6 minute read

Women in Construction

The visionary

Our conversation with Versatile’s Meirav Oren

Passion. Collaboration. Vision. Meirav Oren’s diverse and successful background has helped raise the standing of the Versatile—a team of inventors, engineers and project managers she co-founded to help imagine new ways to transform construction into a truly controllable manufacturing process.

As CEO, her never-quit attitude is evident in everything she does. Before starting Versatile, she spent 10 years at Intel, spearheading BizOps and financial services, and leading international projects with multicultural teams. Under her leadership, Versatile became the first construction technology firm to be named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. We sat down with her to get her insights about the state of today’s construction market—and her place in it.

Meirav Oren Tell us your story. How did you get started in the industry?

My family has always been in, and around the construction industry. Since my father and brother worked as contractors, we would have family discussions about the industry when we were together. That’s how Versatile began. After experiencing and discussing a tragic accident on my brother’s jobsite, I realized there had to be a better way to use technology to boost efficiencies

and create more controllable, predictable working environments. We sketched out the idea on a sticky note. Although we could not have changed the accident that day, coming from a technology background, I knew there was a solution to create a more predictable job site that was being overlooked by big tech. Getting the design right for CraneView was important, too—it needed to be a seamless solution that demonstrates immediate benefits without disrupting a job site’s daily operations and workflows.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen over the past few years?

Project teams need to get more done, with a smaller workforce, fewer resources and with a constrained supply chain, limiting materials. Despite these limitations, the need to execute and get the job on time and safely while staying on budget remains paramount to construction companies. Though the adoption of construction technology has increased to meet these needs, it is still limited because the technology needs to be as naturally fitting to the workflows as possible. Our key focus at Versatile is to help solve these constraints on site by identifying those best practices that get more done with less, and sharing that knowledge across organizations as easily as possible.

What opportunities are out there for the industry as we move forward? For women?

The industry continues to have unique opportunities to use data and robotics in unique ways to optimize utilization, create a more inclusive workforce, and optimize repetitive job site processes that can allow skilled professionals to do higher value work. Construction companies who are leveraging data and analytics insights today will create new opportunities to invest in their workforce—particularly younger generations—and maintain consistency and high performance across projects. There is plenty of room in the construction industry for women, and the opportunities are endless. Recently, Bloomberg

From left to right: Ran Oren, Danny Herman, Meirav Oren and Barak Cohen.

reported a record high of 14% of women in construction. The construction industry is welcoming more diversity than ever and there is no limit to the gender ratio the industry can have.

What type of trends are you seeing today?

Staying on budget and on time is more critical than ever due to rising inflation and supply chain delays. Those constraints are forcing managers to forecast a project’s challenges, plan around them and control the site like never before—but they desperately need solutions that naturally fit into their workflows, to allow faster adoption than what the industry is used to helping accomplish those goals.

What advice can you share?

The world will try to slow you down, but don’t let it. Be swift. Done is better than perfect, and you’ll soon learn that your “done” is what others might define as “perfect” anyway. Don’t only listen to the advice of others—trust your instinct, have a clear voice of your own, and don’t be afraid to make your voice heard.

The construction industry is welcoming more diversity than ever and there is no limit to the gender ratio the industry can have.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

It is similar to the advice I shared above. An early mentor of mine once said, “The world will slow you down. It’s important to stay present, and deliver your part early, to keep things moving fast and set expectations for others.” What’s the single best thing every woman can do to make sure they continue to get a seat at the table?

Utilize your opportunities when they are presented. Be prepared and take up space with conviction when the situation presents itself.

What’s the biggest item on your to-do list?

Celebrating our incredible, creative customers. We exist to serve them with the most innovative technology, but what they are doing with CraneView is truly incredible. We are focused on showcasing the power of Versatile’s data through our customers’ successes. CCR


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