Member Spotlight: Tracey Jumper CCP, LEED BD+C, Jump-Start Building Commissioning

In 2011, we interviewed BCxA member Tracey Jumper, who had just been recognized by the National Engineers Week Foundation as one of only 14 people to be honored by New Faces in Engineering as an up-and-coming building professional. At that time, we asked Tracey, “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” She replied that she’d like to own a commissioning company.

Ten years? Try five … Tracey achieved her goal in 2016 as founder and owner of Jump-Start Building Commissioning, LLC. In the meantime,

Tracey’s roles included director of an engineering group for one of Inc. Magazine’s Fast-5000, partner in a commissioning firm, and lead Cx provider for a ENR Top-500 AE firm in the Midwest. Tracey was the BCxA’s 2016 President’s Award recipient for exceptional leadership in the building commissioning industry. She is on the BCxA International Board of Directors, is a corresponding member of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee on Cx (T.C. 7.9) and is a Regional Vice Chair for ASHRAE Chapter Technology Transfer. She is also a BCxA instructor in our two-day EBCx training program.

How does this happen to one so young? Tracey credits many for seeing her potential – including her mother, Terry Capitano, who “dragged” her to college visits, landing her in the A/E department at Penn State where she eventually focused on mechanical engineering – and also her own drive to get out from behind a design desk and spend more time in the field. As a recent graduate, a newcomer to the building community, and a woman in a field dominated by men not in suits, Tracey hung out on her firm’s project sites with veteran engineers whenever possible, listening to their raw evaluations and reviews of building systems (i.e., “Well, this is where ya screwed up, here!”).

Scouted out by a company that had originally rejected her, Tracey joined a large A/E/C company, originally to do design and energy modeling. “A lot of the high-profile projects were very secretive, with really stringent energy performance requirements.” But energy modeling was frustrating and kept her at a desk, so she “took a chance blindly” when they offered her the quality control part of the job, investigating functionality and end-user issues. They called it a Cx Specialist position, although they didn’t know where to put the Cx group because it crossed through all project phases.

As luck would have it, Tracey had a great mentor who left the company and left all his commissioning responsibilities to her and a colleague. This was a big challenge that launched her into a lead Cx provider role with a hospital customer in Michigan on a quarter million-dollar commissioning contract. When the Owners heard that Tracey would take over the commissioning role, she says, “they sat in the meeting and said we don’t know if we want to do commissioning.” Thus began Tracey’s job as an educator, showing owners what they do get for their money. She took the responsibility for educating owners from then on about commissioning, the importance of recording and documenting during the project. As it turned out, at the end of that project there was a plumbing sewage system problem. Since everything else had been tested during commissioning, the problem was easily discovered and fixed.

As far as having enough providers available to do the work of commissioning, Tracey believes the first criteria are not necessarily the technical pieces. The ability to put boots on the ground and concurrently do the owner education and representation is more important with commissioning than with engineering.

“They’ve gotta be fearless, they need to be sure of themselves, when to bring up an issue, and coordinate the resolution,” she says. “They can come from the Penn State-type background of programs, like mine – structural, mechanical, lighting/electrical, cross-engineering programs that are coordinated with systems and trades. When I graduated there were about 14 such programs across the country, now there may be more.”

Tracey finds networking to be one of the most worthwhile aspects of BCxA membership. “It’s possible to have direct access to founders of the BCxA and leaders / pioneers of the modern commissioning process. Now I’m getting to do webinars and I want to be part of the direct outreach. With the BCxA, you have the ability to influence change through training sessions, meet-and-greet opportunities, and even at a larger scale. I don’t think all members know how accessible that is, and I can facilitate that now.”

Tracey spends her free time at racetracks across the nation. A racing fanatic, she’s a member of the Pocono Raceway Fan Council.

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  1. Tony DiLeonardo

    I’ve known Tracey for many years. She obtained and exceeded her goals. As a proponent for “commissioning done right”, Tracey has been an educator as well as commissioning provider. i wish her continued success. You can see her at the BCA commissioning conference in October presenting. Look her up!

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