Greater Chicago Building News JAN-FEB-MAR 2019

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Building News JAN-FEB-MAR 2019

Innovators & Game Changers




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BUILDING NEWS JAN-FEB-MAR 2019 Phone: 312-260-9792 Email: Greater Chicago Building News is published quarterly by Brandit360. Articles appearing in Greater Chicago Building News do not necessarily represent the opinions of Brandit360. Under all circumstances, copyright remains with the original photographer or author.

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contents innovators & Game Changers

6 Deloitte’s Michelle Meisels take on the 2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

contruction techologies

14 Data has a better idea

products & Materials

19 Warmup® Comfort Delivered by Amazon Alexa 20 CertainTeed isn’t letting its industry color leadership crown go anywhere in 2019.

workforce management

24 Workplace Coaching and Mentoring 26 Keeping AI in its place


30 Sales Center seeks to change the game.

company culture

39 In a War for Talent, Companies Rethink Workplace Dress Codes

people & projects

50 Chuck Blatt is joining the team at Development Solutions Inc. 52 Mosaic Construction has named KC Downer as a Project Manager 53 FitzGerald Expands Market Reach Through Strategic Partnership


2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

2019 engineering and construction industry outlook As we move into the final year of a decade that has seen its share of peaks and valleys, there is no doubt that our industry is an active participant in building the future of the modern world. Overall growth in 2018 for the US engineering and construction industry is projected to be around 5 percent and is likely to accelerate further going into 2019.1 Mergers and acquisitions are positioned for a strong 2019, following an active year, which to date has seen 344 deals with a total value of more than $20 billion.2 Driving this activity are the proliferation of mega projects infused with advanced technologies, a focus on smart cities, and the promises of a data-driven world. The engineering and construction industry is facing considerable hurdles—finding and retaining talent, responding to material price volatility due to tariffs and other trade-related headwinds, and absorbing the rapid pace of technology development pervading our personal and business lives. However, there is reason to be optimistic. Digital is transforming the industry itself and helping us imagine, create, and build the spaces, structures, and cities of tomorrow. Engineering, design, and construction firms have a unique opportunity to leave a mark on the smart cities of the future, using advanced technologies to design and build them today. These same technologies hold the promise to help firms achieve operational efficiencies, thereby reducing costs while improving margins. Those firms that embrace the projects of tomorrow and invest in digital transformation are expected to be the winners here. As we enter 2019, here are some observations and signposts for our industry.



2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

Upgrading infrastructure and digitizing the smart cities of tomorrow

The cities we live in today are the growth engines of our economy and society.

However, in the United States, the infrastructure that supports these urban centers is crumbling. Reports from the American Society of Civil Engineers give the country a D+ rating, indicating the current infrastructure’s poor conditions and deteriorating levels.3 The essential underpinnings—roads, bridges, transit, and water—all received a C+ or lower rating with no single infrastructure segment rated as A, or exceptional and fit for the future.4 Given the population growth in cities, there is a startling gap between the rising growth of urban dwellers and the infrastructure to support them. Recent pledges from the US government to support public works projects may spur an increase in projects for domestic engineering and construction companies in the year ahead, which could present significant opportunities.

of these projects could be cost-prohibitive for a city to undertake. Private funding in cooperation with government entities is one avenue to fund these major projects. From a delivery perspective, the more complete the solution a firm can bring to the table, the greater the positive outcome. The recently announced strategic alliance7 between one of the leading global infrastructure firms and an electronics innovation company to work together building smart cities is one example of how to marry scale with digital. In the coming year, we expect to see design, engineering, and construction firms further augment their portfolios with digital and connected technology assets in an effort to capture a larger share of this market.

At the same time that existing infrastructure needs desperate upgrades, the march of progression toward Smart City 1.0 continues to accelerate, as cities around the world invest in the “connected infrastructure” that will enable better management of urban assets such as public transit, wastewater systems, and roads.5 IDC forecasts that smart cities spending will reach $158 billion globally by 2022,6 an opportunity for the entire spectrum of firms in our industry to help cities execute on their visions. Engineering and construction firms are key enablers of this powerful vision for upgrading infrastructure to incorporate sensing technology and data analytics that could improve the lives of the people who move within and between cities. Collectively these companies are building the roads and highways, designing the smart residential and office buildings, and creating digital touchpoints of connectivity between people and their vehicles, homes, and workplaces. What would help these cities is a clearly articulated strategy for leveraging advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) along with the scale to respond to the influx of digital transformation projects in smart cities worldwide. From a funding perspective, the strategy may include plans for public–private partnerships, as the cost of many



2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

Connected construction provides a 360-degree approach

Not only is digital transforming cities, it is also transforming the way engineering and construction companies run their businesses.

