'Successful technology implementation requires the integration of people, process, and technology'
Co-Founder and CEO of VIATechnik, Danielle Dy Buncio on the barriers the construction industry must overcome to keep up with technical innovation and digitalisation
What's your name?
Danielle Dy Buncio
What’s your current job?
Co-Founder and CEO of VIATechnik, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
How long have you held the position?
I founded VIATechnik in May of 2012.
Can you describe your daily work routine?
I start my day early and am constantly emailing and taking phone calls. I make sure to maintain weekly internal meetings with all of my teams from Chicago and NYC to ensure I can assist with any pain points we may be experiencing or wins to celebrate and am constantly in the know.
When I am not in meetings, I have an open-door policy where my employees can feel at ease and come to me if needed. I try to stay as connected as possible with my team to ensure the culture maintains and as we grow, we grow the most efficient and effective way.
Most days I am at a luncheon or dinner with friends or colleagues. For example, just this week I hosted MBA students from my Alma Mater, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management to showcase VR and what VIATechnik creates for the industry. I am in constant communication with my network from Stanford and one of our comp.any advisors, mostly located in CA. Networking is most important in this industry as is staying connected to the education that provided me with the tools to be successful.
At least 2-3 weeks of the month I am traveling whether it is connecting with companies on current projects, attending business meetings, or speaking at conferences nation and worldwide. I leave the office to spend time with my kids in the early evening. After my kids go to bed, I work. I work on weekends in my off time to constantly drive VIATechnik and our cause.
What is your professional background?
I am the Co-Founder and CEO of VIATechnik, a construction and engineering services firm transforming the construction industry. Through virtual design and construction VT blends global human capital with cutting-edge construction technologies. I lead the company’s strategic growth efforts and build and manage client relationships with some of the largest AEC firms around the country.
Under my leadership, the firm’s innovative and landmark projects have included everything from a point cloud BIM of one of the world’s largest breweries to the creation of a virtual “gaming” environment of a nuclear power plant. The VIATechnik team are spearheading advancement of BIM, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence in the industry.
Prior to founding VIATechnik, I worked for general contractors in Silicon Valley, Sydney, and Chicago. As a Civil Engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I have extensive commercial building, heavy civil, and marine construction experience. I hold a BS in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Recognized as an industry thought leader, I have spoken at industry events including ENR Groundbreaking Women in Construction, ENR FutureTech, AGC BIMForum, CSI Master Specifiers Retreat, Dodge Annual Construction Outlook, and Autodesk University. I was also the closing keynote at the Builtworlds CEO Tech Forum in 2016 and was recently invited to China to speak to key government officials and industry leaders on global trends in BIM and construction technology.
I was named one of the top “Women to Watch in Virtual Reality” and received the 2017 Women in Construction Award by Constructech Magazine. I am also on the Advisory Board of Flux.io, a technology start-up born out of GoogleX, tackling the issue of big data for construction.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
As an entrepreneur, I do find myself very often in work mode! However, when I am not working, you can find me spending time with my boys – my husband Anton, and sons Max and Zachary. We love exploring the Chicago museums. And our entire family are foodies, so we’re always in search of hidden gems in the local restaurant scene.
Tell us something very few people know about you?
I’m a very open book but I am afraid of water. Every shower I take is a new challenge, but that hasn’t stopped me from scuba diving in Australia and South East Asia, or white water rafting around South America. Also, I have been quarantined in Australia.
You are speaking at the forthcoming National Digital Construction Summit in Dublin. What is the focus of your talk?
The main focus of my talk will be regarding disruptive technology trends happening globally in which Dublin and audience members in attendance can take away how they can not only compete, but truly thrive, in the evolving construction landscape.
In your opinion what are the main trends and disruptions having effect on the industry?
The industry is at an inflection point right now. Technology like BIM and Virtual and Augmented Reality are becoming common place on many job sites. And trends around data, AI and IOT I think are poised to make a measurable impact in the near future. But if I had to pick the main disruption I see truly having a meaningful impact on the industry today, I would have to say pre-fabrication. Bringing a manufacturing mindset to the construction process is improving productivity at a rate our industry hasn’t seen in the past, and
What in your opinion are the barriers that must be overcome to ensure the construction industry can effectively catch up with technical innovation and digitalization?
The largest barrier I see is the understanding that successful technology implementation requires the integration of people, process, and technology. Technology is the easy part – with enough resources you can buy the right hardware and software. But the people and the process side are more nuanced. Who are the key players on your team that will champion or oppose technology changes? How do you create a culture of innovation? What are your current workflows and how do they need to evolve?
What changes do you envision for the sector over the next five years?
In my opinion, the big changes over the next 5 years will be around the topics of industrialized construction and Artificial Intelligence. I’m fascinated by examining evolution and innovation in other industries – design and construction can learn so much. We’re already starting to see the manufacturing mindset (ex. Prefabrication and robotics) evolving our construction sites. AI is in its infancy in our industry, but there are some interesting advancements in AI project scheduling or automated scan to BIM workflows.
Danielle Dy Buncio will be speaking at the Digital Construction Summit. This event will take place on March 7th in Croke Park. To register for tickets for the summit visit www.digitalconstruction.ie