Gaining Valuable Insights from IAMC Spring Forum 2024

Daniel Lessing attending the IAMC Spring Forum

I recently attended the IAMC Spring Forum 2024, held in Greenville, SC. As always, it was a super informative event with lots of great perspectives shared. Over 600 attendees, including over 100 first-timers, attended the event, which was filled with thought-provoking discussions, engaging sessions, and productive networking opportunities.

The keynote speaker, Ben Nemtin, co-founder of The Buried Life movement, set the tone with an inspiring message. He urged attendees to create a bucket list, share it with others, and embrace courage and altruism. His thought-provoking question, "What do you want to do before you die?" resonated with the audience, igniting a sense of purpose and determination. What I want to do when before I die is drive my 1987 Landcruiser to Cape Horn, Chile. Ben's speech reinvigorated my commitment to BHDP's collective ambition—specifically our promise, design for people. When 30% of our life is spent at work, we should strive to have a great experience while doing it.

The Info Exchange session was another event highlight, featuring industry experts from various companies, including Utility Solutions, PowerGrid Inc., Sustainable Energy Partners, GridWorks, and Energy Dynamics. They led discussions on the urgent need for new electrical power infrastructure to support large-scale industrial developments. The session shed light on the challenges posed by escalating electrical demands and the imperative for sustainable solutions. As we discuss with our clients, beginning every project with an understanding of the site's long-term production goals and sustainability strategies allows us to properly plan with the local utility providers to mitigate these risks.

In his insightful keynote address, Jason Hickey, President of Hickey and Associates, highlighted key trends and challenges shaping the industrial real estate landscape. He emphasized the importance of workforce availability, sustainable investment, community engagement, and supply chain resilience in driving economic growth and industrial development.

Executive Vice President & COO of The Future Hunters, Erica Orange, delivered an engaging session exploring the transition from artificial intelligence to augmented intelligence. She stressed the need for strategic vision and long-term planning to adapt to technological disruptions, citing examples of companies that failed to do so. Erica's advice reminded me of our initial master plan activities with VEGA Americas at their new campus in Mason, OH. We helped them create their long-term 10-year plan, implemented phase 1, and now we are designing the next phase!

The breakout sessions were equally informative, with speakers representing leading companies in the industry. Erik Magsamen and Drew Overmiller of JE DUNN shared insights on capital project delivery strategies, while Johan Beukema of Rene Buck discussed supply chain derisking and decentralization strategies.

The forum concluded with a dynamic Q&A session moderated by Kevin Dollhopf of Hickey and Associates and Ashley Snyder of CRESA. The resulting discussions involved diverse topics, including facility management, electrification challenges, and future investment plans. Electrification has been a central theme throughout the conference. As clients want to increase their production capacity or on/near-shore, utility providers' ability to have available power is a paramount evaluation point in expansion and site selection. This is exacerbated by ESG goals that require a percentage of the grid power to be renewable and electrical loads increasing due to many clients foregoing gas for electrical heat. Once again, this reinforces the idea that early planning is critical. BHDP utilizes a repeatable master planning process to help understand our client's goals from the very start.

But, as they say, the highlight of any forum is the networking opportunities available for all attendees. I enjoyed both the EPDNC Dinner on Monday night and the Jobs Ohio Dinner on Tuesday night as they provided excellent platforms for me and others to connect, exchange ideas, and foster new partnerships, further enriching the overall experience of the conference.

My Key Takeaways

In summary, the IAMC Spring Forum 2024 was a platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and innovation that highlighted the collective expertise of industry leaders. The event offered actionable insights  to navigate the evolving landscape of industrial real estate and highlighted three critical takeaways:

  1. Workforce availability and clean, available power are driving site selection and expansion decisions.
  2. Create a strategic vision that harnesses ever-changing technology, or you will be left behind.
  3. Make your bucket list and start checking items off your list!

As companies continue to adapt to new challenges and opportunities, forums like IAMC play a crucial role in driving progress and shaping the industry's future. 

Thinking about beginning a new manufacturing project? We can help with master planning. Reach out today. 

Written by

Daniel Lessing

Daniel Lessing, Client Leader

Daniel brings over 17 years of experience in plant and environmental engineering, project planning, and construction management to BHDP. As a Client Leader on the Industrial team, Daniel continues to develop his expertise in team management and strategic thinking for both national and international projects. As a global-minded professional, he is well versed in the creation of highly technical and sustainable buildings. He is skilled in meeting aggressive schedules that are on time and under budget and can lead project through from site selection to building occupancy.

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