Q&A with Brendon Buckley, IMEG’s Building Intelligence and Integration Services Leader (Podcast included)
Brendon Buckley is IMEG’s Building Intelligence and Integration Services Leader, part of IMEG’s Consulting and Advisory Services. In the Q&A below, Brendon talks about his new role, his background, and the challenges he hopes to solve.
Q: Building Intelligence and Integration is one of IMEG’s emerging Consulting and Advisory Services. Describe your goals as a project executive to grow not only BI&I, but all of IMEG’s advisory services.
A: Given the level of customer-focused innovation within IMEG, it only makes sense to expand on the value we can offer our clients by utilizing technology. Most of our clients desire a “smart building” or “smart campus” at the end of their project to reduce construction and operational costs while improving the impact of the services being provided by the occupants. To design and deliver a smart building, you must have the ability to access, manage, and act on data from many different types of systems. This often includes facility, IT, and business applications that are critical to operations. The Building Intelligence and Integration Team has very strong knowledge in these systems as well as how to best integrate and leverage the data for the client.
This capability will help the rest of IMEG’s advisory services grow by enabling better data and actions that result in better outcomes for our customers.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in technology and building intelligence?
A: I have always enjoyed technology. I began programming when I was 11 years old and building computers by age 15. Nerd alert! I had a very profitable ecommerce site up and running selling fireworks by the age of 16 (shut down by my parents when I was 17). In college, I ran a two-employee company that did network infrastructure and server installation for small companies. Even though I was majoring in international business, I still always seemed to gravitate toward jobs involving data. The way technology can be used to make life better has always interested me.
Q: How will your career to date, and your experiences, serve you in your new role with IMEG and its clients?
A: I have been fortunate enough to have been able to work at two of the best IT consulting and building technology companies in the world: IBM and Johnson Controls (JCI). I was a principal for IBM’s Global Services IT consulting group for five years, where I led a team that worked on numerous public sector projects, mostly in healthcare. I learned a lot from the IBM experience, especially best practices on how to sell and successfully deliver top-tier consulting services. It was during a very large IBM project that my path crossed with JCI. While IBM was very good on typical IT type solutions, I was very interested in the approach JCI had with building technology. At JCI, I was the Senior Director for Technology Solutions and Engineering for 14 years. In this role, I was able to build out their national healthcare consulting practice as well as deliver the technology as a systems integrator. This would enable JCI to sell and deploy not just HVAC, security and fire systems, but typically 10 to 30 other systems as well. Both IBM and JCI have really given me a solid background and experience with how to best deliver a smart building/smart campus for our clients.
Q: The opportunities for “intelligent buildings” or “intelligence in buildings” seems to be integral to many of the firm’s advanced consulting services. What is your philosophy on how owners can best reap the potential benefits of interoperability and the sharing of data among systems?
A: With the increasing cost to deploy and support IT systems today, it is important to get as much value from them as possible. Often, we see customers only using a fraction of a specific software application’s capability. The primary reason is that most owners think in silos with their general operations, and therefore think of their technology in the same way. By sharing relevant data between the different system silos, we can unlock considerably more value because data shared between systems can deliver better context, detail, and insight, which makes it truly actionable. To put it simply, the best way to make a building smart is to make it “aware.” This awareness is the result of multiple sources of data being utilized. For example, in a hospital you can make a room respond to specific events, or even the patient’s and staff’s needs, by integrating clinical and facility system information. There’s potential to impact safety, satisfaction, and operational efficiency without buying more technology.
Q: What are some of the other challenges or issues clients face that your team is looking to solve?
A: Similar to the solutions we provide around the challenge of achieving energy efficiency, we are also able to help clients with operational efficiency. Businesses will always be under pressure to do more with less. This is the reason why many companies are going through some form of digital transformation. To be more competitive, they must innovate and execute more quickly with less cost. Many are turning to process automation using advanced analytics and AI to accomplish it. With our team’s experience in this space—coupled with integration, building, business, and IT systems expertise—we are in a unique position to help our clients solve their problems and achieve their desired outcomes.
Q: How do you relax and unwind? What are your hobbies?
A: I really enjoy sailing and hiking in Northern Michigan. The water up there looks like the Caribbean and the hiking is amazing.
Q: Your LinkedIn profile states you are proficient not only in Spanish but also Mandarin Chinese—one of the most difficult languages to learn. What motivated you to learn this language and how hard was it?
A: My father was a Spanish teacher who also speaks other foreign languages. Growing up, my family often spoke Spanish at home, and I thought it was normal. While in high school, I was fortunate enough to be selected for the first Mandarin pilot program in Indiana. I took four years of it in high school and three years of it in college, in addition to Spanish. Mandarin is as radically different as you would expect. What most fail to appreciate about our language is the alphabet and phonetics. With English, you can always sound out a word—not the case with Chinese characters. It requires tremendous memorization to be able to read and write (minimum 2,000 to 3,000 characters). Unfortunately, that means it is often the first thing you can lose if you don’t practice it frequently.
Q: Do you have anything on a “bucket list” that you wish to do or achieve in the future, either personally or professionally?
A: On the professional side, I would like to build out Consulting and Advisory Services globally. We have amazing talent at IMEG, and with our expanded services capabilities, we have a lot to offer.
As for personal bucket list, I would like to do an ocean crossing by sailboat and get my pilot’s license.
Listen to Brendon talk about building data and digital twins in the two-part IMEG podcast below.