BuiltWorlds’ 2023 Americas Summit commenced its general sessions on September 20. This three-day event is curated for top-level, C-suite executives within the AEC industry to connect and discuss the trajectory of the industry with all of the ever-changing technology and innovation. The Summit will feature speakers who are industry pioneers and drive excellence within the ecosystem. The general sessions occurred at the iconic 110-story Willis Tower located in the heart of the Chicago Loop. Within this piece will be a rundown and interesting quotes from Day One of the Summit.
Keynote--Where Do We Want To Go and Why Can’t We get There? CEO Perspective
"Technology used to be the problem, today, technology is not the problem. I think about what it was twenty years before that or twenty years before that. Today there are a lot of opportunities and I think we have to figure out how to celebrate and recognize that technology is changing the way we build but we can’t do that, whether it’s in safety , diversity, production, or technology, by ourselves."
- Mark Whitson, President, DPR Construction
From the C-Suite to the Field: The Delicate Dance of the Innovation Leader
"The most creative problem solvers are the people in the field, who often have no resources, no time and a brand new problem to solve and they come up with solutions. I think considering the opportunities to affect change the knee-jerk reaction is to go solve it and show people how it’s done, but oftentimes that is met with resistance because they have a way of doing things and it’s usually very creative and very ingenious. So learning and understanding that as a collaborative opportunity is how our innovative team has been able to grow."
- Eric Whobrey, Vice President, Innovation, ARCO
Alternative Perspectives on the Industry’s Productivity Challenges
"The truth is, productivity really has flatlined, and there are a number of reasons: highly fragmented ecosystem, complex specialized unique building, regulatory environment has increased some of the red tap and the burden on compliance and now we are seeing a skilled labor shortage. So there are reasons that we have stagnated and one of the things we really need to address is educational reform."
- Adam Bridgman, Co-Founder and General Partner, Ironspring Ventures
State of Corporate Venture in the Built World
"We have an internal fund, meant to just invest, no matter how big or small. Certainly a significant portion of our pipeline comes from the things our colleagues see out in the world. Giving them a channel, whether it's an accelerator or an investment team, an R&D team, or a tool to use, that just makes those channels really efficient and absolutely contributes to our company culture as well."
- Chris Forunato, Vice President, CRH Ventures
Keynote -- The Future of Buildings and Cities Keynote
"We find that we get better the more independent people we talk to that are not in our industry. We find that the product gets better too. If you are really trying to make it better, you can’t simply just assume that what you were doing five years ago is what you are going to be doing tomorrow."
- Gordon Gill, Partner, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill
Innovation In Building / How Net Zero Buildings Are Becoming A Reality
Marty Ozinga, CEO, Ozinga; Drury Crawley, Bentley Fellow / Director Building Performance Research, Bentley Systems; Andrea Springer, Director of Digital Technology & Innovation, Stantec; Rob Best, Americas Energy + Digital Leader, Arup; and Igor Starkov, VP Digital Twin, Siemens
"We are not looking for one-offs or two-offs in the net-zero mindset, but rather embedding that in our process. Where every day, day in and day out, every snige project that we work on, whether it’s a road or a building or a water utility, we are providing answers about what that means about how we are designing it and how we are putting it forward into the world"
- Andrea Springer, Director of Digital Technology and Innovation, Stantec
Lightning Round I: Does AI Spell Massive Disruption or is it Largely Hype?
"Don’t go on autopilot, there is a lot of talk about how people discuss these technologies as a co-pilot and it does not need to replace you reviewing the information it’s giving you. We see this all the time. This is why we say that context matters so much is learning how to properly these new AIs so that you can make sure that you understand the value you are getting from it. Just don’t go on autopilot, because it’s very easy to do. "
- René Morkos, Founder and CEO of ALICE
Lightning Round II: What Are the Biggest Trends in Venture and Private Equity Investment in the Sector Today?
"I think there’s a lot more acknowledgement that valuations are not going to go back to where they were. We do take a lot of companies public in our firm and we are seeing the pipeline building which is encouraging but it’s for companies that are profitable and have a strong business plan. "
- Tim Bodner, Global Head of Real Estate Deals, PwC
Lightning Round III: What is the Future of Modular in Construction?
"The concept of a tiered supplier network that has emerged in automanufacturing, where companies are manufacturing subesemblies that are then sold to their competitors is exactly the trends I am seeing in the trade contractor spaces. Companies at this point are all sourcing from raw materials and prefabricating from scratch their own pieces their own projects."
- Justin Schwaiger, VP of Customer Success and Strategic Partnerships, Manufacton