ClickCease

Capital & Contract Management

Manage contract workflows from start to finish, from contractor/supplier selection through contract closeout including the related buyouts, pay requests and change orders. With our capital and contract management solutions, you can facilitate contracts and changes throughout the project, resulting in a 20% reduction in turnaround time.

Learn More >

Connected Analytics

Make real-time decisions as you gain visibility into metrics, KPIs and trends, driving continuity in operations.

Learn More >

Document Management

Our document management solution helps you streamline the capture, review, management and distribution of project documents. Because all your project documentation is stored in a centralized repository, you can reduce processing time by 30%.

Learn More >

Estimating & Project Cost Management

Our project cost management solutions help you create more accurate and timely project estimates, increase your forecasting accuracy, and improve the anticipated project ROI.

Learn More >

Field Execution Management

Manage work packages and daily crew plans to deliver and capture predictable results in the field, reducing project costs 10%.

Learn More >

Integrated Project Controls Platform

Only InEight provides a complete portfolio of capital project management software that supports enterprise-wide digital transformation.

Learn More >

Safety, Quality & Commissioning

Capture and analyze safety, compliance and quality data directly from the field, reducing rework by 10%.

Learn More >

Virtual Design & Construction

Use an aggregated 3D model as a common data environment, increasing clash resolution efficiency by more than 200%

Learn More >

The Infrastructure Act: How To Navigate the Technology Opportunity

 

Originally aired on 05/24/2022

48 Minute Watch Time

REQUEST A DEMO

Thanks for contacting us. A member of our team will follow up with you shortly.

Tad Bungener:

Good afternoon and welcome to InEight’s industry panel on the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act and how we as an industry can navigate this technology opportunity. I could not be more honored or privileged to bring this esteemed group of industry leaders to you in this panel today. At InEight, our mission is to enable more predictable outcomes by transforming the way the world builds. From concept to construction, to operations, we ensure project stakeholders have all the information they need, when and where they need it, improving decision making and improving outcomes. By closely partnering with our clients, we bring expertise, proven best practices and leading technology to bear, to address their most pressing challenges and opportunities.

Tad Bungener:

And with this panel today, I’d like to dive into some of those opportunities and challenges the industry face inside the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, especially within some of the current macroeconomic dynamics and then discuss the role of technology in addressing these challenges. Lastly, given time, I’ll ask the panel to share some thoughts on how and when to embrace change. With that, we have a lot to cover so let me quickly touch on some housekeeping items.

Tad Bungener:

If you’re not muted, please mute yourselves now. If you’d like to chat with us or ask our panel questions, you’ll find those features on the right hand side of the screen and we’ll follow up after today’s session. Then at the end of the presentation, I’ll put up a QR code for a survey. I greatly appreciate you taking a couple minutes to take our survey and let us know how we did. Thank you. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to today’s panel of speakers, starting with transportation chief executive at AECOM, Jennifer Oman. If you don’t mind, introducing yourself to the audience, describe your role at AECOM and how that interfaces with the IIJA and technology.

Jennifer Aument:

Sure. Thank you, Tad. It’s great to be here with lots of friends in the industry to talk about just sort of this transformational moment we’re in. I am AECOM’s global chief for transportation and responsible for our transportation business across six continents and about 15,000 employees. And of course in our US market, IIJA, the bipartisan and infrastructure law is what we’ve talked to clients about all day long in our role as an advisor, as a designer, as a program manager, as a constructor and as a partner to our clients. It’s a big, big part of our business as you would suspect at this moment at this time.

Tad Bungener:

Thank you, Jennifer. Next, former CEO and current executive chairman of Kiewit, Bruce Grewcock. If you don’t mind introducing yourself, Bruce to the audience and describe your recent and current roles at Kiewit and perhaps describe your perspective on the opportunity that lies within the IIJA.

Bruce Grewcock:

Yeah, thank you, Tad. Currently executive chairman of the board. I stepped down about two years ago or so after about a 16 year run as a CEO. I’ve been with Kiewit since 1982, so I’ve been around a long time, seen a lot of different things but again, part of Kiewit’s digital transformation here that started maybe a dozen years ago or so. But this infrastructure bill is going to kind a little bit add fuel to the fire. We are seeing a lot of busy markets but this is going to be an important thing in the country. We just had a Kiewit board meeting last Friday and talked about all of the large complex jobs that are out there to pursue. And so this is going to be a game changer and I think put a lot of stress on the industry to be able to figure out how to provide the services to our clients in cost effective and schedule effective ways. And so it is a big deal and a big challenge for the industry, albeit I think as we all know, an absolutely necessary part of our country rebuilding our infrastructure.

