After the conclusion of the Americas Summit general sessions, attendees then had the chance to breakout into four roundtable discussions. These roundtable sessions were facilitated with the intent of providing a collaborative platform for conference-goers with like interests to share insights, led by the BuiltWorlds research team. Read below to understand what each speciality discussed.
The first roundtable was centered around C-Suite, Presidents, and Chairs. The roundtable discussion was an extension from the general conference as the Americas Summit was geared towards those individuals in the C-Suite and discussions on creating a culture of innovation starting with company leadership. The roundtable was hosted by BuiltWorlds’ Founder and Co-Chairman, Matt Gray, and was joined by executive leaders from the construction, materials, technology, and investment industries. The roundtable discussed the largest issues currently facing each sector and how each company leader was looking to overcome their internal problems. Namely, the group discussed technology adoptions in the United States as well as how these challenges are different in foreign countries. The group concluded that fragmented vs. consolidated markets lead to these different challenges and that cultural differences in project discipline also led to differences between regions. In addition, the executives compared notes on how to create both incentives for adopting new practices as well as punishments for creating roadblocks to new technology adoption.
Several members of the roundtable also stressed that innovation in the built industry needed to go far beyond “an idea box” and “construction technology influencers.” Innovation needs to be complementary to a company’s core business and a strong innovation needs to have a strong tendency for action and execution. Those in attendance enjoyed the opportunity to compare notes on issues beyond their own company’s purview and make new connections within the BuiltWorlds network.
Infrastructure and Heavy Civil Roundtable
At the same time as the CEO Roundtable, there was a unique opportunity for those in the Heavy Civil and Infrastructure space to share their thoughts and experiences with each other through structured, collaborative discussion. This was one of four roundtable discussions that sought to give conference attendees an exclusive chance to speak with one another in a specific sector without the noise or influence of those with other focus areas. This was an opportunity to bring together Investors, innovators, and builders passionate about the crucial, yet often laggard, infrastructure environment.
The discussion covered rarely broached topics in this space like the ability of technologists to infiltrate the designers and builders in this space and influence. Some believe the best way to think about innovating in this space is to take a very forward thinking approach as opposed to simply fulfilling the contract. Many on the solution side, such as Datumate, and SoilConnect discussed the intricate nature of all the different stakeholders involved in Infrastructure and Heavy Civil, and the need to focus their messaging for each individual piece of the puzzle. Other thoughts from the group considered the need for stakeholders, such as government owners, sub-contractors, and unions, to be engaged and ready for change. The need for education and engagement on new and possible innovations for workers across the age spectrum emerged as a critical step for the industry moving forward.
Specialty Contracting Roundtable
A roundtable led by Tyler Sewall specifically targeted those interested in specialty contractors. The discussion was attended by representatives from specialty contractors, tech companies, and investors interested in the space. While part of the same ecosystem as general contractors, the trade contractors are much more keenly focused on improvements specific to the installation of building products and associated processes.
The discussion covered a fairly broad spectrum of topics, touching on field solutions, labor shortages, training, and the push to contract directly with Owners as they build increasingly robust capital projects departments. However, the vast majority of the conversation focused on how to improve the jobsite through measures outside of the jobsite. Randee Herrin, shared a prudent view from the specialty contractor perspective on how prefabrication has and will continue to gain market share in the industry as contractors look for more efficient, higher quality, and safer solutions. Randee imparted her experience in the industry through multiple examples of the use case for prefabrication and how we can improve the jobsite before ever setting foot on it. This sentiment was agreed to from multiple nodding heads in the room, and echoed by Justin Shwaiger of Manufacton as the use of modular construction continues to rise alongside prefabrication. The table also saw representatives from Hilti, Crescendo Captial, SubHQ, and CEMEX Ventures.
Building Tech Roundtable
A significant group of building tech professionals got together to speak to each other in a comfortable environment as the closing roundtable of the afternoon. The building tech roundtable included operators, solution providers, designers, contractors, developers, and innovators all with the mission to understand what needs to be done to thrust building technology forward.
Some wondered out loud what is taking so long for the building industry to adopt innovations that have been adopted in other industries for decades. Simple examples such as digitization of paper documents and contracts for buildings. This way there can be more secure ways of tracking a building by stakeholders not just in one phase of a building but throughout the entire life cycle, from design to build to operation to demolition. Other topics broached were the emergence of off-site/modular building. An interesting back and forth developed over the issues modular could solve, but also the challenges modular has when it comes to the uniqueness of each building.
All of our conferences provide attendees with a holistic opportunity to listen to panels and presentations and interact with peers and industry leaders. If you are interested in attending upcomong Roundtable discusssions, Register through the link below to receive updates and information when it becomes available.