Member Spotlight: John Matejka
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of John Matejka, Director of Building Testing for Entegrity Consulting in Little Rock, AR. 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.
John graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2004. He was brought into the energy efficiency industry (and Little Rock) via AmeriCorps and the Clinton Climate Initiative.
John is a Licensed Field Auditor by the Air Barrier Association of America, and a certified Building Enclosure Commissioning Process Provider by the University of Wisconsin. He has also held certifications from the Building Performance Institute, RESNET, and USGBC.
Prior to joining Entegrity, John worked as a Home Energy Auditor for Home Energy Rx and the Clinton Climate Initiative in Little Rock, and The Home Energy Detective in Manassas, VA. His primary responsibilities included performing comprehensive home energy audits, identifying and prioritizing energy saving measures for clients, and performing energy saving retrofits.
Current responsibilities include building envelope commissioning, and building testing services such as air barrier testing, thermal imaging, fenestration testing, and indoor air quality testing.
In his free time, John enjoys reducing the infiltration rate of his 1910 home, birdwatching, fishing, gardening, and home production of fermented beverages.
Name: John Matejka
Title: Director of Building Testing
Firm: Entegrity Consulting
City: Little Rock, AR
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession as a building envelope consultant?
A: I needed a job! With no experience in construction or energy efficiency I joined an AmeriCorps program in 2010 providing home performance audits and retrofits in low-income housing. This led to similar residential auditing jobs with small companies in Virginia and Arkansas before I got an opportunity to test new construction commercial projects. Over the past five plus years my portfolio has expanded from testing to include envelope consulting and commissioning.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: I think the overall goal is simply better buildings: better than the status quo, better than code minimum. There is certainly a place for high-performance enclosures and the industry should feel pressure to continue moving in that direction, but raising the bar for what is considered to be acceptable on an everyday basis is something that everyone should be on board with.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: My peers in AmeriCorps came from varying backgrounds and had different interests in the building performance world, which created a space where each of us could specialize our learning and share it with others. We continue to learn from each other ten years later. I have worked for small companies over most of my career, ranging from three employees to 100 now with Entegrity. This again provided people with a wide range of expertise to learn from and plenty of opportunity to broaden my knowledge base and take on new responsibilities.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: I attended QAP Auditor training in 2015 and my first ABAA Conference in 2016, both in the interest of learning more about the industry and improving my professional value (to my employer as well as clients). I have remained a member in no small part because of the continuing education provided through webinars and the conference (which will hopefully return in 2021).
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: I have been a QAP Auditor since 2015 and am currently studying for the CABS certification.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: I started in existing residential work in 2010 and transitioned to commercial (mostly new construction) work in 2015.
What major changes have you seen?
A: I am encountering more and more contractors who have experience in construction of the building envelope and some portion of the envelope commissioning process from having been through it on previous projects. This familiarity brings investment in the process, which improves its overall value and helps it to run smoother.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: I think attention to detail and the ability to comprehend three dimensional assemblies are valuable traits. Preparation makes everything easier, no matter the inherent skill.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Do everything asked of you with full effort. Many things I didn’t appreciate or feel were good use of my time turned from liabilities to assets with repetition, and I am now glad to have had those experiences. I think this applies far beyond just our field of work.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten years’ time?
A: I agree with many of the previous answers to this question: more in-house specialists for architects and contractors, better interface/transition materials, more prevalent use of complete air barrier systems, etc. Inclusion of building enclosure quality control in project specifications will continue to grow more common. Hopefully with increased attention we will see continued improvement in quality of envelope construction across the industry.