Member Spotlight: Todd Wolf
The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) dives inside the career of Todd Wolf, Principal at NEXUS bec, Inc. in Tacoma, WA. 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.
Todd Wolf is the Managing Principal and a Project Manager for NEXUS. He brings more than 20 years of project management experience and is responsible for managing overall operations and contracts.
Todd brings experience in condition assessments, roof evaluations, roof replacement design, materials installation, and air barrier systems testing. He oversees field testing, building envelope investigations, and facilitates communication between clients and contractors/manufacturers/consultants to define and ensure sustainable and cost-effective solutions.
Todd’s expertise as a building envelope consultant has been invaluable in providing air barrier and building envelope commissioning training to owners, architects and contractors across the U.S., including providing training to both NAVFAC San Diego and NAVFAC Hawaii staff.
Name: Todd Wolf
Firm: NEXUS bec, Inc.
City: Tacoma, WA
What was the path to your career — how and why did you pursue a profession as a Building Envelope Specialist?
A: It was a circuitous route to get to this point, I began in architecture and working as a designer and project manager for a couple of A/E firms. My first exposure to building science was while working for a small architecture firm in Seattle back in the late ‘90’s. We had a persistent water intrusion issue and worked with a consultant that I had never seen so focused on these types of detailing issues. I really enjoyed the details of the projects and reaching a true understanding of how buildings work. Years later I was invited to be a part of the Building Science Group at another firm and jumped at the chance. Eventually that group developed into NEXUS bec, Inc.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
A: Quality, integrity and honesty – these are core values that I hold as an individual and are critical to the work we perform. I believe these values can always be sought after and, in doing so, an even higher degree of professionalism and respect grows naturally from those efforts.
What role have peers, mentors, or advisors played in your career?
A: I have had many people who have influenced my career, both directly and indirectly. However, there has been no greater mentor to me than Ken Rowan, my recently retired partner. He was the epitome of his ideals. He taught me the importance of always questioning, exploring, and seeking answers in building science while never forgetting the importance of the human side of our business.
What led you to become an ABAA member?
A: My earliest involvement in building science was learning and performing air barrier testing – there is no better authority or resource than ABAA! It became clear early on that this was the group to join.
Are you involved in any ABAA committees? Do you have any ABAA certifications?
A: Not currently.
How long have you been in the industry?
A: I have been involved in the architecture industry for 25 years, with the last 9 of those years specifically involved with building envelope consulting, commissioning, and testing.
What major changes have you seen?
A: A greater respect for the importance of the building envelope in general and the air barrier, specifically. I am blessed to work in the Pacific Northwest where the earliest wholesale adoption of air barrier standards was put into practice.
What traits or skills do you think are necessary to be able to succeed in your industry?
A: Three traits I hold to be necessary to succeed are, first, a willingness to ask questions and seek out the real answers – to not settle for the easy answer. Second, an understanding of how buildings work – not just at a functional design and construction level, but as ‘living’ entities that are constantly changing. Lastly, a strong grasp of architecture, engineering, or physics is a critical as knowledge of these areas informs every decision we make.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
A: Be Curious. Find a niche that interests you, seek out mentors and opportunities to get out onto job sites, and do not be afraid to ask any question. One of the greatest things about this field is there are many ways to succeed.
How much demand do you think there is for people in your profession?
A: As problem solvers, there is tremendous demand. It is, however, weighted toward those who are able to function in a constantly changing, dynamic environment. Every project demands an ability to analyze problems and solutions in unconventional ways.
What do you think the industry will look like in five or ten year’s time?
A: I forsee the industry rapidly headed toward dynamic facades – regenerative, solar integrated within cladding, programmable cladding, etc. This is an exciting time where the building envelope is no longer a static element but is taking on an increasingly significant role in the total performance of the built environment. This level of complexity and integration with other non-envelope technologies will require more technically savvy envelope consultants, specialists, technicians, and others who have the ability to merge many disciplines. Testing of the envelope will increase in need and importance with new types of specialized testing needed to verify the performance of these new technologies.