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JB Guru? McKinney Now Part Of Team Benham!

JB Guru? McKinney NOw Part of Team BenhaM!

Tech titans together: Rob McKinney (left), the ConAppGuru, this week smiles with James Benham, aka JBKnowledge.

Tech titans together: Rob McKinney (left), the ConAppGuru, this week smiles with James Benham, aka JBKnowledge.

by ROB McKINNEY, aka ConAppGuru | Jan 13, 2016

My growth and transformation from being a construction safety & risk manager to a construction technologist has been a steady progression over the past few years. In my presentations, I always joke with the crowd about my lifelong fascination with technology. Whether it was my first Commodore 64, Atari Game system, or the newest iPad, I have always enjoyed exploring how technology can educate, entertain, and improve our world. So where am I going with this?

Well, this week, I am excited, honored and proud to make a major announcement. Drum roll please…

Your friendly neighborhood ConAppGuru has joined forces with the one and only James Benham and the JBKnowledge team!  Yes indeed, you did read that correctly.

Predictions 2016: Read the Guru's three-part series!

Predictions 2016: Read the Guru's three-part series!

The ConAppGuru is now part of the amazing JBKnowledge team. As a consultant to them, I’m excited to transition from the operational side of the industry to helping contractors to optimize their operations with innovative technology strategies and solutions. The mission going forward is simple: I will continue to research, write and speak about the most relevant and useful apps and platforms to improve workflows.

THE BACKSTORY :  I remember hearing James for the first time at the AGC IT Forum Conference in 2014. As he was speaking about the current state of technology, I thought to myself, “This guy really gets it!” After his presentation, I introduced myself and got his contact info to set up an interview with him for my blog site. It was over the next year that we began attending and presenting at the same conferences. The more I heard him speak, the more inspired I became about the possibilities for technology in construction.

Over the past few years, I have been searching for a team to join where I could focus on helping others in our industry learn how to use technology to improve their business workflows. After speaking with James at a few conferences, the idea came up, 'Why not join the JBKnowledge team?' There were a few personal obstacles that I had to work through to make this idea become a reality, but I am now excited to be able to offer advanced levels of consulting services for improving tech programs.

THE OPPORTUNITY : This industry has a reputation for being slow to change and adopt new technology. During my career, I have witnessed a lot of resistance to change. I began doing technology focused 'lunch and learns' a few years ago with the local AGC of Georgia chapter. During these events, I realized how little construction industry professionals were using technology to make their lives easier. (Back in 2013, the idea of using an iPad on a jobsite was just such a foreign concept.)

I think our industry is just now scratching the surface of how apps and mobile devices can improve workflows
— Rob McKinney, JBKnowledge

Earlier this year, my daughter watched a cartoon movie called The Kroods. In one scene, the dad tells his children a story with the punch line, “Anything new is BAD!”  That scene gave me a feeling of deja vu. It stirred in my soul a series of memories about previous conversations with industry veterans who had scoffed and laughed at the idea of using a laptop in the field to compile a punch list, to view plans on an iPad, or to conduct a virtual safety inspection via Facetime on an iPhone.

I think our industry is just now scratching the surface of how apps and mobile devices can improve workflows on project sites. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a change in how projects are bid, managed and closed out. The era of paper-based processes is over and we are moving into the era of digital-based management. My new role at JBKnowledge will allow me to help companies unlock the power of new tech to improve their existing tech and core business workflows. My mission to educate and consult with the AEC community about new technology advances is more solid than ever.

THE TEAM :  I think the JBKnowledge team is amazing, to say the least. The company operates with offices and staff in a few countries and throughout the U.S. Each team member is focused on making the business world a better place, so the company is truly an American Dream! How many companies can say that they started out of a college dorm room and grew into an innovative industry leader?

Along with the consulting service I will help to deliver, JBKnowledge develops a variety of cloud, mobile and wearable solutions for construction and insurance companies. JBKnowledge is also the maker of the SmartBidNet construction bid software, SmartReality augmented reality mobile app, and the SmartInsight online construction network. They’re a family of professionals building great technology – and I am now proud to be a part of it.

THE FUTURE : The ConAppGuru blog site started out as a written format dedicated to app and hardware reviews with discussions about workflows. For 2016, JBKnowledge and I have a few new things planned: podcasts, webinars and more “tech roadshows”.

  • Podcast: We have plans to launch a podcast show focused on construction technology;
  • Webinars:  Look for a new series about relevant construction tech that can improve workflows;
  • Tech Roadshows: Be ready to attend regional events hosted in partnership with various industry trade associations and possibly other groups.

These are just a few of the surprises we have in store for you in 2016!

Along with contributing educational content and research through media and events, my primary focus at JBKnowledge will be on the consulting services we are offering. So, if your company would like to develop, improve or refine its tech use, please reach out to me so that we can begin a conversation. 

 Joining this team has allowed me to fully unlock my creative juices. They have a saying that rings true for me now: “I am in the right seat, on the right bus, with the right team.”

I look forward to seeing where this bus will take us!  Stay tuned…

A frequent contributor to BW, the author's new e-mail is

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