While slower to adopt digital than other industries, the construction industry is moving quickly to incorporate gamechanging technologies into operations to increase safety, reduce operational costs, provide innovative solutions to customers, and find competitive advantages with real-time insights that can change project outcomes.8 Internally, digital technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) have the ability to make significant impacts on back-office operations for engineering and construction firms. Engineering and construction firms generally experience prolonged cash-conversion cycles and financial constraints, including longer average days sales outstanding of 82 days—more than all other industries.9 These operational areas have many processes that can be significantly improved through RPA.10 In addition, building information modeling (BIM) systems that allow contractors to create 3D models and make immediate changes to designs today are evolving quickly. With the inclusion of cost and project scheduling to add two more dimensions, 5D BIM systems can help bring projects in on time and on budget, ensuring no overruns—a key to driving operational efficiencies with large construction projects. Look for potential further maturity of BIM in the coming months into offerings that incorporate 7D, adding energy efficiency and facility management for comprehensive life cycle project management.



Digital is also driving “connected construction” adoption. Drones, wearables, augmented reality (AR), and GPS tracking services are revolutionizing job sites, streamlining surveying, improving worker safety, and capturing valuable data. In the year ahead, digital control towers for construction sites could evolve, tying together all the data captured through connected construction assets to deliver a true 360-degree view of an in-process project.

2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

Analytics and data are the core for future growth, productivity, and efficiency

Data is quickly becoming the core for future success in the construction industry.

It moves business decisions from reactive to predictive and could enable engineering and construction firms to outpace their competition. For this reason, it is likely to be a priority on the growth agenda of CIOs in the coming year. A data and analytics strategy can fuel the ability to deliver smart buildings and smart cities projects, identify and address diminishing margins, and manage increasing project size and complexity.11 It can help identify not only what went wrong but also prevent it from happening in the future. Data related to engineering and construction projects exists in a multitude of sources, many of them outside traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Therefore, companies should devise a framework for collecting the data from all of these sources, using tools and models to analyze that data, and providing the insights gleaned to the right people in the right moment to make an impact on the business.

Data and analytics also provide companies the ability to refine operations and tackle business goals like reducing costs or providing next-generation client services. Companies can use a data-driven approach to unlock smart decision making, identify the optimal location for their project, and source the best materials to use, all through an interface that enables decision makers to ask questions and work through scenarios. And as we have seen in other industries, data can even be packaged as a value-added service to clients. Engineering and construction companies should continue making investments in data and analytics in the coming year to ensure they are keeping pace with the rapid developments in this area.



2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

Talent remains a challenge

A pervasive challenge that could hamper the industry’s growth and momentum in the coming year is the tight labor market.

The US construction industry has been consistently adding workforce, and in fact, employs around 7.2 million professionals, the highest levels since the Great Recession of 2008.12 All the while, US construction industry unemployment levels have dropped to an 18-year low.13 In fact, the latest job openings data from Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that since 2014, while the number of jobs openings have almost doubled, the number of hires over the same period has just increased by 14 percent.14 Labor shortages are reaching crisis proportions and are expected to continue through 2019 as well. The impact of not filling job openings and not having the right skill set in the workforce can negatively impact engineering and construction companies in various ways, including not being able to respond to market needs, losing project bids, and failing to innovate. With the influx in expected projects in 2019, engineering and construction companies should consider innovative approaches to attract, recruit, and retain talent. Engaging with the open talent ecosystem, tapping the resources of the retirement-age experienced workforce, and developing in-house training programs are all part of long-term strategies that companies should adopt.



Today, winning the talent war includes projecting a positive brand for your company out to the market—one that reflects the advanced technologies that are part of the connected construction site. And to appeal to new generations entering the workforce, it also showcases the sustainability initiatives that many firms have adopted. Additionally, sourcing talent through apprenticeship programs and technical schools can identify prospective employees with the right skills. And considering the rise of digital, it is also important to understand how skills are changing and then design a talent management strategy that reflects this.

2019 engineering and construction industry outlook

Let’s talk Michelle Meisels Principal Engineering & Construction Leader Deloitte Consulting LLP +1 213 688 3293

Michelle is a principal in Deloitte Consulting’s Technology practice and leads the Engineering & Construction practice. Michelle brings over 25 years of consulting experience with a focus on leading large, often global, finance and information technology transformation programs by leveraging technology. She helps clients integrate best-in-class technologies with organizational and process standard practices to achieve both qualitative and quantitative benefits. She specializes in cloud ERP, project controls, supply chain management, and analytics technologies. While she has served clients across many industries, her primary focus has been serving engineering and construction companies. Michelle was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from UCLA.

Endnotes 1.

