Podcast: The Building BITE

Season 2 Episode 6: Higher Ed. Solving Industry Imperatives


Please tune in to this episode of The Building BITE Podcast, as we hear from industry experts about key topics to help you be successful. The Building BITE hosts Chris Epps, PSP, LEED AP and Mike Diercksen, CRIS, welcome Paul Holley, Professor within the McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University.


Paul begins the episode by sharing his background as an Auburn Undergrad and then working as a project Superintendent for Robins and Morton, one of ENR’s top general contractors. After that, he became a Division Manager at BL Harbert International and continued his education at Auburn and Harvard. Paul describes stumbling back to teaching after a former professor reached out to him. Twenty years later, he is still there.


Paul then takes our listeners into the main topic of solving industry imperatives in higher education. He shares the Innovation Center’s first project nearly 15 years ago and how students and industry partners worked together to identify problems – or as he describes - industry imperatives. These are thought leaders in academia who are problem seekers. These collaborative minds work together to develop solutions. Finally, listeners get an inside peek at some of the current imperatives, including using technology on the job sites and how they are working to address the skilled labor shortage.


For an industry that is often slow to change or adapt to technology, Paul shares his three takeaways for those in construction, which include:

  1. It is a roller-coaster. Easy to get passed by if you are not going to innovate: Change in the construction and academia world is happening at an increasing rate – it’s easy to be passed by if you are not innovative.
  2. Working with academic partners has significant benefits – you get student and faculty perspectives. These are often fresh ideas that can impact change.
  3. If you want to work with an academic partner – you have to be patient. Academia runs on a different calendar. Can provide excellent and innovative solutions but require a longer timeline and willingness to partner long term.


To learn more about how Auburn University is solving industry imperatives, tune in to his podcast episode!


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Connect with Paul on LinkedIn
View the McWhorter School of Building Science website at https://cadc.auburn.edu/construction/
View the Center for Construction Innovation and Collaboration at https://auburnccic.org/
Email Paul at hollepw@auburn.edu
Connect with Chris Epps
Connect with Mike Diercksen

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