Recognizing Future AEC Leaders

future leaders in construction

I recently learned about the European Federation of Engineering Consultancy Associations’ fifteenth Future Leader’s Competition. On May 23, 2024, the organization awarded four individuals.

Diego Apellániz Quintana from Germany was the overall winner. He created an innovative tool integrating AI, structural design, and CO2 assessment.

The Digital & New Technologies award went to 29-year-old Matias Hirvikoski of the Finnish AINS Group. I know Matias personally and can attest to his tech-savviness.

Matias developed Vibmapper, a tool for analyzing railway-induced vibrations. It collects open data from various sources, models the impact of structure-borne noise and vibration on tens of thousands of properties, and helps identify appropriately scaled mitigation solutions. The application has improved quality, significantly saved money and materials in several railway projects, and has the potential for internationalization.

Matias Hirvikoski (Photo: AINS Group, 2024)

Giving Young Talent a Chance

Recognizing industry leaders can boost their careers and inspire other young professionals. It also highlights the importance of supporting these champions within companies.

As a young professional, I had the privilege of working for Professor Erik Kråkström. He had seen computers used for design at Berkeley University and wanted to explore emerging CAD technology within his architecture practice.

Together with two wonderful colleagues, Christer Finne and Winni Ekelund, we started applying and developing CAD for architectural design.

Our work at the time was pioneering. The visionary leadership, willingness to invest in new tech (despite its high cost), and the freedom given to young professionals led to great results within a few years. I saw similar progress in other Finnish companies.

Competitive advantage potential

Nowadays, technology is more accessible and affordable compared to the 1980s. What we still need is support for young innovators. AEC company owners and management teams must allow them to explore and use new technologies.

As industry professionals, they are not just experimenting with cool tech. They are developing solutions that can provide a competitive advantage for the company in the long run.

I hosted a panel discussion earlier this week with construction company CEOs. They agreed that investing in development is necessary even during this construction downturn. “There’s no other way,” one of them concluded.

NOTE! The WDBE Awards call is open until June 16, 2024! Submit your research project, solution, collaborative concept, or anything relevant to one of the six categories promoting sustainable digitalization in the built environment.

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