Bill Moore, Associated Engineering and Portage CyberTech
Bill Moore has that passion in his eyes. That spark that you see in people who know how to listen, understand and help. Passionate about digital technologies, he fights every day to make implementing innovative solutions easier.
We spoke with Bill Moore of Associated Engineering, an extraordinary manager who is transforming the culture of Canadian engineering.
Associated Engineering—a firm that stands apart
At the engineering consulting firm Associated Engineering (AE), Bill has found a family, a people-focused community that distinguishes itself through projects focused on sustainable development and BIM (building information modelling) transitions.
“We certainly have an influence on how people live, on our environment and the ecosystems in which we live.”
Together, they are designing horizontal and vertical infrastructures, contributing to unique projects that are shaping Canada. As an example, AE received recognition in 2020 for its project focused on restoring Fort McMurray’s forests (CCE Award of Excellence—Environment category).
With more than 1,000 employees and collaborators spread across four different time zones, AE faces significant organizational challenges.
Over the years, Bill has persuaded AE and its clients to adopt technological tools that foster a sense of cohesion while increasing the quality of work. Among them are CertifiO Professionals digital signatures and ConsignO Cloud trusted electronic signatures.
“Our people are scattered geographically all over the country and they have to authenticate documents regularly. Without Portage, it would be a very time-consuming and labour-intensive process.”
Modernizing engineering for the benefit of all
Bill agrees: the environment in which he works has strong traditions and practices. Transforming these methods to be entirely digital takes time because engineering demands integrity and reliability above all else.
“We work with a lot of clients that are quite skeptical at the beginning and, once they’ve experienced a new approach, they expect it in the future!”
Highly active in the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner Operator) industry and in the buildingSMART community, Bill looks for solutions that make a significant difference for communities.
“We have been conducting business in the same way inefficiently for many years, even decades, and in some cases centuries! (...) But the time has come to modernize our industry and our built environment.”
With solutions such as the ones that Portage provides, he feels like he is “helping Canadians transition from an inefficient practice to a modern, efficient and robust industry that makes informed decisions.”
Before adopting CertifiO Professionals digital signatures, a project could take weeks or even months with sealed package shipments and administrative delays.
“It increases the quality of our projects. And to me, that is more important than the number of projects. To provide a better product, in the end, is extremely important to our company.”
Bill recalls: “Shortly after we implemented CertifiO Professional, we were working on a project in the Calgary office...”
During an important meeting, a drawing package was required by a client that needed to be authenticated by one of AE’s EOR, however he was already occupied in another meeting. Using instant messaging and ConsignO Cloud, we were able to have the Engineer of Record sign without delaying the client or interrupting the meeting he was participating in.
2020: One of the best years in 75 years
Bill makes no secret of the fact that Portage’ solutions contributed to make 2020 one of AE's best years ever, even despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Without it during the pandemic, I think, we would have seen some serious disruption to our business.”
Design and construction were able to continue as scheduled. With ConsignO Cloud, external resources and clients were able to sign and revise documents without the need for face-to-face meetings.
With Portage’ solutions, “the integrity and the quality are maintained.” Bill is glad that they had implemented them before 2020.
When the health regulations kept everyone at home, it was still possible “to continue to conduct business uninterrupted, regardless of where our staff was located. That was invaluable!”
Breaking down barriers
Transmitting technological know-how is Bill’s trademark. He believes that this is just the beginning of digital practices in the world of engineering, noting that digital signatures have eliminated numerous barriers.
“It’s kind of like the catalyst that really unlocks our aptitudes towards digitalizing our practice. So, the fact that we were able to demonstrate (...) that we can digitize authentication (...) allows us to really start exploring other aspects of digital project delivery.”
Today, Bill is working hard to change the perceptions of clients and decision-makers with regard to technology. In his opinion, there is an urgent need to adopt digital methods, and electronic signatures are only one piece of the puzzle.
3D printing is revolutionizing the construction industry, and improved communication via 5G is expected to enable real-time performance monitoring.
“You can run a performance analysis, perform energy modelling and inform your design based on simulated performance in the case of a building. If I put all the windows on the south side, what will it do to my heating and cooling within the building?”
In using these new technologies, it is possible to cut costs significantly and improve the design of Canada's built environment.
However, the adoption of these solutions will require the adherence of all stakeholders.
Rethinking the world
“We have to change our regulations, both federal and provincial, (...) the way insurers understand these new digital ways of working. And then, we have to change how we, as consulting engineers, approach projects.”
The fact remains that, as with Portage, Bill is currently working to change mentalities. “If you change nothing, nothing will change,” he adds philosophically.
Moreover, the most advanced nations in terms of innovation, such as South Korea and the Scandinavian1 countries, are inspiring him to adopt new behaviours in engineering practices.
“Most of the barriers are human behaviour barriers, not limitations of technology or technical processes, but rather social behaviour barriers.”
One thing’s for sure: it’s reassuring to see Bill act as an ambassador for innovation in the world of engineering.
His willingness and passion for modernizing practices are helping transform a reliable industry into a digitally reliable industry. Barriers are coming down and protection of the public is rising.
With CertifiO Professionals and ConsignO Cloud, Bill Moore and AE were able to:
- Make document authentication easier for more than 1,000 employees
- Simplify external signing with ConsignO Cloud
- Coordinate 23 offices to behave as one
- Increase the quality of their engineering projects
- See their best year in 75 years, despite the pandemic