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Women Supporting Women in the Built Environment – and Beyond

Posted By Christine Cube, Monday, September 28, 2020

We’ve all got unconscious biases.

Some companies do better to keep it in check.

Amazon Web Services takes it to a new level: Before every interview, AWS managers and directors must watch a 30-minute unconscious bias video to prep prior to meeting prospective candidates.

“It’s amazing how many little biases you have,” said Sandra Benson, Worldwide Head of Engineering, Construction and Real Estate with Amazon Web Services. “This helps your head get in the space [of interviewing].”

Benson recently spoke with a group of leaders during a Women Executives in Building virtual meeting. She led a talk with Nancy Novak, Chief Innovation Officer of Compass Datacenters, about advancing women to achieve parity in leadership in the building industry.

Benson said AWS takes unconscious bias training very seriously. She said: “You don’t get to train or interview anyone until you go through this.”

Women in Leadership Isn’t a Numbers Game – It’s About Impact

Dozens of female leaders in the building industry logged on for the most recent WEB meeting.

Benson grew up in the south. Her family encouraged her to move in the direction of liberal arts; she chose engineering.

As a professional, Benson said she’s seen many instances of men keeping women from advancing in the workplace. But she’s also seen women do this, too.

Asked what she would say to her younger self about how to conduct business, Benson said her answer likely would be viewed as controversial.

“I would tell my younger self to be softer,” Benson said, with regard to how she chose to advance in her career. “I was young, and I felt like everyone was against me. I almost felt like I had to push it too hard.”

Many leaders on the call understood this.

Andrea Rutledge, President & CEO of the Construction Management Association of America, recognized that she’s caught herself being competitive with other women.

“You need to look in the mirror and see what’s happening,” Rutledge said. “I put the lid on that. It was my job to say this isn’t a contest.”

The next Women Executives in Building meeting now is being planned. For more information, visit

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Podcast: Female Association Leaders Discuss the Work Ahead to Fuel Recovery

Posted By Christine Cube, Thursday, September 24, 2020

The pandemic has forced many companies into recovery and resilience.

National Institute of Building Sciences CEO Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, recently spoke with ASAE Stronger By Association podcast host Mary Kate Cunningham, CAE, about NIBS’ work for the built environment.

Woods was joined by three female leaders from the association community to discuss their work to fuel recovery in the transportation and infrastructure industry. They include Nicole Vasilaros, Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association; Kristin Smith, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Association of American Railroads; and Laura Perrotta, CAE, President and CEO of the American Highway Users Alliance.

“We are focused on ensuring that the places where we live, work, learn and play remain safe, are built with sustainability and the best use of technology in mind,” Woods said. “We have not slowed down. We've actually gotten busier, and we are continuing to do our job as conveners to bring the industry together so that we can find solutions to what's happening.”

In the spring, NIBS launched a series of COVID-19 virtual town halls, bringing in subject matter experts to discuss reentering buildings, changes to commercial space, air quality, healthy buildings, and mental health.

Among future top priorities, Woods said workforce diversity is high on the list.

“Diversity is so important, especially in leadership roles in the built environment,” she said.

At the end of October, NIBS plans to host a diversity summit with association leaders and C-suite executives. The goal is to discuss actions and recommendations to impact the industry. Stay tuned for more information.

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U.S. Cement CEO on Working in a Man’s World: “If You Are Driven, You Can Go Anywhere.”

Posted By Christine Cube,, Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Jamie Gentoso was young when she got her first taste of construction.

It was her architecture class at East Lansing High School in Michigan. One of the class projects involved designing a home for a family on a specific plot of land, using a set budget. She loved solving a complex problem with various constraints and thought architecture would be a great career path. However, her school counselor spotted her aptitude for math and science and suggested Gentoso might consider a career in engineering.

Even in college, as she was pursuing a major civil engineering at the University of Michigan, Gentoso wasn’t entirely sold on being an engineer. She feared having to sit behind a desk day after day with little human interaction.