Oldcastle, 2018 North America Construction Forecast Report, October 2017, Construction%20Forecast%20Report.pdf?t=1514916335905, accessed October 25, 2018; Robby Pedraza, “Six reasons the construction industry in the US is projected to accelerate in 2019,” Mobile Modular, September 7, 2018,, accessed October 25, 2018.


YTD includes January 1, 2018 through October 29, 2018, Thomson One SDC Platinum, accessed October 29, 2018.


2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers,, accessed October 29, 2018.




William Eggers and John Skowron, “Forces of change: Smart cities,” Deloitte Insights, March 22, 2018,


IDC, “IDC forecasts Smart Cities spending to reach $158 billion in 2022, with Singapore, Tokyo, and New York City among top spenders” (press release), July 23, 2018,, accessed October 25, 2018.


“AECOM teams with Arrow Electronics to usher in digital transformation and Smart Cities on a global scale” (press release), Business Wire, September 27, 2018, Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited ("DTTL"), its global network of member firms, and their entities.“Which DTTL (also 8. Prashant Gandhi, Somesh Khanna, and Sreerelated Ramaswamy, industries are the most digital (and why)?” Harvard Business Review, April 1, 2016, referred to as "Deloitte Global") and each of its member firms are legally, accessed October 25, 2018. separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please to learn more. 9. Thesee 2017 CFO/Hackett Group Working Capital Scorecard,, accessed October 29, 2018. 10. PrimeRevenue, the construction persistentconsulting, cash-flow challenge: Deloitte is a leadingTackling global provider of auditindustry’s and assurance, financial How supply chain finance reimagines the cash conversion cycle, 2018,, accessed October 29, 2018. advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services. Our network of member firms in

more than 150 countries serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies. 11. “The construction industry’s productivity problem,” The Economist, August 17, 2017, how Deloitte’s approximately 264,000 people make an impact that productivity-problem, accessed October 25, 2018. matters at 12. US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Construction Industry: Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey This(National), communication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte accessed October 25, 2018., Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte Network”) means of thisUnemployment communication, 13. US Department of Labor, Bureau is, of by Labor Statistics, Level – Construction,, rendering professional advice accessed October 25, 2018.or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult 14. US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Construction Industry: Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be survey (National). responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this communication. Copyright © 2018 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved. For information, contact Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.



construction technologies



The global artificial intelligence (AI) in construction market is expected to post a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of over 28% during the period 2019-2023, according to the latest market research report by Technavio. However, the market is expected to decelerate on a year-onyear basis during the forecast period. A key factor driving the growth of the global artificial intelligence (AI) in construction market is the increase in the number of smart connected devices. The adoption of smart devices is increasing rapidly across the world, with the total number of installed smart devices amounting to 21 billion by 2020. This is posing a new challenge for organizations as they need to manage, monitor, and maintain the copious amounts of data generated through smart devices. Thus, the need for machine-to-machine and machine-tohuman communications is expected to increase significantly. Enterprises have experienced significant improvements in business processes with the adoption of Al analytics software and hardware, where close monitoring of business processes have facilitated real-time decision making. JAN-FEB-MAR 2019

As per Technavio, the increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions will have a positive impact on the market and contribute to its growth significantly over the forecast period. The adoption of cloud-based Al solutions is increasing significantly in the construction industry to improve the capabilities of the existing industrial systems. Al-as-a-service (AlaaS) is trending in the construction sector as it offers benefits such as efficiency and maintenance of a company’s sales and marketing department. Therefore, the increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions will impact the growth of the global AI in construction market during the forecast period. “The growing population, increase in government spending, and the constant economic growth is stimulating the significant growth in the global construction market. Combine this with the growing investment in smart cities and advanced technologies, the impressive growth in the global construction market is offering tremendous growth opportunities to the global AI in construction market,” says a senior analyst at Technavio.

“Technology investments must improve how people and machines work together. That’s precisely where industrial AI comes in.” States Chicago based Uptake “It’s time to link data to revenue. Make no mistake: Not all data is created equal. This is why an intelligent industrial platform automates the complex task of preparing, cleansing and distilling the data that really matters. It separates signal from noise in the mountain of data businesses are sitting on. Using AI and data science, an intelligent industrial platform turns data into insights, predictions and recommendations people can act on to make better-informed decisions about their assets to impact financials.” Uptake has been recognized as a Cool Vendor in Gartner’s October 2018 “Cool Vendors in AI Application for IoT” report and is a CNBC Disruptor 50 honoree which is an exclusive ranking of private companies that are transforming the economy and making a notable impact on industries.



Products & materials



Warmup® Comfort Delivered by Amazon Alexa

underfloor heating systems.

This just in: the Warmup® 4iE Smart WiFi thermostat that you know and love is now compatible with Amazon Alexa in North America. With Amazon Alexa integration, controlling your floor heat is now easier than ever.

