The CleanAlert IoT podcast delivers tech tips and news for managers of facilities, plants, and corporate buildings.
Welcome to another episode of the CleanAlert podcast. We're joined today by Robin Zoufalik. Robin is the lead of Sales and Marketing at CleanAlert and today we are going to get a chance to learn a bit more about Robin. We are going to chat about his career background and trajectory and how he came to be at CleanAlert and what his role is at the company.
Bill Banham: Robin, thanks very much for being our guest today.
Robin Zoufalik: Thank you for having me. I'm looking forward to it.
Bill Banham: Robin, let's begin by you telling us a little bit about you in terms of your career background up the point of joining CleanAlert.
Robin Zoufalik: So I'm a engineer by education. I have a mechanical engineering degree from SMU in Dallas. I have been working in the built environment since then. I started out as a sales engineer and I got to know the HVAC market very well, everything from a service standpoint of existing equipment to new equipment, to systems, to building automation, that type of thing.
From there, I continued to grow my expertise in what we call built environment which is everything that has to do with buildings and facilities and mainly on the commercial side and industrial. The only residential would be student housing or multifamily. I've also gotten experience with real estate development so I understand how buildings come together and how they're built, why they're built, and how they're operated and everything that has to do with the internal and external from a design standpoint and construction standpoint.
Bill Banham: Now let's chat a bit about your life outside of CleanAlert. Talk to me a bit about your extracurricular interests and any causes that you support.
Robin Zoufalik: My background is that I'm a immigrant to the United States. My family escaped from communism and Czechoslovakia when I was eight years old and came to the United States when I was nine years old. I've been fortunate to be living the American Dream on a daily basis so the journey has been very good. I'm the first college graduate in the family and I have enjoyed a professionally successful career. But because of my background, I'm very much into having a balanced life between the business side, the family side and the civic side.
So for the civic part, besides being involved in the communities that I've lived and various programs that help people that are less fortunate than I am, I joined Rotary International in 1993 so I've been a Rotarian for many years and I have the privilege of being the President of Pittsburgh Rotary for this year. The club is over a hundred years old. It's the 20th oldest in Rotary International and there's over a million and a half Rotarians around the world making a difference.
Then on the family side, because our family was, as best as I can say, disrupted, unfortunately my parents and my brother were the only family that I knew for a number of years because there was no real communication between us in the United States and the rest of the family in Czechoslovakia so until Czechoslovakia went free, I really didn't see anyone. They remember me as a child and now we get to see each other as adults. And having children and them having boyfriends and girlfriends, you know, it just continues to grow. My wife has two sisters. I have a brother so you know how the families grow. So I do like to spend time with my family and I also consider my friends my family because I've had very longstanding relationships with a number of friends based on the fact that not having a large family ... like one of my best friends is an only child and the 50 years that we've known each other we're almost like brothers. So as we say, brothers from other mothers.
Important to me is service above self, that's the Rotary way, and giving back as much as I can for people that are less fortunate and also for the groups that I'm involved in in the industry whether they be in the business development marketing side or the development side, and mentoring young people coming up.
Bill Banham: As an immigrant to Canada myself, I don't have the same dramatic story as you. I chose to come over here for different reasons but I can certainly relate to a lot of what you said there.
You also kind of alluded a little bit to my next question in some of the things you said there when you said that you're living the American Dream and even the importance of a work/life balance and giving back. Do you have a particular mantra or a motto that you try and live by on a daily basis?
Robin Zoufalik: Yeah, that's simple. Be happy. You know, most people when they're asked, what is success and what are you looking for in the future, a lot of people use a monetary thing like, I want to have a million dollars, or that. For me it's choosing to be happy because no matter how bad a day I'm having or whether things are going right or wrong, I always say, someone in the world has got it a heck of a lot worse than I do. I'm happy and I'm grateful, try to do as much as I can with the time that I have and I've found that being positive and happy is contagious and the day goes by a lot quicker.
Bill Banham: I can testify to that. I've never had a conversation with you when you're not happy or positive so you certainly live by your motto.
If they were going to make a movie about your life, who would play you?
Robin Zoufalik: Who would play me? That's a great question because just last year I had a beard and I looked like Ernest Hemingway so maybe I could've played Ernest Hemingway. I think maybe this is kind of because he's so recently in the news that Alec Baldwin, kind of that same build. I think he would be a pretty good match for me.
Bill Banham: Okay, so listeners, when you think of CleanAlert, think of Alec Baldwin. Let's now talk about CleanAlert. Tell me a bit about your role at CleanAlert. Why you joined the company, what makes the company solutions unique in your mind, and on a weekly basis the sort of activities that you get up to at the company?
Robin Zoufalik: One of my motivation drivers is things that are innovative or new technology, optimize, improve, those things. So that was kind of a natural fit with CleanAlert because they took something that is a nuisance and came up with a device that automates the process, is very technology driven and innovative.
The other thing that drove me to CleanAlert was the fact that they had not considered the commercial market. As they developed the product and as they did marketing, they looked at more of the residential market and because of my experience and knowing facility management, you know it was a chance to introduce the product into the commercial market, strategize how that's done, overcome some of the obstacles that have appeared since joining the company. That was the motivator for me as a new technology that would improve the operations of a building.
On a regular basis, or a daily basis I should say, continuously think of how to communicate and build awareness of the product in various market segments. So that's done through having conversations with facility managers. It's researching and going to conferences to see how people are operating today, then putting together a method of how to ply presentations and meetings with folks to procure the product.
Being based in Pittsburgh, this is a national and international product so obviously most of the person-to-person contact is in the region of Pennsylvania/ Ohio/Maryland. Then the other are using the technology we have today of communicating via the computer or telephone and that can be nationally or internationally.
Bill Banham: Before we wrap up, what's the one thing that you love the most about your role at CleanAlert?
Robin Zoufalik: The thing I like the most is I have a unique perspective from the individuals in the company. They're either technical, scientific, operational, or a residential base. There's really no one besides me that understands and has relevant experience in the commercial/industrial market so having the ability to guide, advise the management of the company and then also having influence in the direction. The bottom line for me is, you know, the accomplishment for me is that introducing a new technology into something that's been done a certain way is something that I thrive on so from that standpoint, I think the application of a technology to improve a process that's been done is kind of what hits the hot button for me.
Bill Banham: Thank you, Robin. That takes us to the end of this particular CleanAlert podcast interview. Thank you very much for being our guest today.
Robin Zoufalik: All right. Thank you.
Bill Banham: Until next time, listeners, I've been your host, Bill Banham, with Robin Zoufalik. Thank you very much for listening.
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