But by her sophomore year, she’d landed an internship with construction firm, The Christman Company. She had a great boss, and the company employed Gentoso through the rest of her college career working part time through the school year and full time in the summers. Gentoso earned the title project manager, and she enjoyed her work. The job site, people, materials, contractors were ever changing, and there were new problems to solve every day.

“I wanted to dive into everything,” she said. “I didn’t have to sit behind a desk. I was out on the site, watching the building rise out of the ground working with the architect, engineer, building owner and different tradesman. Every day was different, challenging in its own way. I had a great boss who gave me a lot of opportunity, allowing me to learn every aspect of construction and the job.”

Gentoso says her career mantra could be summed up in these words: “Ask for more!”

She learned that there will always be a first time and it won’t be easy, but you learn from every single experience and situation. She loved construction management but knew she owed it to herself to see what was out there after graduation.

A Driving Force in the Built Environment

After Christman, Gentoso took a role with Holcim in its New College Grad Program, essentially a training role that gave graduates exposure to various aspects of the business. However, the company had an open spot for a technical service engineer and after several months, Gentoso worked up the nerve to say, “Don’t hire anyone. I want that role.”

She worked hard, and she earned it.

Gentoso was the lone female on a team with six male cement sales reps. Her role was to support them and customers throughout the North Central region, where the company sold nearly two million tons of cement, fly ash and slag. Admittedly, it took the team some time to accept her. If the job required her to be on site at 3am and work until midnight, Gentoso was there. She quickly earned their trust by continuously jumping right in to each opportunity or problem.

She wasn’t afraid to say she didn’t have all the answers, but she knew where to find them. So when a position opened with St. Lawrence Cement on the east coast – a company that was part of the Holcim enterprise – Gentoso’s boss went to bat for her.

“I had to prove myself,” she said. “They had just opened a grinding facility for slag cement in Camden, NJ and needed someone to work with architects and engineers to get the new product specified.”

This new opportunity with St. Lawrence introduced Gentoso to the world of sustainable construction. Cement is a major contributor to the world’s issue with CO2, contributing approximately 7-8 percent. The reason: Concrete is the second most consumed product next to water and nearly every ton of cement produced, produces a ton of CO2. In the U.S., there are 100 million tons of cement consumed every year. Cement is the essential component in concrete, giving it its strength and durability allowing it to last for centuries.

The Building Block of Society

St. Lawrence was where Gentoso’s love for sustainability took hold.

“You have to have concrete – you can’t even imagine a world without it,” she said. “We wouldn’t have clean drinking water, bridges, tunnels, airport, your home, the roads you drive on. Infrastructure is fundamental to the growth of society, and it’s all in concrete. Concrete is literally the building block of society.”

After St. Lawrence, Gentoso’s career in the built environment grew. She spent some time with Master Builders (BASF), diving into her first experience in sales. She then went on to spend 11 years with Sika, starting in key accounts, moving to director of marketing and product management. Eventually, she became responsible for the whole Business Unit and earned the title senior vice president of target market concrete. Gentoso was running the business and again, credits a great boss who gave her opportunity to grow and learn.

By September 2017, Gentoso made another career leap – becoming the vice president of sales and marketing of Construction Specialties. But her stint there was short-lived – an opportunity opened up with LafargeHolcim.

A Higher Calling

Today, Gentoso manages 13 cement plants as the CEO of U.S. Cement with LafargeHolcim. U.S. Cement produces $2.5 billion in revenue, and Gentoso oversees 3,000 employees.

She credits the support of her previous bosses for her career trajectory. She also has an equally supportive husband, who’s a CEO for a materials company in New Jersey.

Ultimately, Gentoso learned that business is just business.

“If you understand the fundamentals, you can do anything,” she said. “Coming into a role like this is tough. But it’s normal. We struggle. Everyone’s got struggles. It’s just about pushing yourself, having confidence, when you don’t always feel it.”

For women in construction, Gentoso says it’s important to release self-doubt.

“It’s having the courage and knowing you can be as good as someone else,” she said. “I think women struggle with that.”