Tad Bungener:

Thank you for joining us, Bruce. Next, America’s infrastructure leader at Ernst and Young, Mike Parker. Mike, please introduce yourself to the audience, your current role at Ernst and Young and share your perspective if you would, on the IIJA.

Mike Parker:

Great thanks, Tad. And it’s great to be here with Jennifer and Bruce and Jake and yourself and our audience to discuss this. It’s an exciting time to be in infrastructure. I think if there was a word, kind of keyword search kind of thing, that infrastructure used to be down here, it’s big and in the center now. And I think for as far as the IIJA goes, CBO estimated that only 20 to $30 billion of the incremental $550 billion new spend would happen within this first year. And so the wave is really coming and I think that’s one of the exciting things about our conversation today.

Mike Parker:

Within EY, we’ve taken steps to really think across industry and to understand infrastructure now is not just a government or private equity investment or construction industry but really encompassing telecom, power and utilities, midstream and then all of the different types of industries that connect to those. And so by seeing our professionals closer together and really thinking across the entire lifecycle of infrastructure funding to enhance delivery and to the trusted organization systems that must operate and deliver it, we’ve really been building a community of people who are passionate about working at it and I think are matching increasingly the kind of convergence that we’re seeing across the industry. Again, look forward to the discussion and thanks for having me.

Tad Bungener:

Thanks for joining, Mike. Now, our final panelist, chief executive officer at InEight, Jake Macholtz. Jake, please introduce yourself, describing your role at inEight and what the infrastructure act and this technology opportunity means to you.

Jake Macholtz:

You bet. Thanks, Tad. I appreciate the introduction here. Jake Macholtz, CEO here at InEight. Been in the industry for 22 years, 12 of them on the construction side of the business and then the last 10, either managing the Kiewit digital transformation or now here with InEight, managing both our product and our go to market. The infrastructure bill is just a lot of opportunities. There’s so many efficiencies that can be gained. Resources are so scarce out there. I think it’s really going to drive new people into our industry because it’s a great industry to be in, great kind of work and very fulfilling, with better digital processes out there, I think will be just a fabulous match. This will be really need is really going to drive our ability to enhance with technology wrapped around it. I appreciate being here and definitely looking forward to this discussion. We’ve discussed these kind of topics all the time with our customer base so appreciate being here.

Tad Bungener:

Thanks, Jake. And thanks to all of you for joining us today. My name is Tad Bungener. I’m the executive vice president of marketing and go to market strategies at InEight and I’ll be moderating this discussion. Got lots of topics to get through so let’s just dive right in. Mike, starting with you in your position at America’s infrastructure leader, Ernst and Young, you’re regularly engaging with infrastructure stakeholders across the industry. There’s a lot of hype and buzz around this $1.2 trillion bill signed in November. Can you provide some insight into where it stands seven months after signing, how it’s getting rolled out and how organizations can put themselves in the best position to leverage funds as they become available?

Mike Parker:

Sure. Look, as you said, $1.2 trillion and 1,200 pages so kind of do the math and we haven’t even gotten to the regulations that are developed around that. There’s a lot in the bill, both in the $550 billion incremental new as well as in the baseline and in our sector historically, especially in transportation, we’d had multi-year bills and then we’d gotten to a phase where we weren’t having that kind of funding certainty. And so the bill in addition to its scale, also provides this five year path to really think differently and to begin to plan projects. On the other hand, as big as it is and as much change it’s going to bring for a number of pockets of the industry I’m going to talk about, it also, for some corridors like transportation as costs go up, and as you think about all of the different funding sources from federal, to state, local and private that come in, the bill is in some areas might only be an incremental 10 or 20% extra funding into transportation, say.

Mike Parker:

And so from that, the real effectiveness will come as it catalyzes additional follow on spend, matching spend, private investment that comes along with it. And I think the bill is well designed to achieve that. We’re at a point now where, just about a 180 days since passage, agencies are adopting regulations, block funding is starting to move. We’re starting to see grant application, notice of funding availabilities come. And I think there’s a few types of organizations that we should think about. There’s those like broadband offices or otherwise that are really scaling as they think about what is a very significant change between IIJA and then before that some of the funding that came through recent stimulus packages also. On the other hand, you’ve got some organizations like DOTs that are very familiar with managing federal funds but there’s new programs and new flexibilities. And then you’ve got entities like utilities and communications owners, all of whom are clients of ours and are thinking about how to manage this and how to work across programs and how to collaborate more.

