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Profile: Sam LaFalce

Name: Sam LaFalce
Job title and company: Architectural and engineering representative, Big Ass Fans
Degree(s): BS in economics

What are you working on now?
I am currently working with architecture and engineering firms throughout New England. I like to get involved with a project’s integrated design team as early as possible so we can achieve an effective and efficient solution to the client’s needs.

How do you explain to your mom what you do for a living?
I provide designers with a new perspective on comfort to help them create more energy-efficient HVAC [heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning] systems.

What inspired you today?
I am most inspired when I am asked a question that I can’t answer. This challenges me to seek out a comprehensive answer and, in turn, develop my knowledge of my field of work.

What industry buzzword would you kill?
Green; there is no quantitative metric for this adjective.

When you’re working, do you discuss or exchange ideas with your colleagues?
Absolutely, I could not work without getting different perspectives on a project or opportunity. I value input from colleagues and clients alike.

What are you reading?  
Don’t Order Dog by C.T. Wente and How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street by Allan Roth

Do you sketch by hand or digitally?
I don’t make blueprints. If I have to draw something for someone it is by hand, though.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?
Absolutely, it took me to Boston in February 2014—a city I never expected to visit, let alone live in.

Where is the building industry headed?
Nature’s resources have always contributed to development and building. My hope is to see this reverse through increased passive and net-plus design that connects occupants with their surroundings.

Can design save the world?
Building design on its own cannot save the world, but designers have the power to create spaces that influence world-saving change.

What do you hope to contribute from your work? 
For decades we have designed mechanical systems exactly the same: We install a unit that can heat/cool peak occupancy loads and use ductwork to transport that conditioned air. My ultimate hope is that the people I reach will reconsider their preconceptions about comfort and use their designs to help clients live more responsibly. The way we create energy has changed; why can’t the way we use it change as well?

Who or what deserves credit for your success?
My twin sister, who is better than me at everything—he acts as an aspirational role model.

Your least favorite college class?
Chinese Martial Arts Cinema—it looked a lot better on paper.

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago advice, what would it be?
I would tell 13-year-old Sam to invest his lawn-mowing money in Apple stock.

Your favorite Boston-area structure?
Boston Public Library

Who would you like the BSA to interview next?
Bob Carroll, Payette

If you were on a late-night TV show, what would your 30-second plug be?
Ever get tired designing mundane lattices of ductwork and bulky air handlers? Meet an expert on the subject, and open your mind to the future of fans, where having a “big ass” is not only kosher to say but also “cool” to own. Big Ass Fans’ own Big Ass Sam coming to you live in Boston, EST, all the time.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?
Quit looking at my car’s Big Ass—get your own!