Last week, the eSUB team announced the launch of our new podcast “Power to the Trades”. This new show will feature weekly interviews from construction professionals such as trade contractors, industry thought leaders, and a few key partners. The show is hosted by our very own Rob McKinney (aka the ConAppGuru)!
This week’s second episode features Sean McGuire, a technology evangelist who is working on educating members of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA). The MCAA is a trade association that represents roughly 2,600 mechanical, plumbing, and service contractors across the U.S. and Canada. Sean is the Director of Innovative Technologies for the MCAA.
eSUB Podcast Second Episode Recap
Rob and Sean talk through several interesting technology topics in their conversation. Sean has been advocating for the use of new technologies, such as BIM, Laser Scanning, and the Hololens. 2:56 – 3:10 His role is “essentially to try his best to get their contractors prepared for the technology revolution that is coming to the industry.”
They discuss how there has historically been a slow adoption of technology in the construction industry. However, one of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been increased adoption of technology by companies that might not have otherwise tried to migrate to new software. For example, virtual meetings on Zoom now allow office staff to work remotely and stay efficient. By providing field crews with new technology to send in updates on project issues and statuses to the office, the company is quickly adopting forms of technology. 4:48 – Sean thinks that a lot of the changes to the workplace that we have seen are here to stay, such as allowing greater access to job sites and everybody having access to software. “You aren’t getting as much pushback from tradespeople, because they are getting more information… which has been great!”
A common response that he has been hearing in this transition is “why didn’t we try and do some of these things years ago?” Rob also pointed out that in regard to technology, we have made so many strides from February and March of 2020 with the use of Zoom. There is much more information flowing.
Rob turned the conversation to ask Sean, “what does the phrase power to the trades mean to you?” “Empowering means getting better access to the data to everybody”-McGuire 10:10-10:46 “The better armed they are with the most accurate sets of information, the better they can do their job and be trusted without having a tremendous amount of oversight. Give them the right information and trust their craftsmanship and their level of dedication to the industry to get it done right. That’s where we really see the power to the trades meaning for us.”
Continuing the topic of technology, Rob wanted to know if Sean had any prime examples of how his contractor members are using technology to power their operations. More specifically, talking about mechanical contractors and what they are using to really push things forward – and power those trade contractors and craftworkers out in the field. He responded by sharing that BIM plays a huge role these days, but the things he’s starting to see more are virtual coordination meetings happening more frequently. BIM hasn’t changed much in the last year, but what you need to do is leverage it and utilize the information given to you.
McKinney went on to explain the evolution of technology in the field. In the last 20 years, going from full paper-based to the rise of 3D modeling and BIM, it’s not just the office side that is benefitting. Now, you can go out and take the model and help the field build more accurately and faster than we’ve ever seen. It is interesting to watch how BIM has been permeating from the office into the field.
They end the show by discussing the change of mentality in an industry that has historically had a long-standing resistance to change and technology. Rob posed the question, “Are you seeing this change within your membership and your industry as a whole? And are people being more open now to using this technology because of what happened in 2020?” 13:22 – 13:36 “Some technologies, yes. Communication platforms especially because this last year have kind of forced their hand. People are jumping on different communication platforms because they don’t have as much access to each other, or even to the field.” -McGuire
This is a great talk about the use case of technology on construction projects. As we continue to dive into the world of specialty trade contractors and how they use technology, let us know who you’d like to hear. Interested in being on the podcast yourself? We’d love to have you on. Apply here and we’ll be in touch. To all the trade contractors out there reading or listening, keep up your awesome work, and thank you for building and servicing the world we live in! Let’s continue to bring #PowerToTheTrades! Listen to the Full Podcast here on Spotify and here on iTunes.