Mike Parker:

I think we’re just getting started but what’s here is very significant and I think want to as the conversation gets going today, we can dive into a bit more about how all of these different parties have to start working together now in new ways, in order to be able to deliver on that promise. And so I think some of our conversation on digital tools and on productivity. I guess the last thing to note is most of these organizations, they’re not focused on how do we cut. A lot of organizations are lean. They may be even leaner than they hoped to be coming out of COVID. And so really we’re at a point where the question is, how do we be productive and deliver on the promise that is here versus being in a mode of how do we reign in sort of organizational size? I think it’s a new time and I think when we’re talking about digital tools, we’re really talking about how do we allow people to be more productive and effective in their work?

Tad Bungener:

Thank you for laying that out, Mike. That’s very helpful. Jennifer, over to you. As the chief of transportation across global engineering giant AECOM, you and the 15,000 employees you lead are deeply engaged with public and private sector around transportation programs and projects. Can you share with the audience your perspective and maybe adding a little bit more to what Mike described around the magnitude of the opportunity that represents and then lay out perhaps the three biggest challenges your clients are facing today?

Jennifer Aument:

Sure, sure, sure. I think for us to simplify the era that we are privileged to be working in transportation, this is the biggest spend in the US since we constructed the interstate highway system. And we can talk about, that’s a controversial thing to say, it was intended to connect and it did in many ways and it did provide a division in communities in other ways but it was known by all accounts, a transformational moment for transportation in this country. And we are there again. Be careful what you ask for as an industry. We could have done this panel and I think Mike and I have probably done a dozen of these panels in the last three years where we’re talking about funding and what the prospect would be and how we would change our country as an industry if only we had the moment, if only we had the funding, if only we had this catalyst to be able to do the innovative, brilliant, creative things that we know people in the transportation industry do.

Jennifer Aument:

And guess what? We’re here and there is a massive, massive expectation for our clients and partners and for all of us. And I think our team is feeling that and certainly our partners at transit agencies, state, local government are certainly feeling that and our partners at the federal level. I compare what USDOT is trying to do right now, to changing the tire on a race car as it’s going down the highway and you don’t have the full pit crew in place to do it. I heard Mitchell Andrews say the other day there, the federal government is short about 8,000 employees they need to implement this. And all of us on the screen are short the employees we need to implement this. And policies are coming out and regulations are rolling out as the days and weeks and months go on and so it’s quite a moment of volatility in terms of looking at this bill.

Jennifer Aument:

And what we’re seeing from our clients across the country and I can just kind of put them in two categories. You have clients that are experienced with maneuvering through the federal government, who are those clients across the country who have used tools like New Starts and TIFIA and private activity bonds and small starts and they’ve become pros over the years at maneuvering through this federal landscape. And that’s LA Metro, it’s Virginia, it’s Texas, it’s the city of Dallas. They have a headstart in and understanding the magnitude and complexity that comes with advancing major projects or portfolios in partnership with the federal government.

Jennifer Aument:

We have other clients on the other hand that they are more formula fund type clients and they don’t have that experience but the moment is opened up for them to perhaps use more tools than they’ve used in the past. And across that board, there’s some commonalities, I think one is, most of them have gotten a headstart, started their processes, started looking at project prioritization. They’re not starting from a standing start. However, the details matter. And so it feels like a standing start because even though they’re anticipating they were and watched this bill develop, they’re still waiting on the details. And so that’s again, driving down the highway, trying to move forward but trying to change the tires at the same time and trying to figure out from where the GPS is going to head you and how you can put on your best path. I think we’re seeing that with clients.

Jennifer Aument:

And with this massive expectation for all of us and that goes with shareholders for companies like us, that are represented here. Goes with customers, transportation customers, across the country, communities, policymakers. The expectations are very, very high for this bill and as we’re going to talk a lot about during this session, we have some headwinds working against us in meeting those expectations. Workforce challenges, the volatility I described in connecting the local priorities with changing federal landscape, inflation. We had a client say the other day, “I think that inflation’s going to eat up all of this discretionary funding. I’m going to be back to where I was with baseline authorization.” And certainly market capacity in the industry in terms of do we have enough companies and capacity in the construction and design program management industry to be able to meet this moment and deliver what’s going to happen?

