Member Spotlight: Michael Kaspar
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Michael Kaspar, Regional Vice President, Commercial Division at Beacon Building Products in Hicksville, NY. 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.
Michael is the Regional Vice President, Commercial Division at Beacon Building Products. His work has spanned the east coast, including the downtown revitalization of numerous Long Island business and recreational districts. He has also been involved in supplying building materials to various New York sports venues, including the Barclays Arena, CitiField, Yankee Stadium and the USTA facility in Flushing Meadows. He has an extremely strong relationship with national developers, contractors, architects, and builders who he is confident will continue to develop new opportunities for the Beacon team to become part of in the future. His expertise is in the building envelope space inclusive of roofing, waterproofing, and air barriers. In his downtime he enjoys spending time with his wife Katie and their little French bulldog Jetty out on the beach or the golf course.
Name: Michael Kaspar
Title: Regional Vice President, Commercial Division
Firm: Beacon Building Products
City: Hicksville, NY
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in the air barrier industry?
A: Throughout high school and college, I was always interested in construction, building design, and development. From the initial idea stage, to blueprints and bids, the intricacies of ground up operations fascinates me. People see the cranes in the air at construction sites, large trucks of material and then the finished structure. I see the mindset behind the project, the number of jobs it can create, and the final building, bringing value to society.
My career started in the material handling business, which provided me insight into the commercial building business. Throughout my years in the industry, I have had the opportunity to closely work with developers and contractors throughout the nation.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: Relationships are the key factor in this industry. It is often too easy to get caught up in the moment and not focus on the long term. Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients makes the day-to-day work very rewardable. Everyone should be working towards developing and increasing personal connections as they help create more trusting partnerships.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: One may be able to argue that one’s value proposition sets one apart from anyone who is currently in one’s space or who has ever been there before. While this may be true, at the end of the day, business is business and as a business leader one should jump at the opportunity to learn from the experiences of those who have been presented with similar challenges.
One of the easiest ways to give one’s company a competitive advantage is to leverage the help of those who have been there and gone through similar situations. This role can easily be filled by a business advisor, mentor, or someone on a team. I work alongside the best people in the business and I continue to learn not only from my mentors, but my team members every day. If you are lucky enough to actually work for your mentor, than you are lucky enough.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: Everyday, the way buildings are built is changing. We are faced with internal and external factors and challenges. Constructing a building is one thing, but constructing a healthy and safe structure, for all who will reside and work there is another. At Beacon, our company focuses on helping contractors build more. I joined ABAA to make sure we build smarter, safer, and stronger buildings for future generations.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: Working with ABAA, I coordinated and brought together a large NY metro based architectural group alongside many major air barrier manufacturers and waterproofing companies. A successful seminar included the minds of the most talented and world renowned architects from New York City.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: I have been in the commercial building industry for over 18 years.
What major changes have you seen?
A: Most if not all new construction buildings are paying very close attention to the safety and health of the building rather than just “how fast” it can be constructed. Owners and developers understand the need for air barriers in order for the building to fully sustain itself.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: In this industry one must be knowledgeable in product and people. One must also realize and understand that building and construction is not a 9-5 job. Trucks start rolling at 5am and many factors can impact a delivery and job site, which is why relationships and communication is integral in any project.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: The building materials business has greatly evolved over the years. With consolidations, and diversifications our contractor base needs to make sure they have a place they can rely on to promptly get information and materials. Working in this field, is extremely rewarding and I advise anyone looking to enter into it to make sure he or she understands that when a contractor buys from him or her, that contractor becomes part of a team. The sale is not transactional in nature, but a binding agreement that he or she will be there for the contractor all the way through the lifecycle of the project.
How much demand do you think there is for people in your profession?
A: With the ever-changing types of products and building, there is always a strong demand for people looking to get into the building materials business. There is room for growth and such a career allows for strong business ties across the industry.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten year’s time?
A: First things first, construction software is expected to change the industry once and for all. In fact, it has already done that. More specifically, it has managed to empower the whole construction process by ameliorating the communication between the different parties involved in a project. One of the elements that have made construction software so indispensable has to do with the fact that it allows for the real-time exchange of information between the various project agents. This means a significant decrease of budget miscalculations and task delays. At Beacon, for example, we have an online platform that allows our customers 24-hour, 7 day a week access to online ordering, bill pay, delivery tracking, product information and more. Advancing technology will streamline the construction process, allowing all of us to be that much better.