We had the opportunity to interview Wesley Benn, the Executive Chair of RTC Events Management Globally. He is a New York-born, Sydney-raised Architect who spends his time travelling to find, set-up and run AEC-focused events all over the world. He loves his job!
Q. Please tell us about your professional background and experience.
A. I received my degree in Sydney and after a few years of working for others I set up my own architectural practice. Most of this work was in luxury homes and medium-density residential design, with substantial commercial work and the odd random building type thrown in. I have also spent many years providing BIM consulting services, and then working with the board’s of several companies to provide BIM and technology strategies. I’ve recently shutdown my practice due to time pressures from the work in RTC and in conjunction to this I am now also doing work in Smart Cities development, predominantly in China and the Middle East.
Q. What is RTC Events Management?
A. RTC Events Management is an organisation I built to respond to the desire of the Australian AECO community members for greater information sharing, and networking opportunities than were available to them through the normal course of their professional careers. The events that we create and run focus only on our industry and strive to balance the need for technical knowledge with the fostering of a community that functions and adds value to people's professional and personal lives throughout the year. We now have 4 offices around the world and a team of staff and volunteers of 60 people spread across 34 cities in 8 countries.
Q. What can you tell us about the 2018 RTC North America Event?
A. I have been very excited about this year's North American event as we have a really broad range of subject material for people to choose from, plus we are in a truly spectacular venue (The Union Station Hotel). And our Thursday night social at the City Museum in St Louis is going to be epic! I have visited 100's of museums all over the world as part of the RTC site selection processes, and this is easily in my top three of all time. It is not to be missed!
Q. What is new and interesting that you want our members to know about?
A. For people attending BILT they will have the opportunity this year to also attend some of the Building Content Summit sessions, giving them a look at another event designed for our industry that addresses important issues to all of us, from a very different angle. Well worth taking a look. With our theme this year focusing on transport, The Glorious Gadgets booth in the exhibition hall will have a couple of demo 'transport' items that people can test their coordination on..... 🙂 On Wednesday, the day before the primary event, we are running an Open Door program that gives people arriving early an opportunity to visit some local AEC firms and learn about how people practice design and construction in the local context.
Q. What new and innovative technologies will be showcased or presented at the event?
A. Throughout our events in 2017 and 2018 we have been working with HVE Connexions to provide all of our lab experiences based on a local server and virtual clients. While this concept is far from new, HVE's implementation is innovative and well worth people taking a look. This year there is a class for people who want to know more about this. We have seen a wave of classes on learning show up in abstracts this year and there are several to chose from in the schedule. Two classes that grabbed my attention are 'Augmented Reality and Deep Learning in the Design Process", by Alberto Tono, and a class and lab combination on "Machine Learning, it's not just for Data Scientists" by Nick Kovach. Here is the true next frontier for many people.
Q. Are there any presenters that will attend the event that you would like to call special attention to?
A. On Friday morning we have a Q+A session with a whole bunch of top rated speakers – Paul Aubin, Nathan Love, Brian Mackey, Aaron Maller, Andrew Milburn, John Pierson, Marcello Sgambelluri, Carl Storms and Shawn Zirbes to be moderated by Desiree Mackey. This is a top-notch line up. well worth listening to. Carl Storms also returns with more great material, including a primer on the value of IoT sensors for the AEC industry. Finally, Heather Worrell will lead a panel discussion about 'Women in BIM' that goes to the heart of the development of our community.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us!