DiscoverThe Lean Construction Blog's Podcast
The Lean Construction Blog's Podcast
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The Lean Construction Blog's Podcast

Author: Dick Bayer

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A podcast dedicated to stories, case studies and lessons learned of applying Lean Construction from around the world.
26 Episodes
Watch on Youtube.Mark Van Buren came to Queens University in Kington, Ontario looking for a degree in Architecture.  He stayed 8 years and ended up with Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, concentrating on water management.  He spent the next decade or so in California and Milwaukee on large water management projects, largely storm run-off systems.  Turns out the storm was in the contract delivery system and not in the pipes.  Disgruntled with the delivery process, he jumped at the chance to head back to Kingston about 20 years ago.  Since then he has risen through City Engineering ranks to become the Deputy Commissioner of Major Projects.  In that capacity he and his team just delivered the Waaban Crossing, the “third” crossing in Kingston that unites the City through the middle of the Cataraqui River.  The $180M dollar IPD project was the first IPD bridge project in Canada.  Unlike most civil structures and megaprojects, this one landed in Bent Flyvbjerg’s .5% of projects:  it was on time, on budget and delivered all the benefits initially proposed.  Join us for a thoughtful hour with this unique bridgebuilder.
Watch on Youtube.Stuart Eckblad has been thinking divergently since he left home for Kent State to pursue a degree in architecture.  That led him to the University of Wisconsin where he received a masters degree in Environmental Design.  He was particularly interested in the effect of color on human beings.   That kind of curiosity inspired a long career dedicated to moving from traditional delivery to a new vocabulary in the built environment, one that focused on collaboration, integration, purpose and innovation.  Join us for a glimpse of the life that led Stuart to found the Center for Innovation in Construction and lead the current team building the $4.5 B Parnassus Heights hospital program.
Watch on Youtube.Jessica Kelley lives in the Pennsylvania farm house she grew up in, and that her Mom also grew up in.  Her two-year-old son is the fourth generation in that house.  While she is obviously honours her traditions, she is also one of the great pioneers and innovators in our lean community.  She participated in the first IPD project with Sutter, helped drive the most successful Community of Practice in Northern California for LCI and worked with mechanical design/build leader Southland Corporation.  She is now director of Lean Delivery at Merck Pharmaceutical and joins us on the podcast to talk about what Owners need from the design and construction supply chain.
Watch on Youtube.There is much talk these days about women in construction. How about a woman who’s name is synonymous with thought leadership in construction?  Iris Tommelein describes herself as a secular humanist. She balks at being called the high priestess but she surely is a Grand Dame of lean construction. She leads, and founded with Glenn Ballard in 2005, the Project Production Systems Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.  At Berkeley, she has guided, mentored and presided over the PhD journeys of some of the Lean Community’s most well-known academicians and luminaries.  She was one of four founders of the Lean Construction Institute in 1997. She is among the leaders of the International Group for Lean Construction. The Project Production Institute recently recognized her with their 2022 Technical Achievement Award.  LCI recognized her with their prestigious Pioneer’s Award in 2015. She has been a member of the National Academy of Construction since 2019.  Join Dick Bayer as he spends an hour with the legendary Dr. Tommelein. 
Watch on YoutubeWill Lichtig is Executive VP and Chief of Staff at The Boldt Company. Many know Will by his informal title, "Chief Provocateur."  Will was the author of the original Integrated Form of Agreement and has been central to the development and implementation of lean processes for target value design, lean production planning and control, Built in Quality, lean problem solving, and other key processes that provide innovative approaches to project delivery.  Saying that he is a leader in the lean and integrated project delivery movement almost understates his importance to our community. He is a former Board member of the Lean Construction Institute and recipient of the 2nd Pioneer Award from LCI that “ recognizes individuals who have moved the design and construction industry forward in embracing and implementing Lean tools and techniques.”  He was preceded only by Greg Howell and Glenn Ballard.
Watch on Youtube.Dr. Andreas Phelps is an original thinker of the first order.  He has a phd in Construction Management from Penn State University and is the CEO of the Collective Potential.  He lives with his talented wife and two incredible kids off the grid in a tiny house in the Bay Area.  His Tiny House Presentation at the 2021 LCI Congress was so popular he was brought back to this year’s Congress to keynote the opening of the Congress, speaking on intentionality and leadership.  Join us as we discuss living an intentional life that is intentionally lean.