Home Automation Integration Compatibility with Amazon Echo also means that your heating system can now be tied to other devices in the home. For example, your floor heating can be turned down when you set your HVAC thermostat to “Away” mode, or when you leave your house and lock you WIFI door locks.

Make Your Smart Heating System Smarter With the MyHeating App and Alexa you can now control your Warmup smart heating system with your voice. Already curled up on the couch but still a bit chilly? Just say, “Alexa, increase the living room underfloor heating by 5 degrees” for total comfort control with minimal muscle movement. Hands full? Can’t reach your thermostat? These are the perfect moments to call upon Alexa for easy access to your

Whether you are seeking a helping hand or simply avoiding fully programming your thermostat the new Amazon Alexa integration feature for the Warmup® 4iE Smart WiFi thermostat is the perfect fit for you. The Warmup 4iE thermostat is compatible with other systems and can be mounted as an upgrade to existing floor heating systems. Warmup’s 4iE® can be found in retail locations across North America. GREATER CHICAGO BUILDING NEWS 19

A host of vinyl siding and soffit profiles give new mix-and-match options. CertainTeed isn’t letting its industry color leadership crown go anywhere in 2019. North America’s leading building materials manufacturer is extending color offerings for siding products in the Monogram®, MainStreet™, Board & Batten and Carolina Beaded™ vinyl siding lines. Monogram horizontal vinyl siding now offers two new, standout colors – Melrose, a saturated red apple color and Brownstone, a bold, creamy chocolate color with hints of red – to complement last year’s additions (Espresso, Slate, Midnight Blue and Castle Stone) and which join the more than 40 other color choices in the line. These two new colors will be available in standard Double 4-inch (D4) clapboard, Double 5-inch (D5) clapboard and Double 5-inch (D5) dutchlap profiles, as well as the extended length panels (16-foot, 20-foot and 25foot) in the D4 profile. In addition, Melrose and Brownstone will be added to the JAN-FEB-MAR 2019

full line of accessories, including the J-channel, undersill trim, outside corner, inside corner, bay window corner, Triple 4-inch universal soffit and trim coil. The two colors are also available for the Board and Batten Single 7-inch family, joining the popular vertical siding collection’s already robust line-up of 25 colors. MainStreet horizontal vinyl siding gained three deluxe colors: Castle Stone, Sable Brown and Pacific Blue. Along with 23 other color choices, all three additional colors will be extended to the standard D4 clapboard, D5 clapboard, D4 dutchlap and D5 dutchlap profiles. The Castle Stone color will also be extended to Carolina Beaded horizontal vinyl siding. Two vinyl soffit profiles also have a new color: the Beaded Triple 2-inch panel in Bermuda Blue in both the solid and vented profiles and the Triple 4-inch profile in Sandstone Beige in both the solid and vented profiles. “Our customers, who work with these products every day, give us insight into what homeowners are looking for. We use that valuable input to make decisions about what colors to add to our existing collection of popular shades,” said Robert Clark, marketing manager for CertainTeed Siding. “Providing a wide array of selections – so homeowners can mix and match every single piece of their home’s exterior perfectly – comes with the title of color leader, and we wear that badge proudly.”

Offering superior looks and performance, Monogram, MainStreet, Board & Batten and Carolina Beaded each carry a limited lifetime warranty, as well as a Class A flame spread rating to meet even the toughest code compliance. CertainTeed’s vinyl soffit lines also carry limited lifetime warranties. For more information about these products, visit, contact your local CertainTeed distributor or call 800-233-8990. CertainTeed’s online color tools, including ColorView® exterior style and color selector, allow homeowners to choose from the wide variety of colors available and even visualize the product on their own homes before purchasing. For

more information and the full line of CertainTeed design and color tools, visit By offering such a wide selection of products that deliver beauty and performance, CertainTeed has been voted the number-one brand for vinyl siding by building professionals for 22 consecutive years, according to the 2018 Hanley Wood Brand Use Study. CertainTeed also offers partners higher standards and greater rewards to help grow their business. With the broadest range of exterior products, including polymer, insulated and vinyl siding, as well as roofing, fence, railing, decking and exterior trim, CertainTeed provides unmatched CurbAppeal™ with the option to mix and match products, styles and colors for a beautifully coordinated look. GREATER CHICAGO BUILDING NEWS 21

workforce management



Workplace Coaching and Mentoring by Jo Lamb The use of coaching and mentoring is becoming increasingly popular within the workplace, but there are some subtle differences, which will influence the outcomes achieved. Managers need to be able to determine which approach will best suit their staff. In 2007 the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Development) reported that the use of coaching and mentoring as development tools were on the increase within organisations. According to those who responded, 72% use formal mentoring schemes and 63% undertake coaching activities as part of their wider Human Resource Strategy. In their more recent Learning and Development Survey (2009), they stated that the key role played by line managers in delivering successful training is once again emphasised by the results from this survey, with 47% of respondents believing coaching by line managers to be one of the most effective learning and development practices. (CIPD Learning and Development Surveys) The adoption of these critical personal development tools within organisations is an encouraging sign and demonstrates corporate maturity. Coaching and mentoring are both ‘helping’ activities, employed either as distinct interventions or together as part of a package of personal development. They both allow individuals and therefore organisations to reach their full potential. The differences in the application of these processes are naturally reflected in the outcomes.

