Member Spotlight: Robert A. Aird
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Robert A. Aird, president of Robert A. Aird, Inc. in Frederick, MD. In this feature interview, learn what made him become an ABAA member, the importance of an airtight building, and what that means to him, and get his perspective on what everyone in this industry should be working towards. For Robert, “honesty, intelligence, experience and a willingness to listen and communicate” are all traits necessary to succeed.
Robert A. Aird is an experienced owner with 45 years of working in the construction industry. Worked first in the field as a plasterer and is skilled in Plaster, Stucco, EIFS, Water Resistive Air Barriers, Spray Foam Insulation, Paint, Contract Management, and Construction Drawings. Strong business development professional with undergraduate degrees in English and Sociology and a Masters Degree in Psychology from Bowie State University. Fluent in Spanish and conversant in French. Treasurer and past Second Vice President of the Air Barrier Association of America. Taught the AWCI EIFS-Doing It Right course in this country and Central and South America for 12 years. Robert A. Aird, Inc. has a stable workforce with employees having up to 30 years with the company.
Name: Robert A. Aird
Company: Robert A. Aird, Inc.
City: Frederick, Maryland
ABAA member for 8 years
What led you to pursue and obtain ABAA contractor accreditation?
A: I was invited to join the board and accreditation was logical.
How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your ABAA contractor accreditation status?
A: I have always preached the virtues of having third-party inspection and/or observation of our work – a second pair of eyes to make sure our work is in compliance with manufacturer’s specifications and industry standards.
What advice would you offer to contractors who are considering pursuing ABAA accreditation?
A: The access that accreditation provides to the extensive resources and membership of ABAA are invaluable to stay current and out of trouble and can bring referrals for work.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in this industry?
A: Honesty, intelligence and experience relative to construction, willingness to listen to the experts, ability to communicate clearly with one’s employees and the client and the other trades so that work is done correctly and in the proper sequence.
What’s the most common problem you see in this industry?
A: Seeing the experienced, senior people (architects, superintendents, project managers, etc.) being put out to pasture at 60 or 65 years of age and having young, inexperienced people planning and running jobs.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: Yes, training for the trades is sorely lacking. Some unions and some organizations like ABAA, ABC, AGC, MCCEI and ACE have programs, but they are not currently filling the need.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
A: Construction can be a challenging yet satisfying career. There are many, many different avenues from architecture to engineering to computers to plumbing, carpentry, plaster, electricity, windows and doors and more. I’ve been told that it takes a lawyer until age 40 to have earned as much as a plumber has made and the lawyer has a large loan to repay as well. The satisfaction of showing friends and family jobs you’ve worked on is great.
Building airtight buildings is the focal point of our mission here at the ABAA. What is the importance of an airtight building to you? How has the ABAA helped you in your career and your commitment to the industry?
A: With our better understanding how buildings perform, we know that keeping a building airtight is essential to energy savings and indoor air quality. Moreover, most water is believed to enter buildings with unrestricted hot, moist air entering at a void and cooling until it hits the first condensing surface and turning to liquid water which can cause mold, mildew, rot and rust and insect infestation.