Morrissey Goodale hosted its Western States M&A, Strategy and Innovation Symposium in San Francisco, CA on June 8–9, 2022. This year’s event went beyond M&A education to include topics like:
- Converging trends that are reshaping the AE industry
- How industry-leading firms are approaching strategy and strategic planning
- Opportunities to engage with business leaders whose AE and environmental firms are trailblazing innovators
Over the course of two information-packed days, leaders from AE firms across the country came together to discuss how to advance their firms and drive growth. BST Global’s Chief Executive Officer Javier A. Baldor participated in a panel discussion titled “Innovation – from concept to market.” The panel included executives from some of the industry’s most innovative firms, who shared how they foster innovation.
- Eoin Howlett, Vice President, Digital Products, Trinnex
- Frank Joanlanne, President & CEO, Borton Lawson
- Jennifer Prescott, CIO & Head of Innovation, Kleinfelder
- Javier A. Baldor, CEO, BST Global
- Brendon Cussio (Moderator), Vice President, Morrissey Goodale
- What are the trends in utilization and profitability in the AEC industry?
- Javier A. Baldor explained that the industry has not materially changed in the way projects are managed or staffed in the last few decades. “We have an opportunity to foster a smart, data-driven consultancy and industry at large. We learned through our research that project managers and team members just don’t use ERP systems; rather, they use Excel. Why? Because today’s systems are too complicated, convoluted and only provide a rearview perspective of project health. Median firm profitability and utilization have essentially remained unchanged over the last 15 years, so there is a prize in big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence delivered in a consumer-grade experience to change that.”
- Why should firms invest now in innovation?
- Eion Howlett stated that it is just as important to invest now in innovation to keep staff as it is to keep up with the market.
- Frank Joanlanne explained that it was important to start investing in innovation 10 years ago, and it will be just as important 10 years from now.
- Where can you find engineers that are also tech savvy?
- Jennifer Prescott suggested that technologies are the same across industries, saying, “You can bring technologists to work with engineers instead of expecting engineers to also be technologists.”
- Javier A. Baldor also stated that one should start by looking right within your firm. There is so much talent right under your roof, and you just need to harness the talent and ambition of your young and emerging digital workforce. They are ready. You just need to invite and then unleash them.
- How do you get started with innovation at a firm?
- Jennifer Prescott suggested creating an internal innovation group with no agenda or prep. “Share articles and plant seeds to grow. It’s important to give this group time and attention.”
- Eion Howlett recommended finding an innovative client, and start building and learning alongside them.
- Frank Joanlanne commented that you should assess your employees. “Find someone who is interested and wants to learn. Have them build the innovation plan with you.”
- Javier A. Baldor said to just get very close to your clients and ask for meaningful and direct feedback. “Don’t just fall in love with your idea. Ask clients what they really don’t like about it. Getting critical feedback early on as to why it won’t work for them will save you a lot of time and money and deliver a strong outcome.” He also suggested to “think differently” by once again getting close to your customer to co-solve a big problem for them that is in your domain.
BST Global also had a booth at the event that conference attendees visited to learn more about our innovative ERP and Work Management solutions.
BST Global appreciates the opportunity to participate in events like Morrissey Goodale’s Western States M&A, Strategy and Innovation Symposium, and looks forward to future engagements. Check out our Events page to find out where else we’ll be — we’d love to see you at some of our sessions!