What is Coaching? Coaching is…”A process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be successful a Coach requires knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place.” Eric Parsloe, The Manager as a Coach and Mentor, (1999) A coach therefore is a person who teaches and directs another person via encouragement and advice. The use of the term coaching (as in the art of coaching people) has its origins in English traditional university “cramming” in the mid 19th Century. In the US, most college sports team employed coaches as well as managers and by the 20th Century, nonsporting coaches were emerging. What is Mentoring? Mentoring is…”off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking.” Clutterbuck, D & Megginson, D, Mentoring Executives and Directors (1999)


Mentoring, on the other hand, refers to a developmental relationship with a more experienced ‘expert’ and a less experienced (and usually younger) protégé. The term ‘mentor’ has been around for centuries, originally derived from a character in Homer’s Odyssey, who guides a young boy through a difficult time. Both of these activities have developed with the demands of a modern society. Coaching, in particular, is one of the fastest emerging industries of the past decade specifically within the United States, Australia and the UK. Three Key Differences Both processes enable individuals (and therefore organisations) to achieve their full potential and therefore share many similarities. However, there are three key differences, which influence choosing the most appropriate intervention. 1. Qualifications and Experience Coaches do not need any specialist experience within the area in which their client requires support and as such, do not offer ‘advice’. They are skilled in questioning and listening (as are many mentors) but it is the coach’s role to enable individuals to find answers within themselves. Mentors are usually experts within a particular field and have a wide-ranging and recognised wealth of experience within the field in which they are advising and supporting others. Nonetheless, mentors should be skilled and experienced in managing relationships and communication processes. 2. Focus Coaching intends to improve and develop work-related skills and knowledge, which are often performance related. It concentrates on specific issues (goals) with clear outcomes. It is the coaches’ role to enable the individuals to find answers within themselves and is dependent upon each individual’s motivation to succeed. The focus of a mentoring relationship is more on developing individual and work-related capability and talent. It often forms part of management or career development programmes. It has a structure but less ‘defined’ outcomes than specified for coaching. The mentor supports and guides the individual as part of a development path, which ‘opens doors, shares experiences and widens networking systems’. 3. Timing Coaching is usually a ‘time bound’ relationship with a defined duration to meet the specific goal identified. Individuals will often use the same coach to support them with different issues. Mentoring relationships can go on for a long time, seeing progress through many stages and often survive through numerous relocation and career changes. However, the success of either of these interventions is dependent upon the skills of the provider, often left to managers according the CIPD survey, who may not have the capacity or the ability to deliver.


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best recruiters use big data and AI to free time by automating tasks such as sourcing. This gives the recruiter more time to focus on what matters: creating and filling roles that help organizations fulfill their strategic agenda.”

by Korn Ferry(NYSE:KFY) shows that professionals

The top benefit of working with a recruiter, accord-

have less trust in AI than in human recruiters.

ing to the survey, is the ability to build strong re-

EDITOR’S NOTE: Survey results at bottom of release While nearly three quarters of those surveyed (72 percent) said AI should be used during the recruitment process, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said it wouldn’t be fair if AI alone chose who should be interviewed without the input of a human recruiter. In addition, nearly half (41 percent) said they feel uncomfortable dealing with AI instead of a human recruiter as part of the process, and 76 percent said they trust AI less than a person to guide the job search process. “AI, when coupled with machine learning, is an incredibly strong tool in the journey to source and select the most qualified candidates, but it’s just that, a ‘tool,’” said Matt Heckler, general manager, Global Client Platform Solutions, Korn Ferry. “The JAN-FEB-MAR 2019

lationships. While 90 percent of respondents said technology cannot replace the human interaction required to recruit effectively, respondents did cite benefits of using AI in the recruiting process. When asked what they value most from AI being used in recruiting, 30 percent said it makes the process go faster; and a quarter believe it helps take bias out of the equation. “As AI continues to become part of our everyday lives, we can expect to see an increase in the adoption and integration of this emerging technology to help talent acquisition professionals be even more efficient and effective,” continued Heckler. “From freeing up time for strategic thought and relationship building to helping talent acquisition professionals better understand their markets, the intelligent use of technology provides an exciting path for the recruiter of the future.”





