Alan Grosheider spoke at this year’s EnviroTech Summit His talk touched on some theories about why our industry is behind in technology adoption. Alan now leads a company called Blue222 that is building a national platform for real estate due diligence services.

Summary of Presentation

Alan’s talk resonated with me because it’s something I’ve been saying for years…that our industry—an industry in which I have spent most of my working life—for some strange reason finds it difficult to adopt modern technology when other industries readily embrace it.  I myself theorized that this “adoption” issue is in part due to the pressure of having to be billable.  Alan’s take is a little different.  Here are some key takeaways from Alan’s presentation:

  • Software is eating the world.  Examples include Uber, which is valued higher than GM and Ford, and Airbnb, which has more rooms for rent than Marriott, Best Western, and Holiday Inn combined.
  • But for some reason environmental engineers and scientists are not in the forefront of this…they are behind.
  • Perhaps it has something to do with the incredible conservative nature within engineering firms which continue to do things “the way we’ve always done it”
  • Perhaps perfectionism and risk aversion of us engineers and scientists is at play here.  After all, our job is to keep our clients safe, design things that are safe, and generally keep things from blowing up. So…what’s wrong with that?
  • Well, do you remember Kodak?  They invented the digital camera, but the safe route at the time was to continue creating film.
  • Point is, we should embrace change, not fight or resist it.

A few slides from his presentation are displayed in the slider below.  Click the button to download Alan’s presentation.