Jennifer Aument:

And so I think the onus is on all of us to bring our very best to this moment, to help close the gap between expectations and what we can perhaps deliver against all these challenges and be able to realize this interstate highway equivalent moment and digital tools are going to be a big part of that, value engineering is going to be a big part of that. Innovation’s going to be a big part of that. Changing procurement models, which I want to talk about, I’m sure we can talk to about on this discussion. Better engagement with the community. We’re going to have to step up to be able to meet this expectation in a digital strategy for all of us and for our industry is a big part of meeting that expectation.

Tad Bungener:

Perfect. Thank you, Jennifer. Speaking of digital strategies, Bruce, having served long time as an executive leader of Kiewit, one of the most respected, successful and largest engineering construction firms in North America, you’re among the best at turning challenges into opportunities. And with over a $100 billion earmarked in the IIJA for the adoption of advanced construction management technologies, what do you see as the biggest opportunity ahead for contractors like Kiewit and their clients?

Bruce Grewcock:

Yeah. Maybe I’ll start with from the client perspective and I think clients and whether it be in the inflation issue but I think clients are desperate for predictable outcomes, predictable in terms of both the cost side of things and the schedule things. And unfortunately I’ve been in the industry long enough to see how in the past, big programs and whatnot have gone off the track both cost and schedule wise and everybody wants to talk about the Big Dig and circa in the 1990s and whatnot. I can’t imagine a world of how we would tackle this opportunity and challenge we have with all this money that’s being thrown out on projects are going to be big in scope, more complex technically and how to hopefully drive innovation, if we didn’t have a digital platform to work it off of.

Bruce Grewcock:

And we started down this path a dozen years ago and have now the tools in place to where we can make sure that we can tell our clients with a lot of confidence, “Hey, this is what we think the thing is going to cost.” We have access to all this data that gives certainty around on the cost side of things. And at the same time, also certainty around the schedule. I can’t imagine. The opportunity for contractors is to embrace some of these digital tools with the hope not only to provide certainty for themselves in terms of what a project’s going to cost and what the schedule’s going to be but also importantly, our clients. Let’s not go down the path of, and again, back to the Big Dig of where a project that starts at a few billion dollars, ends up at 14. We can’t do that as an industry.

Bruce Grewcock:

We can be smarter. And I think these digital tools that are available now and obviously InEight has, are a key part of that to provide that certainty to our clients and the certainty to ourself. And so hopefully the industry will embrace some of these sorts of tools and figure out how do we provide that better level of certainty to our clients? Because if you look across the landscape, even outside of the infrastructure world of how major projects and major things kind of blown up for a variety of reasons. That’s not good for anybody. And so I just think that if we as an industry embrace these digital tools, it’s going to provide certainty and maybe sometimes the client may not like the price, maybe with the inflation issue they’re not going to like it, but also it provides us with the digital tools, opportunity to do some optimization on the design side with driving innovation and some true value engineering sorts of ideas quickly to come to maybe better answers that address the client’s needs but at the same time can do it in a cost effective and schedule effective way.

Bruce Grewcock:

I just hope that folks embrace it. We have this great opportunity. Jennifer, you said, once a lifetime for this in the interstate highway days, let’s not screw it up. And unfortunately there’s examples in other industries like when the sort of embracing the nuclear power a few years ago and unfortunately that’s kind of gone by the wayside as well because the costs and the schedule kind of blew up. Anyway, I just hope as an industry, we can come together with ourselves, our engineering partners, the clients and other stakeholders and let’s figure out some ways to drive some certainty into this and get the highest value we can for these precious federal dollars and other dollars that are being spent.

Tad Bungener:

Thank you, Bruce. Jake, why don’t you pull the thread a little bit more on that with regards to the digital tools and the opportunities it could afford contractors, engineers and owners during this time of increased funding and then the resulting backlog of work.

Jake Macholtz:

Yeah. I think Bruce hit it right on the head. When we talk to clients, whether they’re contractors, owners or engineers, 50% of them say that their projects generally finish on time and on budget. And most of what that is from is because you don’t use repeatable processes from one project to the next. You’ve got somebody’s best practice on one job, you’re relying on some heavy experience on the next project and the industry just frankly, doesn’t have the amount of experience that it used to have in it. And so we’ve got to make sure that we digitize these processes, hand them down to the future leaders of this particular industry so that they can create their own digital processes and their own repeatable processes to get us out of 50% of jobs are over budget and over schedule.

Tad Bungener:

Thanks. Thanks for that, Jake. Many are aware, I’m pointing to this time as a very unique funding opportunity to move the needle and digitize business processes to remain both competitive and successfully deliver on projects in the face of supply shortages, skyrocketing material costs, growing labor concerns but with organizations already constrained, where and how do you take the plunge? Bruce, to you. Within a construction industry, you were an early leader going all in on becoming a data driven company in 2012. That kicked off the resulting digital transformation at Kiewit. Do you see commonality between what drove your early move to transform and what owners, engineers and contractors face today?

