AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference

August 2008 » Feature Articles
The AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference brought together more than 160 forward-thinking information technology leaders in architecture, engineering, and construction to share strategies, learn about the latest tools and techniques at work in innovative AEC firms today, and connect with other technology professionals for some fun in the sun.
Ashley Cristman

Information technology leaders share innovative tools and tactics

The AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference, held June 12-13, 2008, in Las Vegas, brought together more than 160 forward-thinking information technology (IT) leaders in architecture, engineering, and construction to share strategies, learn about the latest tools and techniques at work in innovative AEC firms today, and connect with other technology professionals for some fun in the sun. The event featured keynote presentations and intensive learning sessions, as well as an exhibit hall with some of the country’s leading suppliers of AEC technology products and services.

The conference program served as a forum for new tactics, tools, and strategies for adapting and thriving in tomorrow’s AEC business. It offered an opportunity to meet other industry leaders and gain valuable new perspectives on the business issues driving technology.

This year’s conference theme was "Innovative Leadership," and the presentations were organized into the four following complementary learning themes that addressed issues in AEC technology leadership and management:

  • virtual collaboration;
  • sustainable performance;
  • integrated practice; and
  • infrastructure strategy.

Chairman of the AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference was Ken Sanders, FAIA, Gensler. As Gensler’s managing director of Design and Delivery Systems, Sanders has firm-wide responsibility for the research, development, and implementation of knowledge management, Internet, CAD, financial, and other professional-practice applications for the 3,100-person design firm. Sanders has been featured in Architecture and Architecture Record magazines, and authored the award-winning book, The Digital Architect. He is a recipient of the Ed Forrest Award, which recognizes industry leaders who furthered the pursuit of excellence in the design and construction industry.

After attending and chairing the AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference, Sanders commented that he "loved that the focus was on collaboration—the technology is great and continues to grow and change. What we really need to learn and talk more about is how to collaborate our efforts," he said.

Attendees also had the opportunity to speak with several sponsors and exhibitors of the conference (see page 34). TW Telecom sponsored a luncheon for attendees; Newforma sponsored a cocktail reception; and Microsoft, BST Global, Bentley, ColumbiaSoft, Primavera, and Sepialine sponsored and demonstrated products in the exhibit hall.

Conference sessions
The following keynote and focus session topics were presented at the AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference:

  • Innovation leadership (keynote)—Ken Sanders, FAIA, principal and managing director, Gensler
  • Thinking outside the inbox: The importance of e-mail in project workflow and how to tame the beast—Tammy Hafen, director of IT, Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
  • Managing AEC files across remote sites and project teams—David Pluke, principal and vice president, IT, Ericksen Roed & Associates, Inc.
  • CAD standardization from the managers perspective—Mark Farnsworth, director of IT, Timmons Group
  • Address industry growth and improve your firm’s service delivery with collaboration technologies—Gad Epstein, professional services industry specialist, Microsoft Corporation
  • Walk before you run: The big BIM, little BIM strategy for your technology future—Finith Jernigan, president, Design Atlantic Ltd.
  • 3-D laser scanning: Technology that is providing the information for smarter decision making—Greg Lawes, vice president, 3-D Laser Scanning Operations, Meridian Associates, Inc.
  • The distributed workforce: Ensuring quality in the virtual office (keynote)—Rich Nitzsche, AIA, LEED AP, principal and CIO, Perkins+Will
  • The networked enterprise: Addressing the needs for multi-location converged communications—Al Myers, senior director, Sales Engineering, Time Warner Telecom, Inc.
  • Cost effective integration of BIM technology into your production workflow—Vincent E. Ferrara, director, Desimone Consulting Engineers
  • Working Together: Collaborating to add value in the AEC environment—King Nelson, managing partner, King Nelson Associates
  • Change management: The IT leader role as ambassador of organizational transformation—John Robison, director, IT, LPA, Inc.
  • Integrating IT innovation into Perkins+Will’s sustainable design initiative (case study)—Rich Nitzsche, AIA, LEED AP, principal and CIO, Perkins+Will
  • Open source software in the AEC office: Taking advantage of the unconventional (case study)—Bettina Mehnert, AIA, principal, Architects Hawaii Ltd.
  • Solving the puzzle: BIM and your business strategy (keynote)—John Pocorobba, AIA, LEED, NCARB, COO; and John Tobin, LEED, principal, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, Architecture & Engineering
  • Business continuity: Is your firm ready for a disaster?—Kathy Minx, COO; and Brett Bonenberger, CIO, BSA LifeStructures
  • Evolving sustainable design systems for the AEC industry—Ken Hall, AIA, LEED AP, manager of Sustainable Design Systems, Gensler
  • Navigating the challenges and benefits of centralized IP storage system (case study)—Lud Eng, director of IT, Draper Aden Associates, Inc.
  • The collaboration puzzle: Fitting SharePoint and BIM into a collaboration framework—Carl Azar, vice president, Marketing & Product Development, ColumbiaSoft Corporation; and Derrick M. Beasley, PMP, project manager, Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company
  • Managing digital project data: Three case studies—Christopher Pinckney, CIO, Psomas; Michael Rinken, vice president, Technology, FRCH Design Worldwide; and John Robison, director, IT, LPA, Inc.
  • Mining real value from enterprise search—Trent Parkhill, director of IT services and vice president, Haley & Aldrich, Inc
  • Civil engineering technology (working group discussion)—Facilitator: Karl Fischer, IT manager, Traffic Planning and Design, Inc.
  • One company, multiple locations (working group discussion)—Facilitator: Lud Eng, director of IT, Draper Aden Associates Inc.
  • The changing role of today’s IT leader: It’s not just technology anymore (working group discussion)—Facilitator: Scott C. Frigo, director of IT, V3 Companies Ltd.
  • Top five IT issues today and what’s next (working group discussion)—Facilitator: Mark Farnsworth, director of IT, Timmons Group
  • Leveraging information technology to improve productivity (keynote)—James O. Jonassen, FAIA, MRAIC, managing partner, NBBJ
AEC Tech sponsors and exhibitors
The following companies sponsored events during the AEC Technology Strategies 2008 Conference and offered demonstrations and exhibits for attendees.

