Member Spotlight: Pat Hulswitt
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Pat Hulswitt, Project Director and President for Industrial Services Inc in Ann Arbor, MI. 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.
Enterprising Weather-Proofer | Intermediate Perfectionist | Hardworking Son, Brother, Husband, & Father of 2 | Entrepreneurial Dreamer | Full Throttle Rider | Risk Taker
Name: Pat Hulswitt
Title: Project Director and President
Firm: Industrial Services Inc
City: Ann Arbor, MI
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession in building commissioning?
A: I grew up building and loved working with my hands over academia. After my freshman year of college, I took a summer job working for a now competitor and never went back to school!
Always wanting to “own a business,” I detoured from caulking and waterproofing and ventured into a successful business installing car audio and electronics for joe public and new car dealerships in Brighton, Michigan.
A lousy business partnership led me back to commercial construction, but I was still yearning to own my own business. A few more diversions later and I landed in a position to leverage enough relationships and resources to restructure an existing business and start a Union waterproofing, caulking, and air barrier company- Industrial Services Inc [IS1].
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: The easy answer is building energy efficiency, but what we really need is recruitment and development of skilled tradespeople. Companies like IS1 afford people like me, people who prefer working with their hands over academia, opportunities to earn a great wage with great benefits, and a pension. At small companies like IS1, opportunities are limitless for those that want more than “just a job”.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: My father is number one. He was a tradesman, jack of all trades, deep thinker, dreamer that took risks, and moved his family across the country pursuing his calling. I have had many mentors over the years learning what to do, and not do. I currently see two business coaches and look to people in my group of peers and even clients for advice and often find myself mimicking what they do well and learning from what they do not do well.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: Yearning to be the best, though not the biggest, weatherproofing material installers in our market led us to ABAA. I have high expectations and without sound systems and processes in our business of applying materials, we are doomed to fail. ABAA offers us training and credentials we need to execute our vision and values.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: Working on and in the business, having a young family, and the overall ebbs and flows of business have made it difficult to carve time out of a 60-hour workweek for participating in any professional or organizational committees. However, we’ve made some great hires over the years and continue to develop leaders within our organization and industry. My goal is to now leverage some time to be more involved in some professional organizations, including ABAA.
I am a Level 3 Certified Air Barrier Installer.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: ~28 years
What major changes have you seen?
A: Primarily improvements to building envelope materials and technologies.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: You must be detail oriented, preserving, and inexhaustible. Your company must be honest and at all times selfless and ready to serve. You should have killer instincts while remaining kind at heart.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard -Tim Notke
How much demand do you think there is for people in your profession?
A: Tons- we need hard workers and talent.