On April 6, during the annual convention of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Michael Weber of Island Acoustics was awarded the association’s highest honor, the Pinnacle Award.
AWCI’s Pinnacle Award is presented to an individual who most merits the wall and ceiling industry’s recognition and who has given unselfishly of his or her time and energies to benefit AWCI and the industry. Not only are candidates evaluated on their dedication to the industry, but on their civic and community work and the excellence of their companies.
Weber, president of Island Acoustics, LLC in Bohemia, N.Y., is a long-time AWCI member. He was the association’s 2009–2010 president and served on many industry committees over the years, including a lengthy stint a chairman of the AWCI Union Contractors Council. Weber has served as president of the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries of New York (WC&C), an AWCI chapter, and was named WC&C Contractor of the Year in 2012.
Weber is a third generation carpenter who runs a second-generation family-owned business. He joined Island Acoustics as a warehouse assistant and then advanced to carpenter, carpenter foreman, assistant estimator, estimator, project manager, and currently, the company’s president. His father, Robert Weber, along with two others founded Island Acoustics, Inc. in 1969.
Today the company serves the Tri-State community by providing acoustical ceilings, drywall and carpentry services. Since its incorporation in 1969, Island has evolved into a provider of a broad range of services including drywall, acoustics, specialty ceilings, exterior panel systems and more. The company’s portfolio includes churches, hospitals, hotels, industrial buildings, museums, office buildings, residential buildings, retail spaces, schools, restaurants and theaters.
When she was a child, daughter Lauren Weber would sometimes go to work with her father. “I loved sitting on the floor of his office and drawing on blueprints with Sharpies,” she says. “so many of the people who worked with him in the beginning are still with him. It’s such a family at Island. I feel like I’ve known them since I was a kid, and I’ve watched their families—and they’ve watched us. So I’ve always loved going into the office and seeing everybody.”
“My dad grew his company,” says Weber’s daughter Emily Philip. “My grandfather started it, and he [Weber] just grew it 10 times over. … I know it sounds silly, but everything he does is an accomplishment.”
“What impressed me about Mike was as a young man who had worked in the field, now was working in the office as an estimator and he was in full control, full command,” says John DeLollis, executive director of the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries of New York. “It was in the early days of computerized estimating and he had it as though he had been being doing it for 50 years. He was in complete control, knew exactly what he was doing.”
Island Acoustics Vice President Mike Iacono attributes Weber’s leadership to getting the company through tough times. “We made some sacrifices as employees and he did it in a way that it goes back to the caring and compassion instead of laying people off, which is the easy solution,” he explains. “He came up with a ways where we took a Friday off and we worked a four-day workweek, and no one lost their job. And that to me was great because we had a core group of people who were excellent at what they did, and we didn’t want to lose them.”
Rich Steimel, senior vice president of PIC Healthcare LendLease at LendLease had this to say about Weber: “Mike is in his own category in that he’s got those traits of being flexible and cooperative and understanding how the business operates. And he’s a professional, and that’s certainly appreciated by the union and by ourselves as well.”
Through his leadership at Island Acoustics, Weber is involved with and supports many charitable organizations, including these:
American Cancer Society
Coalition Against Child Abuse & Neglect
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America
Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center
Joe Namath Charitable Foundation
Joe Namath Neurological Research Center at Jupiter Medical Center
New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital
Weber’s wife, Jane, adds more: “He’s involved with Beacon House, which is here on Long Island, a vets’ center that helps provide housing for veterans, and he opens his wallet to any organization that says, ‘Can you sponsor a hole? Can you sponsor this? Can you sponsor that?’ He gives.”
Lee Zaretzky, president of Ronsco, Inc. in New York and a friend of Weber, notes that Weber’s “relationship with AWCI is like all his relationships. He puts all he has into whatever he gets involved with. … Mike gives back to his community in every way that he can, whether it’s within his company to people in need to organizations.”
Jane Weber says her husband will say “I build relationships,” and it’s what he does. “With that as a basis,” she says, “he cares about the people he works with. He is … not out for the almighty dollar. He’s out to build a relationship, to go on so that everybody prospers from every job he’s on—that’s what he wants. He wants his office employees right up to the to his customers to do well on every job.”
And NFL legend Joe Namath wraps it up with a nice summary of the Pinnacle Award’s criteria: “For years … I have been watching Mike help out other people in a lot of ways. He’s a terrific leader. He’s a wonderful team man—something that I can relate to, you know, teamwork. He loves people, respects people. Of course, all you folks probably know that.”
We do know, Joe. We do.