Bruce Grewcock:

Well, we certainly had a system where our tried and true homegrown systems at the time were just quite frankly, out of date. Data was compartmentalized and siloed up. We weren’t able to share it across. To Jake’s comment about getting access across all of our experience to drive maybe better solutions to a particular problem. The data when we started a dozen years ago or so was all very, very siloed up and not accessible in ways. And so we sort of could see that the future could be well, what if we would’ve created what I called one version of the truth. I put a piece of data in and it goes to where it needs to go and then it’s accessible across all the different platforms and we could then use the data. And again, so we’ve been able to and we’ve developed our tools now have this enormous database that we’re able to draw from. And as we chase whatever particular kind of project it is, draw the relevant data from our database.

Bruce Grewcock:

And it makes informed judgements about, hey, what this project going to cost or how long this activity ought to take. But absent sort of of the access to that data, you’re kind of flying blind and the data is so compartmentalized. And I remember early on in our journey, looking at a report by McKinsey consulting firm and talking about rank ordering industry by their adoption of technology and digital tools and of the 24 industries that McKinsey ranked, guess we’re engineering and construction stood? We were dead last. Now, I certainly don’t think our firm is there and I’m quite sure as well, that AECOM is not. But I think across the landscape of contractors and engineers, there is a need to really embrace moving into the digital world.

Bruce Grewcock:

The benefits are enormous. It’s hard work but the benefits are enormous. Again, with the end in mind of being able to provide more certainty for yourself about the outcome of a project, as well as certainty for your client about what the outcome of a project’s going to be. And so I urge people, it’s a heavy lift but embrace it because it’s well worth it. And Jennifer, I’m sure at your firm you folks have seen some of the benefits of being able to get access to information, use it to make better decisions.

Jennifer Aument:

Yeah. I think about Bruce, how our digital transformation has changed how we develop and deliver major complex infrastructure projects. And so like Kiewit, our colleagues, we love the big messy stuff. We love Southeastern Connector, which won’t be messy, just big. We love JFK Terminal 1, we love Eastside Access, a 160 feet underneath Park Avenue. Those are the kind of complex programs that really energize our team and we’ve changed how we look at every stage of those projects because of the digital tools that we have and the strategic digital partners that we’ve put in place. You take for a couple of examples right now, and this is really aligns Tad with what we’re talking around, the social outcomes of IIJA.

Jennifer Aument:

We have a tool called PlanSpend where we actually sit down with clients at this stage and say, “Okay, let’s look at funding availability. You can put your projects and we will use this digital tool with AI to be able to match your projects with funding opportunities and be able to get you the data to be able to have in real time, what impact these projects would have in connecting underserved communities in your meeting your decarbonization agenda.” And you have sort of digital tools, driving better decision making in how you prioritize your projects, in how you actually compete and win federal funding that you ought to be bringing to your community.

Jennifer Aument:

Then you move to the next stage. And I hate to talk about NEPA with this crowd, little shiver. But we’ve all been working through the environmental process in our careers for a long time in the US and we’ve got digital tools now that will help create a transition, that static NEPA document, into an actual digital interactive tool to create more meaningful engagement with the community, to again, ensure these big complex projects are closely aligned to community outcomes, to economic and mobility outcomes and it can better facilitate genuine engagement, which we all know in our business, on big complex projects that meaningful engagement with communities reduces risks. It helps you keep the project on schedule. It helps you keep the project on budget. By having that meaningful engagement, you are able to meet those long held goals of being able to deliver projects successfully.

Jennifer Aument:

And then we move into the actual delivery stage where we’re part of these complex teams delivering these big mega projects and that’s where we bring in tools like InEight. We have a great partnership with InEight where we’re looking at every aspect of the project and we’re looking at a whole spectrum of outcomes again on budget, on time, the social outcomes, the carbon reduction goals we have on all of our projects. How do we look at all of that in a broader program tool that enables often communications and management of the whole program across multiple outcomes. Really the digital tools transforming every stage of major project development and it should be. We’ve gone from delivering to guardrails, to delivering literally flying cars with advanced aviation now. The way we deliver projects needs to have as dramatic a transition and we’re happy to be there.

Tad Bungener:

Thank you both for that. Mike, over to you, anything you’d like to add on what project stakeholders should be taking full advantage of this opportunity right now?