Gentoso recognizes this. As a woman, she’s had to be cognizant of her place at work. Early in her career, she spent a lot of time “being one of the boys.” She chose to fit in, wearing jeans and button downs. Now, blending in isn’t a concern, and skirts are a part of her daily wardrobe. “I’m not afraid to be different,” she says.

Today, Gentoso wants a team of competitors who are driven and want to make a difference. She places her value on people, surrounding herself with the best possible team, regardless of gender. And, she’s got advice for young women with undeclared majors in college: Come to construction. If you want to make a real impact on society, you love a challenge and you’re a natural problem-solver, this is a great industry for you.

Says Gentoso: “Society faces a real challenge – we continue to grow, we continue to build, but we cannot continue to impact the environment in the same way. It’s not sustainable. (Pun intended!) We need to think and act differently and come up with new solutions. The built environment is not just man’s concern, it’s a human concern. We must call on more women to enter this great industry providing greater diversity in thought and solutions!”

Tags:  WEB  Women in Building 

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BI2020 Day 2: Resilience, Mitigation and Technology Keep the Building Industry Moving Forward

Posted By Christine Cube,, Monday, August 24, 2020

Building professionals and officials from across the industry met virtually to close out the second day of Building Innovation 2020 on August 19.

The National Institute of Building Sciences received more than 1,000 registrants to the annual meeting, hosting representatives from 45 countries worldwide.

Day 2 of the meeting kicked offwith Billie Faircloth, partner with KieranTimberlake, whose opening Resilience keynote, How We See Now, covered adaptive architecture, building types, design strategies, and several case studies.

The afternoon was peppered with more educational sessions on a national BIM standard and roadmap, mitigation, housing affordability, workforce development, and diversity and inclusion.

Drs. Perry Daneshgari, president and CEO of MCA, Inc. and Heather Moore, vice president of operations with MCA, Inc., presented on the Workforce of the Future: Using Data to Advance Industrialization of Construction.

The team painted a picture about construction today: Industrial dropped from 50 percent to 30 percent in a decade. Consumers are looking for faster, cheaper construction.

Processes for managing work to improve productivity include agile construction (to detect and quickly respond to issues), job productivity assurance and control, and analysis around scheduled work.

How to Pay for Mitigation

A four-person panel tackled the very complex issue of how to pay for mitigation. The panel featured Kayed I. Lakhia, director of Hazard Mitigation with FEMA/DHS; Sean Kevelighan, president and CEO of the Insurance Information Institute; Michael Hernandez, vice president of housing access with the Affordable Housing Initiatives of Fannie Mae; and Carl Hedde, principal with CGH Consulting, LLC and NIBS chair.

Kevelighan mentioned a host of action partners and tools to help change behavior and move toward a “resilience movement.”

“We want businesses and communities to think about risk and management as a top-of-mind exercise all the time,” he said, adding that there were tools that could be used to be more dynamic and interactive with customers and business programs.

During the presentation, Hedde announced the release of a new NIBS resource by the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council sub-committee on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate: A Roadmap to Resilience Incentivization. The report proposes to develop and demonstrate a set of public and private incentives to owners of buildings and other infrastructure to facilitate the upgrade of existing infrastructure and better design of new infrastructure.

Lakhia also announced that FEMA plans to allocate more funds for mitigation efforts through its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. BRIC replaces the organization’s pre-disaster mitigation grant program.

Using Modular Construction to Tackle Affordable Housing Supply Crisis

Libby O’Neill, a Multifamily Affordable Product research analyst with Fannie Mae, presented a session on Modular Multifamily Housing as an Affordable Supply Strategy.

Fannie Mae defines multifamily as rentals with five or more residential units.

According to O’Neill, some of the housing development cost drivers include development costs like market forces (land, labor and materials), regulation and financing costs, and hard construction costs, which comprise 65 percent to 73 percent of total development costs.

“We need a variety of solutions to address this crisis,” she said.

Some of the advantages of modular construction include a reduced development timeline, quality control, safety, cost savings and cost certainty, sustainability, and productivity.

