Starting out as a Local 105 Sheet Metal Worker, Chad Demick has grown from working in the field to becoming BIM Manager at Control Air Enterprises. Through that, he has found the importance of understanding each role, how it fits into the larger goal, and what it takes to get the job done.
We recently sat down with Chad to talk about his journey in the industry and his role at Control Air Enterprises. Read on to find out more below.
Tell me a little bit about Control Air Enterprises and what you specialize in.
Control Air Enterprises is an HVAC & Plumbing contractor that focuses on designing and installing multifaceted systems across multiple market sectors in California. Our company has several subdivisions such as new construction, tenant improvement, insulation, service, and our sheet metal shop. One division, Optimum Energy Design (OED), will design buildings too. I specialize in sheet metal but work as the BIM Manager now.
Walk us through your career and what led you to becoming BIM Manager.
In high school, I was interested in drafting and blueprints. But I started out working as a Local 105 Sheet Metal Worker. That was on January 10, 1999.
I went on to spend seven years out in the field with a company called Western Air. Then, in 2006, I started working for Control Air in the field. In both cases, I was working on lab and hospital projects. With Control Air I was able to work at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center in the office and started doing detailing. For that project, I needed to dimension every single hanger on a seven-story hospital. Then, on that same project, I had the opportunity to detail the sheet metal that needed to be installed in an outside air shaft.
After that, I got invited to join the detailing department and became a detailer. I worked there for 12 more years until I became the sheet metal detailing manager. I did that for around two or two and a half years before I was asked to take the BIM Manager position.
What is your proudest accomplishment in your career at Control Air Enterprises? Why?
There are many things I am proud of, but the very first job I did I detailed on my own. There was fear and doubt that I wouldn’t be able to detail the project by myself. But pushing through and finishing the job is something that stands out for me.
Alongside building that early confidence, the thing I’m most proud of is the relationships I’ve made with the people I work with. Having the opportunity to be there for them and vice-versa has helped us all pull together, and help each other in times of need.
The thing I’m most proud of is the relationships I’ve made with the people I work with. Having the opportunity to be there for them and vice-versa has helped us all pull together, and help each other in times of need.
– Chad Demick, BIM Manager, Control Air Enterprises
As construction evolves, how do you see the role of BIM Manager changing?
Since starting this role, I realized people don’t always understand the job we’re doing or what it takes to complete it. Not in a bad way, just that as time evolves, I think executives and companies are going to have a better understanding of what it takes to do the detailing, drafting, modeling, and all the other BIM-related steps to complete a project.
This may also help address why new technology is needed, and improve the way that technology is viewed. Essentially, time will help the role become more widely accepted.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your role? How does technology help you overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenge, to be honest, is looking for the right technology. We’re in what I call a “technology hurricane” because there are so many products available. It can be extremely daunting to find the right one.
This is why we have Autodesk Docs. And then cloud-based computing has been revolutionary because now we’re able to centralize our work and access our files quickly.
This became particularly important when, unfortunately, we had a data breach and ransomware attack. Instead of being down for a month, we were able to get everyone working on the cloud while IT focused on getting the rest of our data off the internal servers that were hacked. It took less than five days to move everything into Autodesk Docs, which is the secure environment we need.
Speaking of Autodesk Construction Cloud products, why are you excited about implementing Build over the next few months?
There’s a slew of tools available with Autodesk Build that will really help streamline my workflow. Plus it’ll help the rest of my team get their data into the cloud. We’d like to continue working from the cloud because there is a level of protection there.
There is a level of efficiency with working from the cloud because our precon department, or anyone who needs the data, can access data from anywhere.
– Chad Demick, BIM Manager, Control Air Enterprises
What made you want to partner with Autodesk on your projects?
When I first began working here, we were already using AutoCAD. So, we were already partnered with Autodesk and using their products. From my perspective, it’s just what you use. I have looked at other software, but I don’t like it.
Autodesk really focuses on making their products better and producing the best products possible. Plus, Autodesk is a big company, so I trust that it’s not going anywhere.
When you think about the future, what are your plans to advance innovation and productivity at Control Air Enterprises?
The first thing we’ve done is put together a SAS (Software, Applications and Systems) group. With this, we’re going through and looking at the different construction software with a goal to make our process lean and incorporate as much as possible into a unified platform. I’d like to mitigate as much of the re-work and duplicate effort as possible to save time.
What advice would you give to the next generation of men and women entering and preparing for the future of the industry?
If you are going to do a job, project, or something else, you need to know what you’re doing. You need to figure out how to get onto a job site and see first hand how your work fits into the grand scheme of things. It’s important to take a vested interest in how your piece of the puzzle contributes to the overall project.
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Myself and team regularly sit down with construction leaders to promote knowledge sharing among our community. We cover what works, what doesn’t, and what the future holds. Check out our entire series of Behind the Build interviews, featuring some of the best in construction.