Watch on Youtube.Mike Casten started his construction career as a carpenters’ apprentice before attending Colorado State University as an Industrial Construction Management major.  He was working with Hensel Phelps when he was introduced to time lapse photography and Greg Howell.  He was an early pioneer in the quest for improvement of the productivity of the work at the construction crew level overall as well as overall project performance. Over the last forty plus years he has provided consulting services on projects of every size and type all across the US as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela.  He is currently completing a book on Crew Centered Construction.  Join us as we discuss improving the predictability and reliability of project work flow, the optimizing effectiveness and efficiency of the work at the crew level while supporting a culture of continuous improvement.
Watch on YoutubeGerry McCabe is the Managing Director of Turner and Townsend in Canada.  He was a founding member of his own company that was acquired by Turner and Townsend in 2010.  He grew up in Belfast during the “troubles.”  He came to Canada to visit relatives originally and decided to stay.  He’s a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and one of the most interesting people you’ll meet.  Come join as we chat about how to estimate the cost of something that hasn’t been designed and what to look for in Canadian Supply Chains in the next 5 years.
View the PPI website: on Youtube.Gary Fischer is currently the Executive Director of the Project Production Institute (PPI). After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University he spent 40 years in Chevron’s capital projects organization. Gary was responsible for Chevron’s project management system and led the group that provided functional expertise across the corporation’s capital projects portfolio. He pioneered Chevron’s implementation of Project Production Management on capital projects which he shares with us in this episode of the Podcast.
Watch on Youtube.Rex Miller was a successful manager for a major office furniture manufacturer when he got down-sized—as in out of a job.  He knows hard times. He also knows resilience, perseverance, creativity and leadership. Rex has coached hundreds of teams in North America to understand their strengths and deliver on their commitments.  He kicked off a lot of people’s thinking around lean construction when he wrote the Commercial Real Estate Revolution with a team of like-minded believers.    Perhaps nothing describes his life better than his own introduction on his Linked-In page:  “I am on a journey to help 1 million people discover their lost Genius Spark, to be clear about their unique purpose and resilient under any conditions.”  Join Rex for an hour of reminisces and rejoinders on what was behind and what lays ahead.
Watch on Youtube.Jennifer Kahn has been working at Ellis Don for more than a decade, focusing on inclusion, diversity and  people and culture.  In April, she was named Vice President with that same portfolio.  “I am proud to be part of the ongoing education, awareness and real conversations on Inclusive Diversity at EllisDon,” she says. “As a working mother of two boys, a visible minority with immigrant parents, who’s married to a Canadian Muslim, diversity is part of my everyday life and I hope to continue to provide a safe space for all employees to feel seen and heard.”  She joins us to discuss all those issues with a candidness and perspicacity we think you’ll enjoy.
Mark Konchar learned how to collaborate, growing up playing hockey.  He is one of the PhD’s that Victor Sanvido turned out of Penn State that has so influenced our community.  He and Victor collaborated on an early Design Build Study sponsored by the Construction Industry Institute.  He’s a co-author of Change Your Space, Change Your Culture with Rex Miller and others.  Mark served as chair of the Board of the Lean Construction Institute and was Balfour Beatty’s Chief Innovation Officer for a decade.  Now a senior vice president in charge of BB’s rail unit, he’s helping develop that much needed aspect of infrastructure.  And he’s a hockey coach for his kid’s team and, btw, in the Penn State Hockey Hall of Fame.  Enjoy an hour with Mark Konchar.Watch on Youtube.
