Building Air Quality February 2019

For Building Owners and Facility Managers BUILDING AIR QUALITY

281-448-1100 or TOLL FREE 866-367-1177 | | February 2019

COULD THERE BE RADON IN TEXAS? Beware the False Negative

February is Cancer Prevention Month, and I’ve been thinking about radon. Early in my career, I used to test for the gaseous chemical. The only time I found any radon was on a marble fireplace mantle that had been imported from Italy. This won’t come as a surprise to most people. If you check the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, you’ll see a report that claims there’s little to no radon in the state of Texas. This report is based off a study done in the late 1980s, when the EPA collected samples from all 50 states

When Dr. Stahl told me this story, all I could say was “Wow.” I’ve been doing indoor air quality for almost 20 years, and I’ve talked to many geologists who weren’t surprised when I told them Dr. Stahl’s story. They would just nod and tell me about a big patch of radon they knew about in El Paso, Corpus Christi, Amarillo, or on the southwest side of Houston. One guy even laughed and told me about a fault that goes right through Richmond! I’ve had so many experts tell me about radon in Texas that I’m pretty convinced those 25 samplers the EPA got produced false negatives. Let me be clear: This article isn’t some whistleblowing conspiracy-theory piece. When I heard it was Cancer Prevention Month, I started thinking about how the EPA’s incomplete study could cause people in Texas to overlook a real risk. Radon is an issue building owners and property managers should consider — but within reason. Your building probably isn’t sitting on a radon fault. But if you are worried about radon, don’t let your concerns be dismissed by the EPA’s false negative. I no longer test for radon, but you can still reach out to geologists and have them test the soil. Since no one’s worried about radon in Texas, we probably won’t be seeing a more complete study from the EPA anytime soon.

to investigate the dangers of radon. A few years ago, I struck up a conversation with Dr. Quadra Stahl. He was with the Texas Department of State Health at the time, and he had a very interesting story about that EPA study. Texas received over 1,000 samplers; they were small devices that looked like tobacco canisters. They were easy to use. You would just open the canister and expose it to air on the first floor of a home for 72 hours. Radon comes up from the ground, so if the building was built in an area with high radon, the sampler will pick it up. Dr. Stahl’s team sent the samplers to locations across Texas, requesting residents to test for radon and send the samplers back so they could be given to the EPA in Washington. After three months, only around 25 samplers had been sent back.

With less than 3 percent of the data, the EPA decided Texas didn’t really have to worry about radon.

have them sent back. Neither the state nor the EPA had the money to contact everyone who hadn’t sent back their samplers. The radon officer called the EPA to ask what they should do, and the EPA told them to just send back what they had and call it good. With less than 3 percent of the data, the EPA decided Texas didn’t really have to worry about radon.

The EPA had only budgeted enough money to provide the samplers, send them out, and then

Protecting the Built Environment


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Making the Change

Marketing Starts Right Next Door

I’ve been with Bohannon Development Corporation since 1999. We’re a family-owned business working primarily in the apartment industry to develop, build, and manage apartment communities. Prior to joining the company, I was in banking. Bohannon Development Corporation was actually one of my clients when I worked for the bank, and joining the team seemed like a natural progression for me. I know many people would think it’s crazy to leave the security of a big banking job in favor of a small development company that might not have been as steady, but it was the best choice for me. I’d known the people at Bohannon for a while, I enjoyed working with them, and I was ready for a new challenge. It’s been over 20 years, and I’ve never looked back. My business card reads “Executive Vice President,” but we’re a small operation, so regardless of the title, everyone does a little bit of everything. It can be crazy depending on where we are in the project cycle, but it’s a satisfying challenge. Every project demands blood, sweat, and tears, but when it’s done and you get to see how all your effort came together, it’s worth it.

Whether you’re the CEO of a major tech-savvy corporation or the receptionist for a freelance coal miner, your eyes should be set on your next marketing move in this digital age. While spinning signs on sidewalks and flying banners from the backs of airplanes may be considered staples of public outreach to some, the tides are shifting to more targeted ways of reaching your future clientele. Virtually any business can benefit from utilizing hyperlocal advertising and its many strategic facets. Hyperlocal advertising refers to the process of hyper- specific or niche marketing campaigns implemented for a certain focus area. This can manifest in many comprehensive forms, depending on the specific needs of the business. A local “mom and pop” restaurant may choose to take advantage of hyperlocal advertising by sending ads to potential customers within a 5-mile radius during the hours they are most likely to be hungry, on their lunch breaks, or when they are otherwise free to stop in for a bite to eat. Alternatively, a major car dealership in a metropolitan area could target their potential audience by running ads during local professional sports games. So how does this work for YOUR business? It all depends on your desired campaign for your targeted region. Assuming you’re well-informed about your current demographics or the demographics you’re hoping to reach, there are several methods to effectively implement hyperlocal advertising tactics. By using GPS and IP addresses, you’ll be able to target ads to specific cities, streets, and even buildings by inputting their coordinates. After you’ve narrowed it down, you can choose which areas work best for your goals. A mechanic shop expanding to a new city may cast a wider net, while a high-end jeweler may target areas with higher incomes. With hyperlocal strategies, your advertisements can be catered on a variety of digital platforms, like social media, streaming services, and apps. These new-age technologies will give you more exposure and patronage for your ever-expanding business! Protecting the Built Environment