Says O’Neill: “With modular construction, many have recognized this as one potential solution to the housing affordability crisis … One of the benefits is time savings. We can get more units built in less time.”

Improving Construction Safety to Recruit a Stronger and More Diverse Workforce

The closing Workforce keynote on Day 2 was given by Nancy Novak, chief innovation officer with Compass Datacenters, and Doug Mouton, general manager of Global Datacenter Procurement & Construction with Microsoft. The two discussed construction safety and how it leads to stronger recruiting and a more competitive environment.

“To get safety right, you’ve got to be a good planner,” Mouton said, adding that there’s a discernible pattern that projects with excellence in safety also improve in quality, schedule, and cost.

Novak said unhealthy behaviors can evolve to create to create a toxic work environment.

“Sometimes the hard conversations need to happen for meaningful change,” she said.

Some calls to action include creating a safe environment on sites for all workers, leadership must embrace the obligation to maintain safe and inclusive work sites, and intentional hiring and development of diverse talent.

Registration is now open for the next COVID-19 virtual town hall on healthy buildings and how they affect public health. Join us August 25! Visit for more information. Are you on social media? Connect with us! We’re @bldgsciences

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BI2020 Day 1: Built Environment Shows Its Strength at Building Innovation Conference

Posted By Christine Cube,, Wednesday, August 19, 2020

BI2020: Virtual Edition

The first day of the Building Innovation 2020: Virtual Edition conference kicked off strong with more than 1,000 registrants.

National Institute of Building Sciences CEO Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, opened the show August 18 with some encouraging words about the built environment and NIBS’ position as a convener of individuals and organizations across the building industry.

“Choosing to be a convener is no longer just a nice to have,” Woods said. “It’s an essential action not only for a healthy economy, but also a healthy citizen. Strong relationships and the pursuit of knowledge are powerful currency. [They] fund our humanity, our togetherness, and our future.”

The rest of the first day of BI2020 was filled with educational sessions that covered a wide range of resilience, technology, and workforce material. These include extending virtual design and construction for facilities management, opportunities and training for green jobs, and zero energy, which looked closely a case study in Florida of its first zero-energy school. This school is expected to save the school district of Osceola County, Florida over $115,000 annually on energy costs and was constructed within the state-mandated budget.


3D Printed Homes for Affordable and Resilient Housing

In his opening Technology keynote, Evan Loomis, co-founder and chairman of Austin-based ICON, shared some startling facts about housing.

“With home construction, more often there’s more waste than house,” he said, about the need for sustainable construction. “Over one billion humans don’t have adequate housing. This is a crisis.”

Says Loomis: “We’ve been building homes the same way for 1,000 years. The future is 3D printed.”

Home prices also are skyrocketing, he pointed out, which “brings a lot of pain to the average American.”

So imagine if one could download and 3D print a home in 24 hours for half the cost. Maybe you could print 1,000 homes in a row, and they all could be different with just a small tweak in the design. And aside from the actual printer, the only other tool you’d need is your iPhone to manage the project.

3D printing involves near zero material waste. The total energy required for 3D printing, including production, transport, and installation of materials, is much less than for conventional wood or concrete construction, Loomis says.

“We will further advance sustainability by incorporating recycled materials and other ingredients into our concrete mixes that lock up carbon dioxide and reduce energy input even more,” he said. “Materials science is one of the most exciting frontiers for us at ICON so we can continue to drive down costs and increase sustainability over time.”


Convergence of Design and Resilience in a Hospital

A three-person team broke down the innovation and design behind the new Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California. The hospital features a host of state-of-the-art elements and reflects how resiliency is integrated with technology, sustainability, long-term adaptability, and design vision.

The panel included Judy Ou, associate principal with Perkins Eastman Architects, Carlos L. Amato, principal with CannonDesign, and Robin Whitehurst, technical principal with Bailey Edward Design, Inc.