Mike Parker:

No, absolutely. I think I’d like to build a little bit on what Jennifer and Bruce were just saying. A few observations and first of all, from our standpoint, having grown up myself working on how to fund and deliver, put together probably private partnerships for among the largest and most complex projects, it’s been very rewarding to get to work with the full breadth and scale of our firm, from our consulting to our assurance, transparency, our risk sides to think about the full breadth of what’s needed to successfully deliver infrastructure programs. And I think when it comes to technology, one of the things that we see also right now that we’re not in a moment where organizations can shut down and go through a couple year reorg or transformation journey. And I think we’ve all lived through that at different large scales.

Mike Parker:

And some of those things that are very exciting is that some of the heavy lifting has been done in terms of these tools now being deployed in the field and being used at organizations like Kiewit and AECOM that have been tested. But also, I think they’re modular, there’s opportunities to work at a project level and to get all of the stakeholders on a project on the same platform, as well as to then be able to expand across an organization. And so I think from our standpoint, that’s something where we feel like the change management, the technology implementation, the sort of operating systems for projects needs to change. It can be done so incrementally but really as we move here, I think the other thing that we’re seeing very much is that increasingly especially a time of changing costs and of different shortages within the industry, from workforce, to otherwise and a desire for significant community engagement and for development of small business contractors that again, having a common operating system for a project, whether it’s to allow for collaborative contracting, it’s to allow for different stakeholders to participate, very important.

Mike Parker:

And for us, when we’re asked to help deliver the single source of truth as to what’s actually happening, that’s essential as well. And so you can’t really have these discussions of how different contracting models, even if owners and enterprises and contractors aren’t on the same page. And so I think that to me, is where we see and I’ve been very excited to get to bring the full breadth of our capabilities, including on how do you fund and finance them but really how do you set up these offices? And I guess just the last thing to notice is sort of seeing at a project CEO concept level or program CEO and we’re seeing different offices and individuals be vested with unique responsibility for generational projects, for ones that have outcomes, as Jennifer said, that needs to be measurable and to work on a number of levels but then also state broadband office, state EV, infrastructure coordinator.

Mike Parker:

The National Governors Association has been doing a nice job at getting all of those different kind of office and peers together. But what are the operating systems? How do you have transparency into what you’re seeing and what you’re doing? How do you report out to the public, your stakeholders and to yourself to make sure you’re making progress once you’ve got that prioritized list? And so I think at each of these levels, those are places where we’re bringing tools and we’re really excited to see the industry advancing its ability to leverage data and to pull it together.

Bruce Grewcock:

Hey Tad, I might just add to what Mike said about transparent, say at the project level. The ability, if the client, the contractor, the subs, suppliers, everybody’s working off the same sort of digital platform, they’re getting this one version of the truth and they’re getting it in near real time. And one of the enemy of successful project delivery is lag time, is either information that gets skewed in one way or another, information that’s late in coming to the decision makers. And so anything you can do to remove those sort of obstacles to where the people see the important information in real time and we’re all talking off of the same issue, it promotes collaboration that says, “How do we fix this problem?”

Bruce Grewcock:

Because we all know in any large complex project, there will be rocks in the road. But to the extent that we all have good timely information it just improves that decision making process and so we certainly see when our clients and our subs and our engineers and everybody is all working together because they’ve got the same information, the quality of the outcome is dramatically better. And so I think the digital you need in order to do that though, you’ve got to have a digital platform for everybody to be working off of.

Jennifer Aument:

Yeah. I tell you, Bruce, I love that how Mike, you and Mike have connected that with procurement models as well in terms of changing complexity. I think in this IIJA environment, all of us are on the owner side and on the I guess the buyer side and the seller side, have to get better on how we deliver major projects. And that starts with the procurement. AECOM, we’ve had a great success in the Australian market, in the UK market and looking at models like alliance contracting, where we can really, we have limited resources to deliver on this big agenda. And through alliance contracting, you better align players. We have multiple organizations all focused on the same goal. You create flexibility that really optimizes your workforce by taking the PM across the board from the organization. No matter where that organization is, you bring the best person to the job to be able to make sure you’re getting the most out of the resources that you have.

Jennifer Aument:

And you have a team of contractors and an owner that have a balanced risk profile and that also have the flexibility to manage changing project environments, like the very volatile environment that we’re in right now with increasing prices and other dynamics. And so to enable a more complex and I think more flexible procurement model, which I believe is critical during this time, then digital tools can go a long way in making those procurement models work and making sure that we’re getting what we hope to out of a more flexible and more, I think, appropriate procurement model for what we’re facing for a lot of these big complex projects.