Sales Center Seeks to Change the Game




The 1000M Sales Gallery, designed by Kenneth Riha, ASID of PJR Design, has been presented with numerous awards including the 2018 Gold Award for Best Presentation Center awarded by The Nationals new home sales and marketing awards. This state-of-the-art Sales Gallerywas buit in a first floor retail space that reflects the image of the proposed building for an upper end luxury buyer using the latest technology. The materials, the lighting and the attention to detail of the wall, floor, ceiling and casework all contribute to the ambiance of the 7500 sq ft space. For a seamless sales process, a custom technology app was created for iPads and InterActive Monitors. The customer experience begins with creating a customer profile on an iPad. They are then shown an overview of the property with a 3.5 minute video with helicopter cinematography combined with VR animation. The video is sync’d to the lights built within the Scale Model to highlight the location of various levels and amenities of the building. The Sales Agent is also able to control the 16,000 LED lights in the Scale Model showcasing the unit number, price point and availability. To explain in detail the project to each customer, an InterActive Kiosk is used with a 55” 4K multi-touch monitor in combination with a vertical 84” 4K monitor. The architecture of the building rotates and expands as it rises, resulting in 177 floor plans which are presented on the InterActive Kiosk and vertical monitor. A rotating


3D image of the building allows the Sales Agent to present the floor plans with and without furniture, and showcasing Interior VR Renderings and Views for each unit on the vertical 84” monitor. In addition, the Sales Agent can present 2 floor plans on the 84” monitor for comparison, while creating a history and profile of the customer’s unit preferences. Once completed with the Kiosk presentation, the customer is then shown the various views of their unit selection on an immense multi monitor wall, 28’W x 9’H, from daylight to night. The ultra-high resolution “View Wall” is all controlled by the iPad. And the images are from every 5 levels in a panoramic so you can see 360 degree views. Next, they are shown 3 furnished model vignettes with a backdrop of a single 76’W x12’ backlit mural showing a view from the 55th floor. Once the tour of the vignettes is completed, there are 3 professionally designed color schemes presented to the customer for their selection. After the tour, the Sales Agent can then have a private conversation in their Sales Office utilizing a 55” 4K multi-touch monitor to review the customer’s selections. To add to the ambiance, soothing music and a subtle seasonal scent fills the Sales Gallery and Vignettes completing the entire experience.



company culture




In a War for Talent,

Companies Rethink Workplace Dress Codes


TALENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS An Introduction To Our Employee Coaching Services


AN INVESTMENT THAT PAYS OFF In study after study, McKinsey has found that

Employees come first. Take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients. RICHARD BRANSON

employee engagement, an index of bringing one’s best and full self to work, “is not just an organizational nicety. It is a business imperative, linked to a number of performance outcomes, including profitability, customer satisfaction and turnover.”1

Investing in expert employee coaching is the single most effective way to help staff develop better habits, attitudes and behaviors, resulting in higher levels of engagement and improved performance across your entire organization. Read on to learn the benefits of GrayMatter’s Talent Development Programs.


TALENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS An Introduction To Our Employee Coaching Services | 2

1. INCREASE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT In 2016, only 33% of U.S. employees were engaged—involved in, enthusiastic about and committed—to their work and workplace.


While it’s true you can’t control the personalities of the people you employ, you can create an environment of growth and opportunity through coaching. GrayMatter’s Talent Development Programs train your employees in key mindset shifts and strategies that lead to greater positivity, productivity and engagement. Plus, by investing in your employees, you are demonstrating that you value them and their contribution to your company. This goes a long way for any employee, but especially for millenials (more about that on the following page).

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2. BRING UNTAPPED POTENTIAL TO THE SURFACE 80% of those who have received coaching report positive impacts in areas such as work performance, communication skills, productivity, well-being, and business management strategies. 3

It’s well known that personality, more than job skills, sets great employees apart. While managers can teach associates skills or direct them on their responsibilities, it’s not realistic to expect them to help associates develop effective habits and behavior. GrayMatter’s Talent Development Programs work to strengthen personality through optimized behavioral skills and EQ qualities that result in greater success for the individual employee and teams at large. And, when employees invest in themselves, they invest more in their jobs. Our coaching will give your employees the tools they need to focus, manage their time, set goals, face challenges, deliver value and ultimately, reach their full potential.