The Stanford Hospital includes cutting-edge architecture, a 40,000-square-foot rooftop garden, LEED Silver-equivalent sustainability features, patient-centric design details, hospitality-infused furnishings, and sculptures, paintings, and commissioned installations by world-class artists.

One component of the project – the simulation lab – received its inspiration from a theater with a “center stage” and support spaces on the wings.

“Medicine is art,” Whitehurst said. “The intent of this [project] is to elevate that artform.”

And in today’s COVID-19 environment, systems like HVAC must be intelligent, the panel said. Modularity is key, and the networks are extensive.

“On the New Stanford Hospital, we have double-stacked air handling units, one set of which is a backup,” Ou explained. “Also, patient pods can draw air from other the HVAC units of other pods if their respective one needs to be shut down.”


NIBS Awards Honors Lifetime Achievement and Two HBCU Students

The afternoon of Day 1 closed with an awards ceremony, honoring architect Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, who served as the 11th Architect of the Capitol.

Ayers was awarded NIBS’ highest honor – the Mortimer M. Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is always given to a person who has demonstrated a lifetime of dedication to the mission and goals of NIBS. The award is named after our very first member; it was established in 2011.

Also, two students of architecture and engineering studying at a historically black college or university (HBCU) were honored with scholarships.

The Betty and Mort Marshall Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to promote diversity in the building sciences. The winners were Jenna Greer, an architecture student at Howard University, and Tanaka Chakanyuka, a civil engineering student at Southern University.

Chakanyuka said she believes engineering can make the world a better place.

“With the depletion of resources and pollution to the planet, I believe responsible engineering will help secure the planet for future generations,” she said.

The Courage and Genius of Sustainability

Closing the conference was George Bandy Jr., who serves as a global leader for corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Bandy also served as the former chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Bandy discussed the genius of living buildings – essentially, a program that took someone “taking a risk that wasn’t done before.”

“Courage requires us to take risks,” he said.

Also, for the first time, there are more people living in cities than do not. Millennials and Generation Z also value work/life balance over financial reward.

What does this mean for building and construction? How do we become relevant for customers?

The spaces where people experience the best success are not in cubicles with no light or plants, he said.

“Different kinds of work require different kinds of spaces,” Bandy said.

Have you tuned into BI2020? Attendees have access to the recorded sessions for 60 days. Also, connect with us on social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

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Women Executives: Finding Balance When Work and Home Are The Same Place

Posted By Christine Cube, Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Stepping away from work, while we’re all sheltering at home because of the pandemic, has never been more difficult.

But a group of building executives recently shared their secrets to balancing home, family, and their professional lives, during a July 30 virtual meeting of the Women Executives in Building leadership series.

Ideas ran the gamut, from exercise and eating well to weekly mindfulness and meditation programs online. And when all else fails: One should never underestimate the power of a Zoom happy hour or Houseparty game night with friends.

Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences, said stepping away from work needs to be intentional. Your home office should be in a place that’s distinct, and when you leave work, you close the door.

“I find balance by shutting that door, being with my family and spending time,” Woods said. “It’s taking this time and finding the good in it. A virtual happy hour with friends is always a good idea.”

Other executives shared their secrets:

  • Schedule boundaries. Deliberately not scheduling meetings over lunch or at the last hour of the work day.
  • Put the phone down. Electronically cutting oneself off when work has concluded, keeping strict rules so you’re not attached to your phone.
  • Take a walk. Taking time during the work day to clear your mind and recalibrate. Literally adding this to the calendar so it takes place.

Executives also offered ways to help keep employees stay and feel balanced. These have included installing summer office hours through Labor Day, allowing team members to leave early on Fridays, and one team every Friday sends an email to each individual team member, listing something they were grateful for that week.  This has been helpful with lifting spirits and keeping up motivation.

The next virtual meeting of the Women Executives in Building leadership series now is being planned. Look for updated information on

Follow us on social media! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

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BI2020 Workforce: Green Jobs, Workforce of the Future, Workforce Development, and Diversity and Inclusion

Posted By Christine Cube, Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A dedicated workforce is among the most critical components of a successful built environment.

