers that will be so easy to use and inexpensive that all new buildings will be efficient. The commercial industry standards will spread to single family homes once costs come down for the materials and systems.