London Calling! (Part I)


black British taxi in front of two double-decker buses

Last week our CEO, John Tocci attended and spoke at the London BIM Conference hosted by Autodesk, Inc.

Here is his first-person account of the trip (to be presented in three parts):


“We arrived in London on Wednesday, September 29th around 8 PM, and were greeted by the classic British weather: rain, fog, and chilly temperatures.  But London kept the lights on for us as we took a traditional black taxi ride from Saint Pancras Station to our hotel, only to find out that they were having gas problems and there wasn’t any hot water, oh well.  I had spent most of the 6-hour flight from Boston working on my PowerPoint for the conference the next day and when we got to the hotel I resumed working on it for another 4 hours until I got it mostly together and narrowed it down.  By this time it was 12:30 PM and the bar and café would be shutting down by 1 AM so Lila [John Tocci’s lovely wife of  35 years] and I headed downstairs for a drink and a sandwich.  I had to meet the ADSK staff at the facility at 7 am to walk through logistics for my presentation and the morning breakfast meeting.

The plan was to speak three times: once at a CEO breakfast meeting with leaders of several leading UK construction companies, architectural firms, and a few owners; once at the morning presentation, and lastly at the afternoon presentation.  The breakfast meeting was about 25 people. This was a good group – several leading architects who asked probing questions and construction firms of excellent caliber. I was introduced and asked to talk about the impact of BIM on our business and the story of BIM in the US.  Rather than stand up to make a formal presentation I asked to remain seated at the center of the long breakfast table so we could have a discussion rather than a speech.  Folks responded well and it allowed interruption with questions and good fellowship around the issues.  Phil Bernstein, V.P. at Autodesk sat to my left and was very helpful (as always) in supporting the message and adding practical anecdotes of our experiences on the Autodesk Trapelo Road Project and elsewhere.   I shared our travels from lonely to social to intimate BIM and people responded with both interest and challenging questions regarding ROI, liability issues, and cost questions.  I gave folks real metrics and it seemed like the first time they had ever heard hard numbers on the cost to convert 2D docs (several actively taking notes at that point) and other benefit statistics.

The discussion was robust and active until we ran out of time.  It’s always best to leave before you’re outta of gas eh?  We were hustled out of the breakfast meeting room into the main hall.  This conference was originally expected to attract 150 attendees.  As responses came in they planned for 250.  By Monday they had 400 and started a waiting list with over 50 people.  Obviously, the UK is starting to understand the importance of this topic as it gains deep traction in the US.”

To be continued…