Tad Bungener:

That’s fantastic. Understanding and seeing that we’re all bullish and agree technology certainly has a place in driving solutions and success against the challenges faced, procurement models, labor shortages, material costs, let’s help the audience with some experiences around fail proofing some of the adoption of digital technologies. De-risking some of those projects. And maybe starting with you, Bruce, how ultimately did you go about creating a digital culture at Kiewit? Maybe talk to any governance you put in place, especially in the face of other competing internal priorities and like today, the competing macroeconomic constraints that we see.

Bruce Grewcock:

Well, I think when I think back on it, our systems that we used were homegrown from the both estimating project control, they were siloed up and quite frankly, they were wildly out of date and we had some failures of trying to develop some new stuff. And so it was new tech, new software packages, whatnot. We had to kind of, we were living in the dark ages, if you will, in so many different ways. We needed a company wide ERP. And so it was in a way was kind of almost an easy decision to move forward because what we had was so broke and so out of date, in a way it was kind of an easy decision but I will tell you, it took a lot of top down driven stuff. There is an enormous amount of inertia within any organization to adopt anything new in the technology and the digital space world.

Bruce Grewcock:

It took a lot of top down personal cajoling on my part, if you will. But we created a governance structure of our senior executives that bought in and said, “Here’s how we’re going to drive this thing.” As we created the tools themselves, we brought in experts from the construction side, people who had been there, done that. People who had estimated work a lot, people who had run projects. Jake Macholtz was an experienced project manager. And the IT folks, well, God bless him, they’ll figure out the coding stuff but the what and how it was supposed to work, we needed to have our senior operations people drive it. We created a whole structure of those folks. It was painful pulling folks in from the field and say, “Okay, you’re going to spend your life helping us design this,” but who better to do it?

Bruce Grewcock:

Been there, done it. You understand what you really need to drive success and estimating and all the project control features. And we had governance at a senior senior level in the company to oversee that. We seemed like we met every few weeks to check on progress. It was some bumps in the road and there was times when it felt that, could we stop? But I said, “Well, we burned the lifeboats. And so guess what? We just have to go ahead.” And really, I think the further we got along with it and started to understand what the vision was about, hey, here’s, what’s possible to drive better efficiency. Certainly the tool that adopted are making a tool with adopted are making our world much more efficient. We restructured our accounting functions, drove processes out, leaned the processes.

Bruce Grewcock:

It drove a lot of efficiency. Plus we also created a platform where we could mine this data that we had previous, we had no ability to mine the data that we were generating to produce better estimates, better outcomes. Today, we have it. We’ve created some really, really powerful tools that really allow us, I think, to be way smarter about our business and let us drive better decision making. And I challenged the organization a number of years ago, let’s be the best data driven organization out there. Take a little of the emotion out of this business and we’re starting to get there. I’ve just, as a matter of fact, just over the lunch hour talking about with some of our folks about some new things I was unaware of but they’re starting to think about the possibility. And I say we have just scratched the surface about what’s possible for us to really get access to our data, but absent if we hadn’t gone through all the pain and structured it and have it in a way where we can get at it now, we wouldn’t be able to do these sorts of things.

Jennifer Aument:

Bruce, I love you talking about the champions being the people in the field and the people that have sort of a depth of experience in this industry. We found, as we’re trying to unlock the full potential of parametric design, computational design, while we have 2,000 digital professionals around the world, our best champion for that transition is our best complex bridge engineer. It is, how do you bring people with that rich experience in the business to be able to drive this transition and not be a victim of it, but to be there and drive it and help to realize it. And that’s why I think we love InEight because InEight is created based on the feedback of people that do these kinds of jobs all the time. It’s not disconnected from the professionals who know about the complexities of running big, big programs and what you actually face in the field from day to day.

Tad Bungener:

Great, great input there. Unfortunately, we’re just running through time here. This is a fun discussion so we’re going to get into some final thoughts, starting with you, Jake. You’ve been exposed to a lot of customer constraints, challenges and opportunities to transform across diverse field of contractors, designers and owners. Is there one piece of advice that you’d leave the audience with when they’re prompted with a big opportunity or challenge that requires significant change?

Jake Macholtz:

Yeah, I would echo what Bruce had said. The two key pieces, when you’re going through one of these digital transformations, there’s so many things you need to do but the number one is have a vision for what you want to get accomplished. Bruce mentioned, we wanted the company become data driven organization and so everything rallied around that. We were making sure that we were capturing the right data in the field. We were able to report on it and now we can predict off of it. And I think that that is a great place to be in.

