Avvir Academy
March 9, 2023

Avvir Pro Spotlight: Kyle Johnson, Sr. Director of Solution Engineering

At Avvir, we’re proud to have employees with real construction experience on both the Owner and General Contractor side’s of the business. These individuals have joined the many other talented employees at Avvir to help us truly understand the core of what our customers, and the construction industry needs.

This year we’re going to shine the spotlight on a few of those individuals who’ve helped Avvir become what it is today. Our first Avvir Pro is Kyle Johnson, Senior Director of Solution Engineering. Prior to Avvir, Kyle worked on the Owner side of the construction industry at WeWork as a BIM and Project Manager, and has had a big fascination with building things his whole life. 

So, let’s get to know him better.

Kyle, what’s the how and why you chose to be in the construction industry?

I grew up in a house where there was always some kind of project to be done: building a shed, replacing a door, building cabinets, anything under the sun in DIY land. I was also always a very creative kid. The combination of these two things led me to pursue an architecture degree, which identified as this perfect intersection of technicality and creativity. While finishing my degree I did a couple of internships at SHoP architects, a firm well known for pushing the envelope of digital technology in design and construction. That early very early technological exposure led me to focus on computational design in grad school in California. Needless to say I continued on that path to focus on BIM and VDC roles very early on. After working in that role for an engineering company, I found out about this little company called WeWork. I originally came on as a BIM Manager, but learned so much so quickly about all other aspects of the building procurement process. WeWork was vertically integrated, having designers, architects, real estate and construction managers all under one roof. The more I learned about all the different parts of the process, the more roles I started to explore. I eventually became a construction manager, responsible for 10-15 projects in multiple phases of development. Leaning into this role I quickly realized how inefficient pretty much every facet of construction actually is. This set me up well to find Avvir…

How had you heard about Avvir and why did you decide to come be part of this journey?

I always think this is kind of a funny story. I was so ready to leave my last job and I was applying to A LOT of places. I saw this posting for a VDC Manager from this random company called Avvir. I thought it looked interesting so I applied. My first touch point was with Raffi and it very quickly went from a “I don't know about this group” to “wow they are doing amazing things. When I dug in and really understood his vision, I immediately thought “this is something I wish I had on all of my jobs”. So needless to say, having the opportunity to build something that would make my job and thousands of others’ jobs easier really appealed to me. The key datasets that Avvir builds on top of also directly align with my background. I always found it frustrating that VDC workflows would essentially stop once construction started, and now we are laying the groundwork for that to no longer be the case. We are effectively providing a more consolidated way for the different roles on construction teams to engage with each other in a way that was previously much more difficult. 

What would you like to see at Avvir and in the industry moving forward?

There is a long list of things I’d like to see, but I’ll try to focus on a few. Luckily what I’d like to see at Avvir is already in process. We are the best in the business at analyzing reality capture and project data and turning that analysis into actionable insights. But I think we still need to work on getting data in and out of our platform faster. We are already focusing on integrations to make this process easier, and therefore making it easier for our customers to get value faster. I’d also like to see the industry move in this direction. We already partner with other companies to share data more seamlessly in the interest of serving the customer, but there are groups who still work in silos. I don’t really think that helps anybody. 

I’d also like to see reality capture get faster, cheaper, and more accurate. I already see things trending in this direction. I’ve seen dramatic improvements in scanning technology even since I started at Avvir even four years ago. Reality capture teams no longer need to rely on $200k machines and days of processing time; we are approaching the ability to leverage the phones in our pockets and minutes or hours of processing time to accurately capture a construction site. That naturally lowers the bar for being able to implement sophisticated technologies like Avvir. 

Ok last one Kyle, what are your top 3 pro tips for anyone in construction?

Focus on building relationships. 

This is a general recommendation I’ve seen, not specific to construction, but it especially applies to construction. People like working with people they know and people they like. If people like working with you, it’s that much more rewarding to wake up and do what you do every day. Building relationships with people makes the work you do more meaningful. I’d like to think that we are solving complex problems at Avvir. So getting to know the people we work with and understanding their pain points, in the ultimate interest of solving their problems, makes what we do that much more rewarding. 

Listen more than you talk and ask questions. 

Everyone is more experienced than you at something, no matter who it is. If you take the time to ask questions, to ask someone how they do what they do, you’d be surprised how much people will tell you. Even if it's something you think you are an expert at or already know, ask questions about how someone else does the same thing you do. I’ve never regretted asking questions and listening to what someone else has to say. The real cheat code is to listen to people who you have built relationships with. There are compounding benefits to listening to people you know who have been in the industry for decades longer than you, regardless of how new and cool you think you are. 

Be open to change. 

Given that I started in a very technology driven role, I’ve always been used to having the newest hottest tool in the room. But now I’ve been in the industry just long enough to no longer be the youngest and most technically savvy in the room. Rather than worrying about maintaining a sense of expertise on how to do a specific thing, I try to learn how a workflow can change or be better. I’d much rather focus on keeping up with the latest and greatest rather than getting left behind in the dust. This brings me back to my last “tip”: listen and ask questions. Often I work with people who are set in their ways because “that’s the way we’ve done it for the past 30 years”. In order to propel the industry as a whole, industry veterans should be open to listening and learning just as much as the younger, tech-enabled workforce should be. Veterans can learn about how technology can make their teams more effective, while those at junior levels can learn how to focus on the most important issues from industry veterans. 

There you have it folks, our very first get to know you with our very first Avvir Pro! If you’d like to get more insights from Kyle, you can check out his Avvir Pro video interview and watch out for his content on the Avvir blog.

Men showing construction tool to group
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