Water Design-Build Council Blog

Collaboration is Growing the Water Design-Build Industry

Posted by David Kinchen, Associate VP and Director, Black & Veatch on Fri, Apr 07, 2017 @ 02:22 PM

collaboration-water-design-build.jpgAs I sit at the airport in Minneapolis reflecting on the week's events at the DBIA Water/Wastewater conference, I can't help but think about how much fun we have as an industry.

It is always a wonderful experience to spend time with business partners, competitors and owners, learning more about what makes our industry tick, and more importantly, learning more about what makes us as individuals tick.

Make no bones about it, we are a different bunch, and we each bring seemingly endless flavors of experience, backgrounds, and perspectives to the industry.

That's part of what makes this business so great, and the relationships forged through these different avenues are the very essence of the collaborative spirit that is so important to our chosen field.

This morning, the WDBC Advisor breakfast exemplified the depth and breadth of influence we all share through our relationships. In particular, the advisor members of the WDBC bring tremendous value to our industry. As I look back at a few of the conversations over the past few days, one of the things that strikes me is the concept of commoditization of certain elements of our industry, be it engineering, construction, equipment, pipe, etc.

My personal opinion is further validated, as no element within our business is a commodity. The advisor community does tremendous work that leaves a very positive thumbprint on our industry.

Their willingness to share ideas, engage in the conference at a high level through sponsorship and booth time, and tirelessly fellowship until the wee hours is not only appreciated, but is an essential part of the relationship process that helps to create the necessary ingredient of collaboration. 

I was also encouraged by the sincerity and vulnerability that some of our members and owners shared during the education sessions. We certainly have great stories to tell about project successes, but there was also recognition of challenges we face in the industry. Our owners' willingness to be transparent in their struggles helps us all grow and create more value by responding to these challenges with solutions.

These interactions create better experiences when we as business partners work with our owners to proactively resolve pressing issues rather than just letting them "work themselves out." I applaud the DBIA and the WDBC for providing the forum of our conference to start that process. 

I look forward to seeing my industry partners in 2017, be it in competition, partnership, or in fellowship, as we continue to grow the water/wastewater design-build and collaborative project delivery market.

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Topics: design-build