Watch on Youtube.The pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine have left all of us in the design and construction industry short of supplies and lack of clarity.  Add to that the labour shortages that are evident in construction and we have a difficult time responding to a very hot construction market.  Dick Bayer talks with Tom Soles, Jim Morgan and Guy Gast about how the mechanical trades are responding to these challenges.  Tom Soles was Executive Director of Member Services for SMACNA until his retirement in 2020. He continues his service to the industry as Executive Director of SMACNA’s New Horizons Foundation.  Jim Morgan is the President/Owner of Worcester Air Conditioning, LLC, a straight-line sheet metal contractor just west of Boston. Guy is the recently retired President of the Iowa Division of The Waldinger Corporation, which employs nearly 2000 construction professionals in the Midwest. From 2015-2016, he served as the National President of SMACNA. He continues today as the chair of the New Horizons Foundation.
Watch on Youtube.Mark Cichy, well-known digital pioneer chats with Dick Bayer about BIM, AI and what’s next in our evolving technological landscape.  Data, information, procedure, and software development will substantially influence work in the built environment. Mark suggests that pre-construction insights and processes can provide consistent and efficient outcomes if we’re willing to make appropriate investments in effective and “smart/intuitive” systems – using tech tools to achieve a defined goal through dynamic constraints.  We should be harnessing on-site and design data to build a better decision tree matrix. Mark advocates for a succinctly connected services and delivery vertical – enhanced by data and process loops – that unifies the digital construction delivery mechanism; disposing of the undesirable inefficiencies and redundancies that currently exist throughout construction, from concept to built form.  Don’t miss this lively and thought provoking discussion. 
Watch on YoutubeBarbara J. Jackson, Ph.D., DBIA is the Director of the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management (RECM) in the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and its Center for Integrated Project Leadership for the Built Environment.Dr. Jackson’s focus is on integrated project delivery, design-build project management, interdisciplinary collaboration, and integrated project leadership. Dr. Jackson spent 20 years in the construction industry working as a project estimator and senior project manager and then as President and Owner of Design/Build Services Inc. She holds a B.S. in Housing and Design, a Masters in Construction Management, and a Ph.D. in Education and Human Resources with a specialization in Technology of Industry from Colorado State University. Dr. Jackson received a Design-Build Distinguished Leadership Award in 2001 and 2002, and the DBIA Distinguished Service Award in 2005. Dr. Jackson is a nationally recognized speaker on design-build project delivery and high performance design-build teams. She also provides private consulting services and coaching to industry.
Henry Nutt has been in the trades for 35 years as a sheet metal worker, foreman, superintendent, and general superintendent. Henry talks about how to make the trades more attractive to young people, allowing people working in the trades to understand that they are professionals in the same esteem as doctors and engineers responsible for millions of dollars of work. He advocates for helping people find their own journey and discover their own AHA moment. Lean is something that he preaches because it makes everyone's life better.Watch on Youtube
In this episode, Amy Marks the Queen of Prefab talks about digital waste and how we can improve the design and construction process. Amy explains how there is a convergence of industrialized production, new business models, and productization of the industry. Instead of design for manufacturing, Amy now stresses on the importance of data for manufacturing.Watch on Youtube
Keyan Zandy is a longtime Lean practitioner, enthusiast, and advocate. As Skiles Group’s COO, he has a dual focus on client service and on nurturing a progressive company culture. He is ultimately responsible for the oversight of the firm’s daily operations and ensuring that their Lean processes are continuously improved and consistently practiced. He is the co-author of The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field, which simplifies and clearly articulates the benefits of seven primary Lean concepts, and delivers them in a highly-relatable, immediately-applicable, and field-friendly manner. Keyan also holds a patent for an award-winning crisis management communication and emergency response tool called Smart Safety where he serves as CEO.Watch on Youtube.
Katherine Copeland has been doing “lean” since she helped organize her father’s shop when she was 10.  She followed her Grandmother to Penn State—her Grandmother was the valedictorian of the class of 1932.  She has followed that pedigree with more—very active in LCI, part of the Southland team at the California Prison Healthcare Receivership and now director of Target Value Delivery with Merck.  Join us as we reminisce and look ahead.Watch on Youtube.
One of Canada's pre-eminent construction lawyers, Geza Banfai worked with the Candian Construction Documents Committee to draft CCDC 30, Canada's first IPD contract.  We visit with Geza to discuss the role of contracts in allowing us to use a full lean design and construction operating platform.  We compare and contrast construction practice in the US and Canada.  And finally we discuss "what's next?"Watch on YouTube.
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