Sponsors
Time Warner Telecom (www.twtelecom.net) is a leading national provider of managed network services for businesses, organizations, and communication services companies. The company specializes in telecommunications, Ethernet and transport data networking, Internet access, local and long distance voice, VoIP, and security.

Newforma (www.newforma.com) serves architects, engineers, constructors, and owners (AECO) in the worldwide building and infrastructure industry with software to improve project process efficiency. Newforma solutions organize project information, connect team members, and streamline project processes. Newforma says it is the only software developer specializing in comprehensive, integrated solutions for AECO work processes.

Microsoft (www.microsoft.com/industry/professionalservices) and its partners are committed to delivering professional services solutions that can help give firms a competitive edge. Based on a combination of innovative Microsoft technology and partner experience and knowledge, these solutions can help transform a firm into an innovative and high-performing operation.

BST Global (www.bstglobal.com) offers solutions to ensure its clients have the information they need to make decisions during every phase of a project’s lifecycle—at any time, from any location. BST Enterprise, the flagship solution of BST Global, is web and portal based, delivering relevant, real-time, focused information to architectural, engineering, environmental consulting and other project-driven organizations.

Bentley Systems, Inc. (www.bentley.com) provides software for the lifecycle of the world’s infrastructure. The company’s comprehensive portfolio for the building, plant, civil, and geospatial verticals spans architecture, engineering, construction (AEC), and operations.

Exhibitors
ColumiaSoft (www.documentlocator.com) offers comprehensive document management solutions that help businesses and organizations of all sizes manage their electronic and paper documents; scan and convert paper documents to digital files; automatically capture and manage e-mails, attachments, and faxes; and provide remote access via the Internet.

Primavera Systems, Inc. (www.primavera.com) says it is the world’s leading provider of project, program, and portfolio management software solutions. The company provides the software foundation that enables all types of businesses to achieve excellence in managing their portfolios, programs, projects, and resources.

Sepialine (www.sepialine.com) is an industry leader in cost tracking and recovery technology for service professionals and their providers. Sepialine’s flagship Cost Tracking Suite is a comprehensive platform for capturing, billing, reporting, and analyzing expense data from a wide variety of sources and platforms.

The AEC Technology Strategies 2009 Conference is scheduled for June 11-12, 2009, at the Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa in Las Vegas. Conference updates and registration information, as well as hotel information, will be available online at www.aectechstrategies.com.


Ashley Cristman is a conference coordinator with ZweigWhite’s Media Events team. For more information on this or any ZweigWhite conference, contact Cristman at 508-651-1559, ext. 208, or via e-mail at acristman@zweigwhite.com.

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