This is why workforce is one of our tracks for Building Innovation 2020: Virtual Edition.

BI2020 takes place in less than a month – August 18-19. In addition to workforce, we also will present the best information around building technology and resilience.

Here is the Workforce session lineup:

  • The Next Generation of Green Jobs: Opportunities and Training for the Green Economy with Jaime Van Mourik, Vice President, Education Solutions, U.S. Green Building Council, Patricia Andrasik, Associate Professor and head of sustainability outreach at the School of Architecture and Planning, Catholic University of America, and Ryan Snow, Director, Market Transformation + Development, U.S. Green Building Council. In this session led by the U.S Green Building Council, we will explore the current jobs landscape in the context of an evolving green building industry, and how we must prepare now for the needs of the future.
  • Energy-Efficient Workforce Design in a Rapidly Advancing Technological Workplace with Daniel Villao, Principal and Managing Partner, Intelligent Partnerships. This session looks at the successful development of careers and expansion of market opportunities in energy efficient construction, necessitating local access to construction projects. This goal that can be achieved through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs with a clear path to hiring a highly-skilled and sustainable workforce.
  • Workforce of the Future: Using Data to Advance Industrialization of Construction with Dr. Perry Daneshgari, President and CEO, MCA, Inc., and Dr. Heather Moore, VP of Operations, MCA, Inc. This session covers how the entire construction supply chain and construction outcomes can improve based on data and digitalization of information about what and how to build, and who and where is best for the build process.
  • Innovative Workforce Development: Collaborative Partnerships Addressing Diversity & Inclusion with Gen Z with Kristen Fallon, Regional Vice President of Member Services, Lehigh Valley and Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Jon C. Lattin, Technical Sales Manager, Corrosion Technology Systems, Inc. Gen Z – young women in particular – is not being shown the benefits of a career in construction. This session will demonstrate how an idea at the local level became reality through the collaboration of industry organizations.
  • Improving Construction Safety to Recruit a Stronger and More Diverse Workforce, with Nancy Novak, Chief Innovation Officer, Compass Datacenters, and Doug Mouton, General Manager, Global Datacenter Procurement and Construction at Microsoft. Presented by the Women Executives in Building Summit, this keynote will explore how the topic of safety in the construction industry and the need for efficiency and better production are closely related. Among the takeaways: How an enduring safety culture creates safe workers and jobsites, and how adopting and enforcing safety practices eliminates project disruptions.

BI2020 is open to all within the built environment and features a “pay what you can” registration fee. Registration fees will be used to support the cost of the technology, and the National Institute of Building Sciences 501(c)3 non-profit mission to serve the public interest by advancing building science and technology to improve the built environment.

The International Code Council is the overall presenting conference sponsor. Register for Building Innovation 2020 today!

Looking for more information? Follow us on social media! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

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BI2020 Technology: NBIMS Roadmap, Innovative Structure Monitoring Technologies, and 3D Printing for Resilient Housing

Posted By Christine Cube, Thursday, July 16, 2020

Building Innovation 2020: Virtual Edition is drawing closer.

The virtual meeting takes place August 18-19. Over the course of two days, the National Institute of Building Sciences will present the best information around building technology, resilience, and workforce.

BI2020 attendees also will be able to earn up to eight AIA-approved CES/HSW credits for full conference attendance.

Here is the Technology session lineup:

BI2020 Resilience Track
  • 3D Printing as a New Paradigm for Affordable, Resilient Housing with Evan Loomis, Co-Founder and Chairman, ICON. In 2018, ICON delivered the first 3D-printed home to receive a building permit in the U.S. Loomis’ presentation will cover how ICON is using robotics, software and advanced materials to bring affordable and dignified housing to people affected by disasters, while solving for a plurality of problems, including homelessness, affordability and resiliency of homes.
  • Making the Invisible Visible - Innovative Structure Monitoring Technologies to Validate and Visualize Buildings Enclosure Performance with Jason Teetaert, Co-Founder/VP, Business Development, SMT Research Ltd. This presentation will allow attendees to gain a better understanding of innovative structure monitoring technologies and tools available for quality assurance, risk mitigation, and innovation support in the construction industry. Innovative monitoring technologies enable building owners, operators, and scientists to predict future damages and/or limit liability through knowledge of what was once invisible - hidden in the walls, roof and foundation of a building - empowering the industry to develop safer, healthier and more sustainable buildings.
  • Extending Virtual Design and Construction for Facilities Management with Marjan Sadeghi, PhD, VIATechnik, LLC. This presentation will showcase the power of computational building information models in facilitating automated workflows to generate data-rich facilities management deliverables, retrieve and verify model data for the transition to FM systems, and carry out analysis for downstream FM tasks such as move management, maintenance scheduling, and energy analysis.
  • NBIMS Roadmap with Carrie Dossick, P.D. Koon Professor of Construction Management, Associate Dean for Research, College of Built Environments, University of Washington, John Messner, PhD, Charles and Elinor Matts Professor of Architectural Engineering, Penn State & Chair, NIBS BIM Council, and Lisa Stine, Technical Solutions Executive - Construction PlanGrid, Autodesk Construction Solutions. The NIBS BIM Council has been establishing the structure and content for the next revision of the National BIM Standard – United States (NBIMS-US).  In this session, we will present on the work to date as well as forecast the remaining work to be accomplished.
  • Modular Multifamily Housing as an Affordable Supply Strategy with Libby O'Neil, Multifamily Affordable Product Research Analyst, Fannie Mae. The high cost of developing multifamily housing is a major contributor to the affordable housing supply crisis. Modular construction, which can significantly cut hard costs, can provide a good opportunity for cost savings in the building process. With this potential for cost savings and shorter construction timelines, modular multifamily construction can be part of the strategy to address the affordable housing supply crisis currently taking place in the U.S.

Sponsoring the Technology track of BI2020 is Dell Technologies. The International Code Council is the overall presenting conference sponsor.

BI2020 is open to all within the built environment and features a “pay what you can” registration fee. Registration fees will be used to support the cost of the technology, and the NIBS 501(c)3 non-profit mission to serve the public interest by advancing building science and technology to improve the built environment. Register today!

Want to learn more? We’ll break down the Workforce sessions on the BI2020 agenda in our next post. Follow us on social media! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

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BI2020 Resilience: Zero Energy, Housing Affordability and Resilience in a Hospital

Posted By Christine Cube, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

We’re about a month out from Building Innovation 2020: Virtual Edition.

This virtual meeting will be like no other event that we’ve produced. We will bring to you two days of the best information around building technology, resilience, and workforce on August 18-19. BI2020 attendees also will be able to earn up to eight AIA-approved CES/HSW credits for full conference attendance.

Here is the Resilience session lineup:

