Team Spotlight: Gregg Young

With over three decades of experience in the commercial real estate sector, Gregg Young brings an unparalleled depth of investor-side knowledge to the VIATechnik team.

“As far as my career is concerned, I’ve always aspired to be involved in real estate, says VIATechnik Board Member Gregg Young, “largely because no other industry offers a bigger opportunity to shape the way we live and interact with the world around us.”

Guided by this sense of purpose, he’s succeeded in nearly every facet of commercial real estate over the past several decades. Throughout his career, Gregg has “worn all of the C-level hats,” working as Chief Operations Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of his own asset management firm. With such a diverse array of experience, Gregg has been an invaluable addition to the VIATechnik board, bringing a sophisticated owner’s perspective to the table that has helped us succeed in areas where other firms still come up short.

Earning His Stripes

After attending Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Gregg took a job at real estate development, investment, and property management stalwart Trammell Crow. In his 12 years with the company, he worked his way through the ranks, rising from leasing agent to partner before finally becoming a member of the board.

As he climbed the proverbial ladder, his list of responsibilities grew in kind. After becoming a board member, Gregg recalls, the company asked him to establish a national marketing group. This quickly evolved into a corporate services group that could “facilitate the application of property management, leasing, acquisition, disposition, entitlement and other real estate services to all of our corporate clients.” Thanks to experiences like this one, Gregg quickly gained the skills he needed to launch his own asset management firm with several of his Trammell Crow partners.

As the new firm’s CEO, Gregg managed a portfolio of over 50 properties spanning 13 states — an experience that exposed him to best practices in real estate across the country. He also had “the chance to look at all the different angles of operating a real estate business” — a perspective he’s put to considerable use throughout his career.

A Perfect Fit

Gregg had known VIATechnik COO (and fellow Stanford graduate) Anton Dy Buncio for years through a mutual acquaintance. As Anton began to work his way into the real estate sector, he’d periodically call Gregg with questions that only a true industry insider could answer.

As Gregg watched VIATechnik come into its own, he started to consider how he might be able to contribute to its continued growth and success. “At a certain point,” he explains, “I realized I had become very interested in what VIATechnik was doing, so I decided to reach out and see if I could play a larger role in its future.”

Considering Gregg’s interests and perspective, VIATechnik was thrilled to bring him on as a member of the board. He’s been a leading authority on real estate technology for several decades, with the Wall Street Journal quoting him on the applications of new technologies in office buildings as far back as 1984. “Technology is something I’ve always felt was an important aspect of what was coming in real estate,” he says.

Convinced that AEC’s failure to embrace innovation continues to undermine its productivity, Gregg saw in VIATechnik an opportunity to mold the industry’s future. “What VIATechnik is doing is “leading edge”. It really represents the shape of things to come in the industry.”

Stressing the Value of AEC Tech

As a member of the board, Gregg has managed to wed his nuanced understanding of the owner/investor perspective to the forward-thinking outlook that drives the culture and business decisions at VIATechnik. and he uses this hybrid approach to increase awareness and adoption of new, powerful tech across the industry.

Most design-side professionals in AEC have already recognized the value of innovative technologies like BIM and VR, but many owners continue to view virtual design and construction (VDC) more as a benefit to the design team vs. a tool to create short and long-term value for the owner. As owners see design decisions accelerated by Virtual Reality, reductions in change orders caused by building system clashes on-site, and reduction of construction interest thru schedule optimization, the value of technology will be more broadly realized in the industry. “It’s exciting to play a part in this important evolution.”

Gregg strives to explain the value of AEC technology in terms that owners can easily understand. He encourages the founders to ensure that VIATechnik remains “best in class” at applying technology to design and construction problems, helping developers accelerate the design approval process, reduce change orders, shorten schedules, and measure progress.

“Considering how much is on their plates, it’s very difficult for owners to keep on top of the latest trends in AEC tech,” Gregg acknowledges. “Where is tech going? Which tools work and which tools don’t? Which tools are the best of the best? It’s a lot to keep track of, and owners need an ally who is focused on these questions. I think this is the role that VIATechnik is perfectly positioned to fill.”

Looking Forward

Gregg believes that this type of collaboration will transform the AEC and real estate industries. He shares the conviction that technology can improve almost every aspect of the process — from design to construction to facility management. Within the next decade, Gregg believes that the use of simulation and other advanced tech tools can reduce current inefficiencies and waste by more than 50%. He also expects that design itself will be challenged by rapid changes in mobility options, work patterns, and live-work lifestyle preferences. These trends will encourage AEC professionals to develop new, even more impactful tools, resulting in the swift digitization of the entire industry.

“The challenge,” Gregg notes, “is accelerating an understanding by owners of the benefits technology has to offer when applied by highly capable professionals.” At this still early stage, owners find it hard to distinguish the technology itself from the people implementing the technology. Good technology applied by less qualified or under-trained professional may seem ineffective. This underscores the importance of Viatechnik’s commitment to consistently invest in training as it grows – it’s not just a matter of adopting the best technology.

Protected: Knowledge Digitization: A Game-Changer for Construction Outcomes

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