Member Spotlight: Michael Emma

Name:  Michael Emma

Current Career: Chief Engineer @ Cushman & Wakefield – SXSW Building

Current Position in AAFAME:  Engineer Member

Past Jobs:  Engineer at the Hill Country Galleria – Started in this career path in 1989 as a Union Engineer in New York City.
Professional Aspirations: I’ve worked in a lot of different buildings, and I am blessed to have landed at the SXSW building. 
What do you want to do when you grow up:  As a child I absolutely loved sports, and I wanted to be a professional basketball player! Still do!

What was one of the most unusual experiences that happened as a building engineer?  In New York I had A LOT of unusual experiences.  One that stands out is a tenant on the 58th floor of the Met Life Building had an employee that had horrible allergies.  She complained daily about the reactions she was having that only happened when she was at work.  We tried everything, including cleaning out the ducts.  That is where we found a dead beehive, in the duct work on the 58th floor of the building!  The dead hive kept blowing particles through the duct work and activating her severe unbeknownst to her allergies to bees.  Next time you see me – ask me about the Hawk we had…It’s another great story!

Five Minutes of Fame:  Eddie Murphy was doing a standup routine in the streets of NYC.  He ended up using me in one of his jokes, and the crowd got a good laugh at my expense!
Lives with:  My two sons and my mother. 

Hobbies:  I love to work out and could spend all day in the gym!  I enjoy computer gaming and firearms. 

Pet Peeves:  I really can’t stand hypocritical people.

If you could do it all over again what would you change:   When I moved to Austin in 2008, I was ready to change my future and move into a management role.  Multiple people I met along my path when getting started in Austin told me that I should join AAFAME.  I kept turning the opportunity down because that wasn’t the future path I was following and did not believe it would benefit me. Boy was I wrong.  A manager offered to pay my AAFAME dues, and that is how I finally ended up in AAFAME.  If I had known then, what I know now, I wouldn’t have fought it for so long and joined immediately!
If money and time were no object, how would you spend your days:  I would volunteer in church and aid organizations as needed. 

Favorite Quote, Saying or Song:  My favorite song is Even If by Mercy Me. 

One of your 2020 Goals:  This is a funny one!  Goals for 2020 at this point – Survive!  Let’s skip past this year (as I know everyone wants to do!), and my goals for 2021 are to THRIVE. 
Your favorite thing about AAFAME:  The membership at AAFAME is so great – the friendships and the relationships that I have built are so important! The support and recognition from AAFAME and being a member is awesome! When I arrived from NY in 2008, I was alone and knew no one. AAFAME changed that in a big and positive way

Interview by: Rachel Salas with Specialized A.C. Mechanical Services