Wednesday July 8, 2020

The greatest obstacle we face is climate change.

‘Technology and digitization are at the core of successful firms’ responses‘ says Danielle Dy Buncio Co-Founder and CEO of VIATechnik

23rd June, 2020

What's your name?

Danielle Dy Buncio

What’s your current job?

I am the Co-Founder and CEO of VIATechnik, a virtual design & construction consulting and implementation firm focused on digitizing the design, construction, and operations of buildings and infrastructure.

How long have you held the position?

I founded VIATechnik 8 years ago with my husband Anton Dy Buncio, our COO. Time flies!

Can you describe your daily work routine?

My daily work routine always starts with a cup of coffee! It is a ritual that signals I am ready to make the most of my day and hit the ground running.

My day is often jampacked with meetings. But I have gotten much more deliberate about how I am spending time in these meetings. If something can be a 15-minute conversation, I am not afraid to send a calendar request for just 15 minutes. And I’m disciplined about saving the last 5-10 minutes for action items and next steps.

With my role as CEO, I am focused primarily on 3 aspects of our company – strategy, talent, and growth. So, as I plan my day I try my best (in reality, not always possible) to be able to spend time on these areas. I have even gotten to the point where I colour code my calendar based on these 3 focus areas so at a quick glance I can see if I am hitting the mark. Overtime, I have become aware of the fact that how I spend my time, has a noticeably large impact on our company, which is why I’ve built structure around that.

What is your professional background?

I have a background in Civil Engineer and Construction Management. I earned my undergraduate Civil Engineering degree from Stanford University. I’m a 3rd generation Civil Engineer (my grandfather, both parents, and my aunt are all Civil Engineers as well!), so sometimes I feel like this was in my blood!

After graduating I worked in the construction industry, for both building and infrastructure general contractors in Silicon Valley, Sydney, and Chicago. I loved getting a global perspective on how projects come together.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

Outside of work, I spend most of my time with family – my husband, Anton, and our two boys, Max (7) & Zac (3). Max and Zac are full of energy, so they keep our days busy and interesting. We love going on “adventures” with them. Pre-COVID that meant a lot of travel and exploring new places. We have had to get more creative given the current environment. But we have found some hidden gems locally to go hiking. We’ve gotten creative at home too and built a makeshift outdoor movie theatre on our roof.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I love this question! Fun fact – I recently got super into Pokémon. My 7-yr old Max got me hooked. During the quarantine, we learned how to play the original Pokémon trading card game, which surprisingly takes a decent amount of skill and logic. And I have to admit, I am definitely addicted. In case anyone is curious, my go to Pokémon to bring to battle are Mewtwo and Nidoking.

You are speaking at the forthcoming 2020 DigiCon Virtual Summit in July. What is the focus of your talk?

I am delivering the International Address entitled “Eight ways the construction industry can re-build itself”. I believe that the construction industry is at an inflection point. Global forces like urbanization, climate change, and now the COVID-19 pandemic are requiring companies to rethink the status quo. Technology and digitization are at the core of successful firms’ responses. Through our work in the construction industry we have a tremendous ability to influence society for the better – the possibilities are exciting!

What in your opinion are the critical obstacles facing the sector during these unforeseen times?

These are certainly unforeseen times. In an extremely short time span, the global pandemic has forced a new health and safety standard affecting the design, construction, and operations of our buildings. And it has exposed vulnerabilities in the construction industry as a whole – as just one example, it has brought to light how little control we have over our supply chain.

But I believe that the greatest obstacle we face is climate change, and I hope that each and every one of us realizes that while we might not feel this obstacle on a daily basis, it is absolutely essential to our future that we recognize it. Construction is the world’s largest producer of waste and accounts for between 25-40% of carbon emissions according to the World Economic Forum. Deploying sustainable practices across the project lifecycle and building a sustainable and resilient built environment needs to be front and centre of more conversations. Our future depends on it, and it is in our hands.

How do you see the industry being changed by digital disruption over the next 5 years?

Over the next 5 years, I think the change we will see is all about automation. BIM and the data behind it will enable automated workflows in design (more efficient and data driven generative design), construction (robotics and industrialized construction efforts), and operations (smart buildings and predictive maintenance). Achieving this future will require not just technology adoption, but a change in our processes and an understanding of how to bring the right people together.

Danielle will be speaking at Digicon 2020 which will be held virtually on July 7th 2020.

See www.digitalconstruction.ie for more information.

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