Field Inspections Plus’s Mark Poskanzer interviews AABC Board Member Brian Venn, TBE, CxA, Mechanical Testing, Inc. to learn more about AABC, the importance of independent TAB, and the challenges as well as the rewarding aspects of the TAB industry.
Mark: Why is independent test and balance important?
Brian: Independent test and balance is important because it ensures that the owner gets what they paid for in the design, installation, equipment efficiency and life of the equipment. It can be a problem for owners that allow design, installation and balancing of the systems by a single company.
Mark: Why AABC?
Brian: AABC is the only certifying body in test and balance that mandates a company be an independent as a prerequisite for membership. An AABC company cannot also be a mechanical contractor or design engineer.
Mark: How did you get started in the business?
Brian: I was originally an apprentice out of Local 83 Sheet Metal, Air, and Rail International Union. Working in the trades gave me the foundation and skills to build a career in TAB.
Mark: What has changed the most since you started?
Brian: Technology has grown by leaps and bounds. I started this career using a pager and now can view my entire company’s performance from my phone on an hourly basis. In 2008, we started to go paperless, creating all our reports and documentation in the “cloud.” It was a leap of faith and training was a challenge, but productivity and efficiency grew exponentially when we implemented Clipboard for our fieldwork. Every technician we had got rid of all the binders and heavy report books and carries an iPad now. It’s amazing still when I think about how we used to do things and how Clipboard allows us to run our business way more efficiently.
Mark: What has been your biggest challenge?
Brian: Finding people. Independent test and balance technicians are not being actively trained by many sources besides union locals. Working through the training of green technicians while on projects can be costly and drive down margin. Our investment in technology showed the most when technology, internet/YouTube/etc., was suddenly in the palm of our hands on our phones or iPads. Now training resources were easily distributed and absorbed by our crews. This enhanced the time it took to train a well-rounded technician because communication was so much easier.
Mark: What do you find most rewarding about the work you do?
Brian: Creating sustainable buildings that are run responsibly for the next generation to inherit. We need to start preparing our power grid for a more efficient and demanding future.
Mark: How has the pandemic affected your business?
Brian: We initially closed for 47 days during the height of the emergency in New York where our headquarters are located. Once we were declared essential workers, work flowed in. Ventilation assessment and outside air volumes in indoor environments became a priority, allowing us to add new customers we had never previously worked for, like Broadway theaters for example.
Visit our website to learn more about AABC and our Industry Partner Program. The AABC Industry Partner Program is custom designed for you, to give your company benefits and packaged discounts tied to exhibiting at the AABC Annual Meeting, advertising in TAB Journal, targeted emails and social media posts, and a webinar presentation and sponsorship opportunity to maximize your potential engagement with AABC members. Check out our annual benefits as well as a list of our current Industry Partners.