Welcome & Opening Remarks

Opening remarks as participants gather at the 10th Symposium to shape the construction industry’s future.

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The 10th annual PPI Symposium, led by Todd R. Zabelle, redefined its approach by narrowing its focus to influential figures in the construction sector. Acknowledging the exceptional efforts of Kristin and Gary, Zabelle highlighted the event’s evolution from a broad networking session to a curated gathering of industry shapers.

Distinguished attendees included Glenn Ballard, recognized as the “father of lean construction,” and Will Lichtig, a pioneer in integrative forms of agreement. Dr. Sanvito’s past research on design-build approaches, conducted during his Stanford tenure, remained a pertinent highlight.

The audience featured Fernando Espana, a leader in advanced work packaging, alongside representatives from BP, Petronas, and EdgeConneX, offering insights into data center construction challenges. Zabelle injected a thought-provoking perspective on the immediate impact of AI in construction, emphasizing existing challenges in equipment, personnel, and power acquisition.

Insights from Brian of EdgeConneX on data center construction challenges, along with presentations from contractors Tripatra and Binsky & Snyder, enriched the symposium. The keynote speaker, Alex Kershaw, promised a captivating presentation, building anticipation among attendees. The symposium aimed to foster meaningful discussions among industry leaders, setting the stage for future innovations in construction.


[00:00:00] Todd R. Zabelle: All right. Good morning, everybody. My name is Todd Zabelle and a couple of things before we get started today. First, I’d like to welcome everybody to the 10th Annual PPI Symposium. We’ll talk a little bit about what we’re going to do here today. It’s different than we’ve done in the past. And before we get started, I’d like to thank Kristen for and Gary for doing an amazing job on putting this together.

[00:00:22] Todd R. Zabelle: All right, so if you’d just join me in a round of applause, that would be great. Thank you. There’s a lot of work that goes into this, and thank you to TAMU as well. So this is interesting this year because before COVID, we had about 195 people at this event. And we sat back this year, and we said, look, if we’re going to do one of these, And we get a lot of interest in, in doing these.

[00:00:48] Todd R. Zabelle: Why don’t we constrain it down to people that we think are really influential as to what’s going on out there and would get value out of being here. So we moved from a big I’d call it literally a free lunch and networking session to inviting the people that we really think have influence as to what’s happening in the industry.

[00:01:05] Todd R. Zabelle: Alright, so everybody’s here for a reason. I’d like to just tell you about some of the people that are in the audience for you, for you that do not know. So we’ll say from the lean construction representatives, Glenn Ballard, who we might call the, the father of lean construction, next to him, Will Lichtig who basically, I guess, invented integrative form of agreement.

[00:01:28] Todd R. Zabelle: Is it fair to say that, Will? And then we have John Strickland and Dr. Sanvito. Now Dr. Sanvito, while he was at Stanford, did some research for the Design Build Institute. In the mid 90s around design build and the benefit of doing what would be a more integrated approach to project delivery. And I think some of that content is probably still relevant today.

[00:01:55] Todd R. Zabelle: We also have Fernando, where are you Fernando? Fernando Espana, who is a leader in the area of advanced work packaging. We have some academics, consultants that are here with us, and owners including BP, Petronas, Brian from EdgeConneX here, who is in a very fascinating field of data center construction, right, the delivery and operation of data centers.

[00:02:25] Todd R. Zabelle: This is just a paper I’m thinking about writing. Hopefully no one will steal the idea. I personally have no concern about AI whatsoever. It’s not going to make a big impact because we can’t build the stuff. And so as all the tech guys are going on about how much AI is going to change the world, they’ve got one flawed concept is we literally can’t build it.

[00:02:44] Todd R. Zabelle: We can’t get the equipment, we can’t get the people, and there’s no power. But I’ll let Brian talk about that. And then we have some contractors. Okay, Tripatra, who’s traveled all the way over. And Binsky to talk about what’s happening in that area. The keynote today, Alex Kershaw, I saw him speak with James Choo at an event in San Francisco.

[00:03:05] Todd R. Zabelle: An amazing speaker, and you definitely don’t want to miss that. Alright, so without much further, Gary, I’m going to hand it over to you. Thank you guys for attending, and hopefully you have a productive and enjoyable day.

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Todd R. Zabelle

Project Production Institute

Todd R. Zabelle

Project Production Institute

Todd is the Founder and President of Strategic Project Solutions, Inc (SPS). Zabelle has more than thirty years of experience in the delivery of complex and critical capital projects ranging in size from $500K to $55 billion. He is the Founder & CEO of Strategic Project Solutions, Inc. is the Founder & CEO of Pacific Contracting, a founder and equity partner in the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) (prior to making it a not for profit), and founder of the Project Production Institute (PPI). He is also a Forbes Featured Author.

Prior to founding SPS, Todd founded Pacific Contracting. Established in 1993, Pacific Contracting was recognized in the mid 90’s for its use of various innovations including Lean Construction and Virtual Design & Construction. In July 1998, these efforts were acknowledged in the UK Government’s Re-Thinking Construction report.

Over the past two decades, Todd has authored numerous papers on the topic of optimizing engineering, fabrication and construction. These papers have been published various in technical journals, presented at numerous conferences around the world and cited by several other authors.