Jake Macholtz:

And then the other thing that you can certainly see Bruce has passion about is executive leadership in order to drive the change in the organization is the key ingredient. I really don’t think we would’ve been able to make our way through it because there was definitely challenges and bumps in the road. But at the other side, like you talked about, 12 years from when we got first started and described the tools as broken, boy there’s not a person that I think out there in the Kiewit organization that wouldn’t say much better for it. We’ve got a digitized process, repeatable process and we’re much, much more capable to deliver on projects consistently every single time, on time, on budget.

Tad Bungener:

Jennifer, to you. Facing this big opportunity and need to future ready infrastructure, as you’ve said. What is the single biggest area of focus from a technology perspective you’d like to see the industry work together on solving?

Jennifer Aument:

Oh gosh, the single, how do I pick a single.

Tad Bungener:

Or a couple.

Jennifer Aument:

I think that I’m a transportation person through and through like some of us on the call here. And I think that data and if we look at machine learning and AI and data, can help transform how we travel. And we can help customers make better decisions, we can help shape better projects that actually get a better mobility outcome. And not just mobility outcome, the kind of digital tools we talked about today, it’s about how do you have faster, more reliable travel in every mode? Whether that means advanced aviation this in the sky or whether that means higher speed rail or whether that means improved and faster, more reliable and safer roadway transport. Data is unlocking opportunities for us to shape that. And that’s really exciting and that’s our core mission.

Jennifer Aument:

And we want to get people from one place and people get from goods and people from one place or another, in a safe and efficient and modern way. But to be able to use that data at the same time, to be able to measure and hold ourselves account for the impact that we can have in the industry, reducing carbon, being able to use transportation for the powerful force that it is to connect communities and data enables us to meet those outcomes and really measure the impact that we can have in the industry in helping to make this a better world in the future. I think that’s the most exciting opportunity that I see in front of us.

Tad Bungener:

Final remark and question to you, Bruce, Kiewit’s structured as an employee owned business, affording it a unique disposition and perspective when pursuing large macro opportunities and the challenges that follow. The firm could think long term and make generational decisions. As you look back at the generational kind of decision undertaken with Kiewit’s digital transformation in 2012 and forward to this opportunity represented by the IIJA, what words would you impart on the audience as they consider future proofing their operations programs and assets?

Bruce Grewcock:

Well, I would say along the way, I guess my advice to those who have not begun that journey yet on the digital transformation, talk to Jake and the InEight folks because we made about every mistake possible along the way. The good news is, in terms of change management challenges and whatnot, we’ve kind of learned the hard way along the way. And so I would tell you if you’re thinking about it, look at the tools. The tools themselves are the kind of the easy part in a way, but getting people to adopt and then to start to really embrace the tools that change management, you will always run into a group of folks that say, “Hey, what we’ve got is just fine, why do we want to change?” But I would encourage you to talk to Jake and the team at InEight.

Bruce Grewcock:

We made every mistake out there. And interestingly though, we’re a pretty young company. We hire lots of young folks every year. The younger folks in the organization, I think almost now that we’re hiring, expect us to have high quality software and high quality digital tools to use. I think if you’re going to hire the best and brightest coming out of schools or others, they’re not going to want to work for somebody who’s still kind of stuck in spreadsheet land and in paper timecards, if you will. I think there’s a lot of reasons to adopt it. And as I tell other folks, the digital wave, it’s here, it’s coming, it’s going to get better and the opportunities are huge. And so you got to get started at some point. And what are you waiting for? Because if not now, when do you get going? Because is it going to get easier two or three years from now? Probably not. But so I’d say if not now, when?

Tad Bungener:

Great, great closing words, Bruce. That’s perfect. Unfortunately, we’re up against time. What an amazing discussion we’ve had today. Many more topics to explore. If you’re interested in hearing more from any of our panelists on these topics or others, let us know in the survey here, which will be prompted up here. It’s a QR code. Before we close, I’d like to say, thank you again to our panelists, Jennifer Aument, Bruce Grewcock, Mike Parker and Jake Macholtz. And lastly, thank you for attending our industry panel on the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, navigating this technology opportunity. If you’d like to share this webinar with colleagues or friends, a link to the recording will be sent out shortly or check out ineight.com for the latest information on the most advanced, integrated, interoperable and modular project controls platform, trusted to deliver proven project certainty on over $1 trillion in capital programs and projects around the world. I am Tad Bungener and on behalf of all of us at InEight, thank you and good day.