By Audree Grubesic
This was the 7th year of the Advancing Prefabrication event in downtown Phoenix, AZ. I always look forward to this convention for the pure fact of meeting industry leaders, gathering and sharing information. Each track or selected study, executive focus day, and workshops lead the conversations of what has been learned. They also offered specific market focus in Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, Hospitality, Data Centers, Mission Critical, Healthcare, Multifamily and Commercial. Each segment was there to inspire us, inform us and expand our mindsets in prefabrication solutions.
Over 125 speakers shared their experience in technology, manufacturing, company problem solving, productizations and standardization. Amy Marks, VP Enterprise Transformation Practice at Autodesk, delivered inspiring opening and closing remarks for the convention.She challenged us to be better connectors, builders, and to explore new technologies. She encouraged attendees to apply more focus on advancing prefabrication not only in the United States but applications happening worldwide. Each day Amy reminded us to meet at least 5 new people each day to create more business connections.
On Tuesday, March 14th, there was an exclusive executives focus day with almost 100 people in attendance. The concentration was all about the challenges for company leadership in formulating and driving organization change. Randee Herrin, Executive Leader, Jane OSM explained, finding solutions in an area of business that is creating friction and how we can move to eliminate it. It takes time but with guidance and alignment to reinforce transformation, it is possible. There are ways to get buy-in even when things are not going well and how to identify a champion to taking your strategy (from friction) forward.
On Wednesday, March 15th and Thursday, March 16th there were seven tracks, which attendees and speakers alike, addressing better solutions for company improvements. Each category offers something different through the speaker experience, lessons learned and how to pivot into greatness.
Track 1: Owner Playbook, Programming & Project Setup
Track 2: Pre-Planning, Design & Pre-construction
Track 3: BIM, Data & Digital Workflows
Track 4: Prefabrication Facilities & Workflows
Track 5: Manufacturing & Productization
Track 6: Industrialized Construction Project & Field Management
Track 7: Structural Prefabrication & Volumetric Modular
I was lucky to have the opportunity to be a chairman of Track 7. This meant I was able to introduce eight speakers\ panels for those two days. The speakers spoke about panelized and volumetric projects. They discussed the advancements in technology, adopting better solutions for standardization processes and testing prototypes.
Our team had an opportunity to discuss the challenges of volumetric construction specifically related to the modular installation. Each member explained the challenges of setting up expectations, learning specifics roles and scope of work with structural and architectural details needed to have a successful project. Jesse Goldman of CSHQA, Troy Bean of DCI Engineering and Joshua McShanog of T&M Construction, each spoke for about 7 minutes on their experiences and challenges. Each one explained why it is so important to have a team that has the know how of the volumetric build process, installation, transportation, and sequencing modules. It was agreed by the attendees, that specific questions need to be asked in the early stages of planning for a construction project to achieve overall success of completing it.
Our team spoke at Track 7: Structural Prefabrication & Volumetric Modular
Lydia Marlow, one of the senior conference producers said, "It was so wonderful to see so many great connections being made at Advancing Prefabrication 2023. From the workshops and tours, the jam-packed expo room and the inaugural awards ceremony - the atmosphere was electric from start to finish! It was very clear to me that all of our attendees shared the same passion for revolutionizing the way we build with Industrialized Construction, and it was an honor to meet so many insightful thought leaders who are paving the way. It was also wonderful to see how many first-time attendees joined us this year, and demonstrates how the entire industry is shifting towards the Industrialized Construction revolution! I am truly excited to see how these conversations progress over the coming years and can't wait to see what the future holds for Advancing Prefabrication."
A first for Advancing Prefabrication this year was the celebrations of the Awards program. There were six categories that distinguished great leaders in the industry making advancements. The winners and categories are as follows:
Project of the Year : KBI Biopharma Manufacturing Facility
Team of the Year: Design-Build Team of the DFW Modular Concourse
Innovator of the Year: Compass Datacenters
IC Champion of the Year: Marty Corrado, Director of Industrialized Construction, Boldt Construction
D&I Champion of the Year: Mary Kelly, President & Chief Executive Officer, StrataTECH
Special Recognition: Jaimie Johnston MBE, Director, Head of Global Systems, Bryden Wood
"The Advancing Prefabrication awards were a fantastic opportunity to take all of the amazing work we see shared and presented within the conference each year and celebrate this with the wider industry. Not just on projects and by organizations either, but by the unsung heroes of the industry who are genuine innovators for their businesses, changing the way that construction will be done for years to come. I can't wait to grow this platform in the coming years, and showcase even more of the best of the best in diversity, innovation and the Industrialized Construction revolution!" said Nicole Moy, Business Unit Director of Advancing Construction.
First Annual Awards Night
I was able to bring my college daughter, Jessee Grubesic to experience this event. She has been assisting Offsite Dirt with social media management and is very interested in construction. This was her chance to attend being on spring break to come experience a real convention, listen to the conversations and learn from the best in the business.
Jessee Grubesic speaks about the event
"As a young woman attending the Advancing Prefabrication event. I was intrigued by how many people are in this industry. There are so many intelligent individuals not only sharing their business information but wanting others to succeed with them." said, Jessee. Her eyes are forever open to a new way of construction. She decided this is the direction of business she wants to pursue after graduating.
Tim Seims & Audree Grubesic give their insight of the conference
This was a jammed pack 4-day conference that never disappoints. I met up with Tim Seims, of Stealth Mode Project and Tim Seims Consulting. He was very impressed with the new technologies discussed as well as the applications for problem solving at the executive level. He was a speaker in Track 5: Manufacturing and Productization, speaking on a panel. The topic was Rethinking the Roles of Trades and Product Manufacturers in the Prefabrication Ecosystem along with Ed McCracken, MEP Director AECOM Hunt and Randee Herrin, Executive Leader, Jane OSM.
This is my 2nd year attending this conference. The relationships I have already connected with will only drive better results for my company. I'm looking forward to digging in a little deeper into the advancements of technology, new forms of standardizing volumetrics with BIM design and productization. The overall mindset carried positive influences for advancing construction. It has inspired me to be more aware, learn more and help those reaching out to start a new offsite solution. This type of construction is not only getting more awareness, more companies are building with it and having great success.
Amy Mark's closing remarks at the Advancing Prefabrication 2023, Phoenix, AZ.
"Industrialized construction has moved beyond the worlds of modular and prefabrication. It’s a scalable approach to the built environment that harnesses the power of productized manufacturing and cloud technology to sustainably reinvent the project lifecycle. Advancing Prefabrication truly showcases this mindset shift and ecosystem transformation." said Amy Marks, VP Enterprise Transformation Practice, Autodesk.