Jason Kronz, president and co-founder of Building Reports
Originally published: 08.01.21 by Terry Tanker
We sat down with Jason Kronz, president and co-founder of Building Reports to discuss his involvement in the development of Bluetooth technology, and how connected devices help manage almost everything in our business and personal lives. We looked at opportunities that exist now and in the future for mechanical service companies and discussed the challenges of managing company strategy and people within an organization during a pandemic.
1. My dad always said ...?
Treat everyone you meet with resect. It’s amazing how many times we had this conversation sitting in his truck at a construction site. I saw how that simple philosophy greatly affected his business and now I see how it has shaped mine as well.
2. What would our audience be surprised to know about you?
Besides being the chief geek of BuildingReports, I’m very much a lover of the outdoors. My latest passion is canyoneering, which is traversing slot canyons that require rappelling and climbing skills.
3. What always puts a smile on your face?
My wife! It is amazing to have found my true mate so early in life. She has been the foundation on which I’ve been able to build everything.
4. You graduated from Purdue with an engineering degree. What career aspirations did you have at the time?
I wanted to do research for a Fortune 500 company. The idea of creating the future captivated me. It took a couple years to get there, but I did land that ‘dream’ job at Motorola.
5. Did you ever think mobile technology would become what it is today?
No one really understood what it would be today. I was there when the first device that could be considered the grandfather of the modern smartphone, the Palm VII was developed. I convinced the CTO at a startup I was working at that we should be focusing on a new mobile web device for the future. That change led to our acquisition by Amazon to launch their mobile strategies.
6. You left Motorola to work on Bluetooth. Would you tell me more about that?
I left Motorola to find something more competitive. I had a lot of ideas about how we would all be wearing personal communicators in the future and that they really should do our bidding. To that end I went to a startup and patented a method for these interactions. That patent led me to be invited into the original Bluetooth Special Interest Group where I worked on the very first version of the Bluetooth specification.
7. How did Building Reports come about?
In 2000, I met Brett Brewster, through a mutual friend. Brett had laid all the foundation for a product for his Fire and Life Safety service company but needed someone with mobile experience to take that product into the modern era. He had the foresight to realize it could also revolutionize the rest of the service industry. We decided in our first lunch meeting to start BuildingReports.
8. Do you have a typical day, and can you describe it?
I make sure everyone in my organization has the resources to be successful, and give thought to the strategies that will make us successful. I’m still an engineer and inventor at heart and like to work on projects that may not be directly impactful to the day-to-day operations but will have an impact on the future of BuildingReports. For example, my latest patent is on the dynamic evacuation of a building based on the nature and location of an event relative to emergency exit routes.
9. What aspect of managing do you excel at?
Finding independent people and steering them toward a common goal.
10. What aspect of leading the organization is most satisfying for you?
Watching employees exceed even their own expectations for themselves.
11. What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
Empower employees to make decisions and make sure they have the resources to effectively act on those decisions.
12. What has been most challenging managing through the pandemic?
Making sure that the level of our service has not been impacted. We pride ourselves on a great service backed by fanatical customer care. Making sure these expectations were still met during this past year has been priority number one.
13. How has Building Reports had to adjust day-to-day operations as a result of the pandemic?
We are extremely fortunate to be a technology company that had half of our employees already working from home pre-pandemic, so it was easy for us to adjust. One area that changed dramatically has been our training. We realized there would be customers that may not be able to perform most of their job during the pandemic. We thought it would be a great time to catch them up with training on our services. We made all training free via remote meeting services during the pandemic and have delivered over 400 training sessions to date.
14. How has the pandemic impacted BuildingReports and your customers?
We saw geographic trends where requirements were relaxed. Fire sprinklers and alarms need to work in case of emergency regardless of what may be going on in the world. As a result, we did see dips in usage for a short period last summer, but overall, the industry was much less impacted than other non-essential businesses.
15. I understand Building Reports recently achieved a new milestone. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes, our seven millionth report milestone last year. It’s amazing that our members and employees achieved the 3-million milestone in 2014 and are now—at least during a normal period—adding more than a million inspections on an annual basis. In 2019, a device was inspected using ScanSeries on average, every second, of every day.
16. What challenges are you seeing that BuildingReports can help mechanical service companies solve for?
We saw an opportunity to give these companies the same digital facility intelligence platform on which to build a recurring revenue offering for service and preventative maintenance. Strategic asset management capabilities provide a competitive differentiator and a strong customer retention tool.
17. Are there any mechanical service trends in 2021 that you’re watching?
We’ve noticed a lot more service providers offering a subscription-based service model. Like the SaaS industry, it creates a predictable stream of recurring revenue. This model also helps offset fluctuations in demand due to seasonality.
18. Are there specific areas or opportunities that you are focused on for this year?
The flexibility and scalability of our platform, and the size of the service member network using BuildingReports. This will also allow us to start delivering opportunities for the network as part of a new National Accounts initiative currently in beta.
19. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about BuildingReports or the industry in general?
I just want to express our admiration and appreciation for the service companies, fire prevention officers and first responders that continued to perform these vital services in the midst of a global pandemic.
20. On a personal note, what are you most looking forward to post-pandemic?
Getting together with business associates, friends, and family again.