BI2020 Resilience Track
  •  Zero Energy on a Shoe-String Budget with Marc Clinch, Chief Facilities Officer with the School District of Osceola County in Florida, and Philip Donovan, AIA, Project Architect on NeoCity Academy, and Principal, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. This presentation will cover lessons learned on a case study of Florida's first zero-energy school, which is expected to save the school district of Osceola County, Florida more than $115,000 annually on energy. Attendees will take away many lessons, including how to champion a zero-energy project effort by leading stakeholders through early key goal-setting exercises, how to choose the right A/E and construction teams, and how and when to utilize energy models and trade-off methodologies for decision-making.
  •  Convergence of Design and Resilience in a Hospital for the Future + Minimally Invasive Laboratories with Judy Ou, Associate Principal, Perkins Eastman Architects, Robin Whitehurst, Technical Principal, Bailey Edward Design, Inc., and Carlos L. Amato, Principal, CannonDesign. The design of the New Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California, sets new standards reflecting state-of-the-art resiliency elements. These elements include cutting-edge architecture, a 40,000 SF rooftop garden, LEED Silver-equivalent sustainability features, patient-centric design details, and hospitality-infused furnishings. This dream project grew to reality with an IPD Big Room strategy as the client, executive/design architect, medical planner, and general contractor co-located onsite using BIM to collaborate on this development.
  •  How We See Now with Billie Faircloth, Partner, KieranTimberlake. Faircloth leads transdisciplinary research, design, and problem-solving processes across fields including environmental management, urban ecology, chemical physics, materials science, and architecture. In this session, Faircloth will discuss resilience through the daily actions and diverse projects of KieranTimberlake.
  •  How to Pay for Mitigation with Kayed I. Lakhia, Director, Hazard Mitigation FEMA/DHS, Sean Kevelighan, President & CEO, Insurance Information Institute, Michael Hernandez, Vice President Housing Access, Affordable Housing Initiatives, Fannie Mae, and Carl Hedde, Principal of CGH Consulting, LLC and Chair, NIBS. The losses due to natural disasters in three of the last 15 years exceed $100 billion, and it’s getting costlier. The discussion panel will focus on how to pay for the mitigation activities through a public/private partnership. The ground-breaking white paper published by NIBS on Developing Pre-Disaster Resilience Based on Public and Private Incentivization calls for a layered cost-sharing approach among many of co-beneficiaries of resilience — owners, lenders, taxing authorities, and possibly others.
  •  Housing Affordability and Resilience with Ryan Colker, Vice President, Innovation with the International Code Council, Laurie Schoeman, Senior National Program Director, Resilience and Disaster Recovery, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., and Christopher Bourne, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Innovation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This session will examine the importance of including resilience in strategies to address housing affordability, the role of building codes in supporting resilience for low income households, and need to examine total cost of ownership/rental and life-cycle cost as a key metric for affordability.

BI2020: Virtual Edition will feature a host of sessions around resilience, technology, and workforce. It also will cover the challenges that COVID-19 brings to the built environment.

It is open to all within the built environment and features a “pay what you can” registration fee. Registration fees will be used to support the cost of the technology, and the NIBS 501(c)3 non-profit mission to serve the public interest by advancing building science and technology to improve the built environment. Register today!

Want to learn more? We’ll break down the Technology sessions on the BI2020 agenda in our next post. Stay tuned! Also, let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

Tags:  BI202  resilience 

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Women Executives in Building: Increasing Diversity Starts with Awareness

Posted By Christine Cube, Tuesday, June 30, 2020

When it comes to boosting diversity, equity and inclusion in the building industry, it will require a host of changes, starting with awareness.

Awareness comes at many levels, from minorities and young women entering the workforce seeing diversity in leadership positions, to awareness of how technology has changed women’s views and experience within the construction industry.

“It’s not the old ‘You have to lift 100 pounds’ anymore,” says Angie Simon, CEO with Western Allied Mechanical and SMACNA National President. “We need to get that word out there, so more people want to be involved. Technology has changed the industry.”

Simon joined a host of participants in the June 25 Women Executives in Building (WEB): Virtual Leadership Series. The meeting was hosted by Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of NIBS, and featured Nancy Novak, Chief Innovation Officer with Compass Datacenters.

It’s no secret the construction industry is dominated mostly by men.

WEB podium

WEB aims to help bring diversity to the field, starting with leaders at the top. These women in construction dare to confront the stereotypes that are holding women back in the built environment. It’s more important than ever to see women and diverse leaders at the top, if we’re going to reach a more diverse audience who may be considering this career path.

“We’ve said it before – it’s going to take women in this space to make change, to help this space diversify and help it grow,” Woods says.

Some of the diversity and inclusion solutions discussed during the virtual meeting:

  •  Creating incentives for companies or organizations to seek out diverse candidates
  •  Recognizing and awarding talent
  •  Showcasing success stories
  •  Working with community colleges to apply credits to built environment programs
  •  Building an online mentorship program to help employees achieve professional goals

The next Women Executives in Building virtual meeting is July 30. That discussion will be centered around balancing work and life outside of the office.

Want to learn more? Check out the whole WEB leadership series here. Also, let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.


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