GrayMatter provides a private, worry-free environment for our leadership to tackle challenges head on. I’m tremendously pleased with the results. DAVID BRIDGES, THE L AB

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3. REDUCE EMPLOYEE CHURN RATES Some psychologists call the “inner work” of coaching the ultimate retention strategy because employees are happiest when they are engaged and given opportunities for personal growth. This is especially true for millenials, 22 percent of whom are seeking professional development more than any other workplace benefit.4 Employee turnover is also incredibly expensive. As an example, if you are a 150 person company with 1 1 percent annual turnover, and you spend $25k on per person on hiring, $10k on each of turnover and development, and lose $50k of productivity opportunity cost on average when refilling a role, then your annual cost of turnover would be about $1.57 million. 5 Alternatively, you could spend $41,250 on GrayMatter’s 8-Week Talent Development Program for that same 1 1 percent of your employees and develop them into long-term, productive members of your team. When looked at this way, the value of employee coaching becomes obvious.


of millenials said that offering career training and development would keep them from leaving their current position BRIDGE 6


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4. BUILD A HEALTHY CULTURE Training aims to establish a well-informed, high-performing workforce. Coaching works to maintain it. 7

As more and more employees are coached by GrayMatter, your organization builds a “coaching culture.” This is a culture of consistent behavior with a shared language and expectations across departments. It means that the everyday environment lends itself better to managers providing regular feedback, which will result in increased productivity and decreased drama. Additionally, your employees who have gone through coaching with us will be better prepared to take on the role of mentoring new hires, supervise their own teams and take the lead on projects. Best of all, when employees are consistently offered opportunities to grow and lead, they become more satisfied with their work and committed to the organization-at-large—which leads to a healthier workplace culture for all.

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5. IMPROVE YOUR BOTTOM LINE McKinsey found that organizations with highly engaged employees are “60 percent more likely to be in the top quartile for overall business health.” 8

Traditionally, coaching has been offered to the upper echelons of business professionals—executive and C-level talent. But, coaching is equally effective, if not more so, when offered to associates with potential and emerging leaders. Since these employees make up the largest segment of an organization, providing coaching to them can have an outsized impact on a company’s balance sheet.


of companies say they at least made their investment [in coaching] back ICF 9


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WHY GRAYMATTER COACHING? Employee coaching is an extremely cost effective way to increase employee engagement and improve performance by the individual and for your company overall. As a certified coach, I combine 20+ years of experience as an employee and as a leader in major corporations with my specialized training in modifying mindset, habit, and behavior, to help employees improve their performance. My coaching techniques work from the inside out to teach practical, on-thejob strategies. Employees become more self-aware and learn to manage their minds, their moods, and their behavior. This deeper, more engaged way of thinking, also makes them more other-aware as they stop playing the blame game and start looking at how they can take an active role in their own success. I offer an 8-Week Talent Development Program as well as coaching programs tailored to suit your company’s unique needs in the following areas: Leadership Development, Workplace Relationships, Entitlement vs. Effort, Time Management & Productivity, Confidence & Independence, Problem Solving & Critical Thinking and Thought Leadership. Let me know how I can help!

Contact Me For A Free Strategy Session Let me know how I can help your company unleash the full potential of your employees and create a positive impact on your business. BJ GRAY

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people & projects


“DSI is the best General Contractor you may not have ever heard of and I look forward to making DSI the best General contractor you HAVE heard of” said Chuck Blatt, Marketing Director at Development Solutions Inc. Chuck’s main goal at DSI will be to take them to the next level in the Chicago market. DSI has grown exponentially in the last decade and looks forward to even more growth with the addition of this newly offered position. “With annual revenues of over $100 Million we are looking for continued controlled growth Chuck Blatt is joining the team at Development with our new marketing efforts. As we grow Solutions Inc. in a new position that has not and mature as a company we not only look to been offered by DSI before, Marketing Director. build, we look to give back.” Chuck said. Chuck brings over 20 years’ experience in Chuck will help promote the DSI Cares Marketing with first-hand knowledge of Retail, initiative, which will be giving back to the Real Estate Development, and Construction. community through various projects & charitable efforts. DSI will be participating, Chuck has spent his career in Chicago after graduating from Illinois State University with a organizing and raising money for not for profits in the area. Marketing Degree. His early career was in retail which then transitioned into Real Estate development where he was an integral part of the sale of a $165 Million high rise in the early 2000s. Mr. Blatt has devoted his career to Marketing, which is his passion. He utilizes the company’s strengths and his knowledge of marketing to further the company’s goals & objectives. Chuck is an avid social media marketer and keeps up with the latest’s Marketing trends.


“I look forward to the challenge to take DSI to the next level and giving back to the community,” said Chuck Blatt, Marketing Director at Development Solutions, Inc. DSI was founded in 1992 and is experienced in all types of construction, including office, industrial, retail, education, banking and healthcare facility projects. With annual revenue over $100 million annually, the firm seeks out opportunities to not only build but to give back. Blatt will help promote the firm’s DSI Cares initiative, which will be giving back to the community through various projects and

charitable efforts, participating, organizing and raising money for not for profits in the area. DSI has recently completed an innovative project in the West Loop’s most vibrant neighborhood, Fulton Market where Industrious, a premier provider of co-working space, selected Development Solutions Inc. (DSI) as general contractor to construct their 2nd Chicago location through a negotiated bid process.

ceilings for a contemporary industrial loft look. The project was completed on schedule and on budget to the project team’s satisfaction. Another project completed by DSI at 1900 Spring Road in Oakbrook, Managed by Franklin Partners, spans 107,780 SF with a tenant mix of legal, development, financial services, healthcare and non-profit organizations.