Dan Dawes, Executive Vice President of Bohannon Development Corporation

Why Your Business Needs to Implement Two-Factor Authentication Now, Not Later A survey by Paychex recently found that 68 percent of small business leaders remain unworried about their digital security. If you need proof, you can just look at the passwords they and their employees use. According to SecureAuth, a staggering 81 percent of Americans use the same passwords for multiple accounts, the majority of which are unimaginative old standbys like “1234567,”“qwerty,” and “password.” These trends, compounded by the fact that passwords generally aren’t very airtight, turn the typical login and password combination into a paper shield for hackers. Even stronger passwords that include multiple uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters often only take a few hours to crack with an advanced brute-force tool. Once they’re cracked, they’re often posted on the darknet or sold to the highest bidder. Here’s where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. 2FA forces users to input more than one field of identification to access their account. If you’ve ever used your PIN at an ATM, you’ve already used 2FA, but many other forms exist. When logging into your email, Google can send an alert to your phone that includes a login number, which you type on your PC to gain access to your account. Banks often couple passwords with one of your security questions. Whatever the tactic, it’s much sturdier than your average password. It’s still not foolproof, but it’s an excellent first-line defense against hackers. However, implementing 2FA into your own business isn’t the easiest proposition. You’ll either need to create a custom solution — a big headache that may not be worth it for your small business — or hire a technical company suited for the job. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s worth noting, though, that whenever you bring in an outside party, it’s a potential failure point for your cybersecurity. It’s vital to vet them properly and ensure they practice what they preach. 2FA can’t be the beginning and end of your cybersecurity strategy, but consider it a large first step toward protecting your livelihood. Trust us — when the digital wolves come knocking at your door, you’ll be glad you installed the door in the first place.

In order to make sure every project gets the attention it deserves, everyone on our team needs to be informed in all areas of the industry. Years ago, when we were working on a property in Houston and realized we needed to better understand the air-quality-testing world — and indoor air quality in general —Travis West was a huge help. I am grateful someone gave us Travis’ number. I remember looking at the results of an analysis and having no idea how to pronounce a word or what it was even measuring! Travis offered a wealth of information. He helped us understand what we needed to know to run our company and serve our clients better. For us, Travis West was a breath of fresh air. He was — and still is! — logical, rational, and could speak in terms that made sense to someone not well- versed in indoor air quality (IAQ). Later, when we suspected we might have an IAQ problem in our building, we didn’t hesitate to call Building Air Quality. Everything went well, and we were very happy with the results. I cannot recommend Travis West enough. When you want to do what’s best for you and your company, you need to rely on someone who can educate as well as they can deliver.


Protecting the Built Environment

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There’s No Radon in Texas, Right?

Better Targeted Ads for Your Local Customers


Dan Dawes on Doing What’s Right for You


2FA Is Essential to Business Security


Book Review: ‘Do the Work’

‘Do the Work’


Few modern authors have a resume as colorful or textured as Steven Pressfield. A graduate of

to share when it comes to making long-term dreams a reality.

this guide lacks in length it makes up for in specificity and approachability. The book is laser-focused on helping anyone who is undertaking creative endeavors to identify their own resistances and overcome them. Combined with Pressfield’s no-nonsense delivery, every page is filled with the distilled, biting wisdom of a man wholly dedicated to his craft. Pressfield manages to strike a tone that is stern, humorous, cynical, and at times even whimsical without missing a beat. You can feel the author smirking at you through the page when he tells you, “Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional, crazy heart.” He dares you to pick your pen back up and return to your drawing board. “Do the Work” crackles with the tempered passion and biting wit of a learned master. If you’re looking to reignite your creative spark, “Do the Work” needs to be a permanent fixture on your nightstand.

Duke University, the best-selling author served in the Marine Corps, drove tractor trailers, taught school children,

Pressfield first addressed the challenges aspiring artists,

entrepreneurs, and athletes face in “The War of Art.”This guidebook lays out Pressfield’s core philosophy that a creator is their own greatest enemy. It’s in this work that he first coined his idea of “resistance,” Pressfield’s word for the self- defeatist attitude that causes so many great ideas to be left on the drawing board. “Do the Work” is a follow up to it, prescribing Pressfield’s antidote to resistance — you guessed it: doing the work. Compared to its predecessor, “Do the Work” is a quick read. Though it’s less than 100 pages, what

and worked as an oil field

roustabout — all before penning his first published

work. Having struggled as a

writer for 17 years before seeing his first paycheck, it’s no surprise that Pressfield has plenty of wisdom

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