The program for our Infrastructure Imperative conference is set, and it’s an impressive group of talented people and important topics that you won’t want to miss. Sessions cover streamlining project delivery, increasing productivity, and increasing structural quality and resiliency. The lead of each of these sessions, respectively, is Anne Ellis, Gregg Schoppman, and Jacques Marchand. You can click here to learn more about them, but each is an internationally known leader in design and construction. We’re conducting interviews with these leaders, and all the other top-notch speakers, so you can better understand what each will cover during the mid-November conference.

The first of these interviews is with Anne Ellis. She was formerly a top executive with AECOM and served in 2013 as president of the American Concrete Institute. We selected Anne as one of our most Influential People in January 2014. She is now working on her own helping companies in the construction industry focus their strategies and bring innovative products to market.

In a recent interview, Anne discussed how the unique requirements of a project are not always clear going in and “that’s when things fall apart. With all construction projects, there’s going to be something, some surprise along the way; the key is making sure you have the opportunity to fully explore the impact of those surprises; and that starts at the very beginning with the requirements.”

Although she is a great advocate of the advantages technology can bring to construction, she cautions us to realize it’s only one tool we can use to improve construction. “We shouldn’t lead with technology as a solution; we need to understand what our problems are and find the right solutions. Technology may or may not be the solution.”

The Infrastructure Imperative is Nov. 13 to 15 at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel in Ohio.