The BLDUP Spotlight: Product Consultants: 
A Value Add to Any Project Team 06/15/23

sso spotlight

In the ever-changing world of product specification, it is increasingly difficult to actually speak to a knowledgeable manufacture/product representative before specifying a product for your project. BLDUP sat down with Mr. Michael O’Connor from Stoessel, Sedgwick & O’Connor to discuss the value that an experienced product representative can bring to an architectural design team.


BLDUP: Michael in the post-covid world it seems that the “human in the loop” is harder and harder to find and more Owners/Design Teams are relying solely on what they find online to specify products…talk to us about the SSO difference in working with Owners and Design Teams.

Michael O’Connor: I would say that our world is back about 60% to the new normal. Online is a general snapshot of any project. Involvement in the early stage of the project with the design is critical to our products being specified. A sales representative who offers only product knowledge is only a minor resource in any project. Sales consultants is what the design teams are looking to for guidance. A sales consultant becomes part of the design team with product, code, local/national trends, specifications, and budget costs.

BLDUP: SSO team members are expert “product consultants”. Talk to us about that unique skill set and how you interact with Architectural Team.

Michael O’Connor: A product consultant and specifier is a valuable resource for any project. We are solution providers, we provide guidance on a wide variety of products and services not just the products that we represent. We specify products to the design team that we don’t always represent for the good of the project and or the wants of the owner.

BLDUP: SSO provides a variety of Interior and Exterior products, tell us about the lines you represent and why you have partnered with them.

Michael O’Connor: The manufacturers which we represent are high-quality companies. At SSO we are in a position at this stage of our company and lives where we won’t represent manufacturers that aren’t leaders in their products and services.

BLDUP: SSO provides a host of curated consulting services to assist Owners and Design Teams in the earliest phases of a project's design from pre-construction estimating, code compliance review, warranty compliance and after installation field/parts support. Why are these so important to not only project success but RELATIONSHIP success?

Michael O’Connor: These consulting services are just what they are, services! We are not just salespeople, we are consultants that provide solutions. When you solve issues and become a design team’s go-to resource, the opportunities to ensure success becomes our company's appeal. Being an important part of the design team leads to repeat success.

BLDUP: We have discussed SSO’s new construction project capabilities, tell us about how you approach existing building work for your clients.

Michael O’Connor:: Existing projects are sometimes just offering products that the building already has with updated code compliances. In total remodels it is just like new construction except the old building envelope remains. For example, restrooms that are just ten years old may be too small to meet the new ADA codes and privacy requirements. Being able to provide solutions to building restrictions is a great asset to the owner and design team. Being able to offer solutions for re-purposing building spaces and existing products is a trend that benefits everyone.

BLDUP: Tell us about 2 products or trends you are excited about that you are seeing on projects today that would not have necessarily been seen a year or two ago.

Michael O’Connor: One trend we are seeing quite often is European-style toilet cubical systems for public restrooms. These cubicles offer a high-end appealing design and total privacy. The restrooms in a building always make a statement, and with these new European-style cubicles the statement is WOW.

Within the healthcare sector, we are seeing a trend to make walls, doors, and rooms warm and inviting instead of institutional looking. New colors and textures can provide a calming approach to healing while not contributing to the spread of healthcare-associated infections.

Contributor Bio


Stoessel, Sedgwick & O’Connor, LLC is a leading product and specification consultant firm in the northeast. We represent only the finest manufacturers who are dedicated to quality and customer support through innovative products and services. We are committed to earning our customer’s business through consistent support, industry expertise, product knowledge, world leading customer service and respect for those we encounter. The manufacturers which we represent are truly partners with our mission and our company. We are dedicated to fair and profitable business relationships.

Stoessel Sedgwick & O'Connor LLC >>