I was asked to travel for work last week to go to our industry trade show in Palms Springs, California.
The IRgA Trade Show and Convention concluded in Palm Springs Convention Center on Friday 21st. This is an opportunity for the industry to get together and see where we are headed and it also gives the chance for vendors to showcase their product lines; both hardware and software. There were a number of great speakers during the two days. Below are the notes.
But first there was a round of golf at Indian Canyon Golf Resort. Highly recommended.
Bob Middlebrooks gave the Thursday keynote address in talking about the Future of the AEC Industry and Reprographics. He talked about the influences of the market which included technology, project complexity, diverse technology interoperability, global, advanced visualization, digital fabrication, model based design (BIM), and integrated project delivery. He referenced the Paperless Joy by George Dimopoulos on more than one occasion. Quote from Bob “You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow“
Corbin Ball talked about Web 2.0 and Google Analytics, in two different sessions. The number one thing he stressed was that social media is not the place for the Hard Sell. “Social Media is like word of mouth on Steroid.” When I was done with the first session I approached Corbin on the side as he was talking to Curtis Thorton (who I met for the first time), and I was asking how we can get the older management to understand and buy into Social Media more. Curtis said we should be out ahead because our industry has a great deal of family run businesses, and the next generation may not be in the family run business now, but once they get into, they are going to want more social media tool.
In Corbin’s second session, I learned a great deal about Google Analytics. 25% is based off the site itself and the hidden Meta Tags, but 75% is based on off page items and links that point back to your site. In the Business 2 Business arena, you must be able to dominate the first page when a search is done, otherwise your success rate in selling is going to be low. Rupert Murdoch was quoted as saying “Big will not beat small any more – it will be the fast beating the slow”.
Ed Crowley talked about Managed Print Services. MPS is the active management and optimization of documents output devices and related business processes. If we can improve the business process for the customer we keep that customer for life. It all becomes about service delivery. Ed mentioned the book Exploiting Chaos as something good to read. Key take away here for me was we can be more profitable as a company if we emphasize professional services more than hardware.
Steve Jones gave a great talk on the Business of BIM. He talked about how other industries have already moved from CAD based to Model based (automotive and ship building being two), and that it is starting to come to the building industry. Lines, Arcs, and Text all need human interaction, while Intelligent objects and a database of physical and functional characteristics are machine readable. Owners love this because they can digitally connect. The key take away here for me was that Mechanical Contractors are the highest in adoption rate of BIM right now.
Jim Ryerson finished Thursday with some great energy in talking about leadership. He himself has written this book. He was full of energy and this was geared more towards the sales side, but I had some good take aways. We should all be setting SMART goals for ourselves and for our departments. S=Specific – is it clear what is expected. M=Measure – can we measure it without dispute. A=Attainable. R=Results Oriented – is it defined around a result? T=Time Sensitive – is there a defined due date? He suggested that each day you take a 2X2 post it note and write down 5 things that need to get done that day, then prioritize them 1-5, then estimate the time per task.
Friday started with Henry Givray talking about the Passion of Leadership. He provided some great clarity and framework for how to be a strong leader. Leadership is the uniquely consistence and defining force behind a great enduring organization. He wrote this article which is a great quick read. He gave a great deal of information, but he listed 10 Qualities that Define Great Leaders – integrity and honesty, trust, courage and self-confidence, honor, openness and candor, compassion and caring, work ethic, accountability, self-awareness, desire to serve. For me, the genuine desire to serve; putting service ahead of self interest was the piece that I latched onto most. He is directly referenced in the book Apples are Squares. To be a cohesive team we need to Share the same Purpose, and Share the same Values. The quote I wrote down was “During trying times a leaders optimism and courage lift spirits, give hope, and build strength in others”.
Stephen Sandherr ended the two days with a discussion on where the AGC is positioned and how it related to our industry. Unemployment in construction is at 24.6%. Very informative, but nothing really to convey back to the masses from my perspective. He was not overly optimistic that construction would pick up this year.
I also did see some software and hardware vendors. I did see some new products worth implementing here at work.