Industry Insight with Arnie Gess
We recently chatted with Arnie Gess, President and Publisher of Construction Links Network. Arnie discusses his organization’s unique role within the Canadian construction sector, the ways in which digital transformation has impacted the industry and how Credivera’s innovative verification solutions can positively impact productivity and business costs within the sector.
Can you please give our readers a little background on yourself?
AG: I am a proud Saskatchewan boy who grew up in Weyburn and moved to Toronto as a young man in search of new adventures. Little did I know at the time that I would find my entrepreneurial spirit there. With very little money or “know-how” on how the business world worked, some friends and I started a B2B publishing company out of our rented apartment. We went on to launch two very successful magazines for the Canadian environmental and waste management markets. Ten years later, we sold our publishing company to Business Information Group. In 2001, I moved to the Calgary area and started another business focusing on B2B event management and marketing consulting. In 2016, I bought Construction Links Network from the original founder, who was based in Toronto. Since that time, I have re-branded the business to its current format, being the industry’s only peer-to-peer content sharing platform.
When you took ownership of Construction Links Network, back in 2016, what was it about the entity that was so appealing to you?
AG: When I bought Construction Links Network, my original goal was to revive the business, re-brand and establish it as one of the leading digital platforms in the construction, building and design community. With my experience in B2B publishing and event management I knew that the industry was huge and that created more opportunity to be successful.
How has the construction industry changed since 2016 then?
AG: From a marketing and publishing standpoint, companies selling products and services to the industry historically exhibited at trade shows, advertised in magazines, websites and heavily relied on customer referrals to find new business. While these tools are certainly still a big part of sales and marketing today, many businesses have shifted their efforts to digital branding and digital marketing. This digital transformation was certainly expedited by the pandemic.
Outside of the well-documented labour shortage, what challenges is the industry navigating right now?
AG: As a publisher, I am constantly reading and sourcing information on the industry. A big challenge right now is the supply chain issues and rising costs of building materials. With all the deep political divisions in Canada and the world right now, these challenges will certainly be with us for a while. The industry will need to source alternative supply chains.
Is there a “next-big-thing” you anticipate that will arrive soon to shake things up?
AG: The “next-big-thing” products and services that the industry will adopt into their businesses include artificial intelligence and predictive analytics; BIM – building information modelling; wireless monitoring and autonomous equipment; augmented reality; and cloud and real-time collaboration.
Who is the current industry thought-leaders that you’re paying attention to?
AG: In Canada, we are lucky to have many great leaders and organizations. Just a few of my favorite industry organizations that I work with include Canadian Construction Association (and their affiliate associations), Sustainable Buildings Canada, Continental Automated Buildings Association, Canada Green Building Council and Canadian Institute of Steel Construction. There are of course many other organizations throughout North America that drive innovation to the industry.
Do you see the construction industry as a place where innovation can thrive?
AG: Absolutely! The construction industry still is very much “old school” but it is slowly adapting to new technology innovations. You can see that with all the construction technology businesses that have successfully launched over the past few years. Over time, I believe the digital transformation strategy will address three key areas:
1. Lifecycle supply chain integration;
3. Data-driven project delivery.
What are the innovative products that are making a difference in the construction today?
AG: Project management software platforms are being adopted by contractors and subcontractors with increased frequency every day. These innovative products and services help companies manage their construction projects successfully including design coordination, financials, invoicing, tender management, quality control and safety.
I’m genuinely excited to see the emergence of digital identity cloud-based technologies, such as Credivera, that ensure skilled workers within the sector have the verified credentials ready to meet the industry’s extensive standards and regulations, drive the digital transformation wave within the sector. As a heavily regulated industry often burdened by considerable paperwork, the ease at which Credivera exchanges information between employers, employees and the industry regulators not only reduces operational costs and, saves valuable time for all involved but ultimately, eliminates workforce risk, liability, and uncertainty. at a time when it is much needed. As the industry addresses its current labour shortage, an empowered workforce will be key to the sector’s success.
To learn more about Construction Links Network and to subscribe to their newsletter, visit their website here. For more information about what Credivera can do for your business, visit the Our Digital Identity Solutions page.
Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Credivera is one of Canada’s leading digital identity and compliance solutions providers. Credivera’s secure, cloud-based verification technology is in-market in over 30 countries, ensuring skilled workers can manage the required verifiable credentials to meet their specific industry standards and regulations, reducing risk, liability, and uncertainty in real-time.