“DSI was our general contractor for the The space consists of 41,000 SF over two floors renovation of 1900 Spring Road which is known in the marketplace as the “Citi Bank with multiple conference rooms, lounge areas, building” located within the Oak Brook Center team rooms, private offices and multipurpose ring. DSI played a pivotal role in transforming areas. this institutionally built office tower it into This first generation project was executed while a strong boutique building. The project the building shell was under construction and, included significant renovations to the lobby, as a result, DSI installed all the mechanical, elevators, restrooms, corridors, and amenities, electrical and plumbing infrastructure within which included a fitness center and conference the space. center. The DSI Team is solution oriented, always comes to the table with ideas, and Details included glass walled offices, wood consistently acts like true partners in paneling, custom millwork, polished concrete delivering the project.” floors, pendant LED lighting and open exposed


Mosaic Construction, Northbrook, has named KC Downer as a Project Manager. KC has consistently delivered projects on time and under budget by using standardized processes and procedures to reduce risk and increase efficiency. “KC has a successful track record of delivering a diverse portfolio of projects, ranging from ground-up retail construction, multi-acre site developments, mid-rise office interiors, pet hospitals, structural renovations, and industrial interiors, totaling over 500,000 square feet,” according to Ira Singer, Mosaic Construction principal. In his spare time, KC coaches his son’s basketball and baseball teams and enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors with his wife, son, and daughter. He attended Northern Illinois University, where he studied Business Administration and Management.

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1 Private offer amount varies by model. City Express and Low Cab Forward receive a $250 Offer for both Fleet and Retail deliveries. Fleet deliveries on the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Silverado, Express, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Acadia, Sierra, Savana, Yukon, XL receive a $1,000 Offer. All other Fleet or Retail deliveries receive a $500 Offer. Valid toward the purchase or lease of eligible new 2017 and 2018 model year vehicles. Offer excludes Chevrolet Bolt, Camaro, SS, Corvette, Sonic, Spark, Trax, Volt, Buick Cascada, LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, and all Cadillac vehicles. Additional GM models may be excluded from time to time at GM’s sole discretion. Customer must take delivery by 1/2/2019. Not compatible with some other offers. Not valid on prior purchases. See dealer for details. ©2018 General Motors, LLC. All rights reserved. The marks appearing in this ad are the trademarks or service marks of GM, its subsidiaries, affiliates, or licensors.


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FitzGerald Expands Market Reach Through Strategic Partnership Two years ago, a relationship began between two like-minded firms: FitzGerald, a leader in the design of multi-family housing, and DBI Architects, an innovator in commercial office buildings and workplace design. Initially formed to pursue mixed-use projects as an alliance leveraging both firms’ talent and experience, this relationship has developed into DBI + FitzGerald, a strategic partnership seeking to extend our combined reach in two geographic regions and market sectors—and to tackle large, complex projects that present with a variety of program and planning challenges. DBI, headquartered in the Washington, DC area, is a 45-year-old firm of 40 professionals with deep expertise in commercial office architecture and interiors. FitzGerald, headquartered in Chicago, is a firm of 55 professionals with a 100year legacy of multi-family housing, mixed-use, and adaptive reuse architecture and design experience.

planning services to clients who share the firm’s belief that well-designed environments foster meaningful human interaction and successful business outcomes. The firm’s projects span a broad range of types, including commercial developments and workplaces, worldclass corporate headquarters, and federal government offices, as well as highly specialized “stealth” facilities for military and intelligence agencies requiring advanced communications environments. In the Washington, DC region, DBI has designed 115 million square feet of office space for the commercial real estate community; federal government; defense contractor industry; non-profit and nongovernmental organizations; and technology firms. To learn more about our alliance and how it can help bring your next project to life, contact Mike Breclaw at or (312) 563-9100. You can also read about our firms and our collective experience at

Sharing a vision of strong and sustainable growth, we provide our clients with an exceptional level of design expertise on projects that draw from our collective knowledge and deep bench of experienced leaders, architects, and designers. At FitzGerald, we are excited by this alliance. As our clients diversify their development portfolios, we can bring the assets and talents of DBI into our team. Already, we are working jointly on nationwide workplace projects for the online retailer Chewy, as well as two residential projects, two commercial office buildings, and the adaptive reuse of a warehouse as a mixeduse office development.

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finding a niche


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