Ric Jackson is the fourth recipient of the James B. Porter, Jr., Award for Technology Leadership. As Fiatech's original Director, he was responsible for building the membership and member services, forming the organization, achieving financial stability, and running projects that deliver results. As the singular, pivotal player in making Fiatech a reality, Jackson can claim a legacy: a substantial membership, many active projects, and a recognition by the industry that Fiatech is the leader in capital projects technology innovation and development.
Jackson personally led development of the Capital Projects Technology Roadmap Initiative, a comprehensive analysis of the state of technology and long-term requirements for the capital projects industry that is now internationally recognized. His work with Fiatech made him one of ENR's "Top 25 Top Newsmakers of 2004."
Prior to launching FIATECH, Jackson served nearly 30 years with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He is a global authority in technology for the capital projects industry. He is an open, communicative, and highly effective facilitator, team builder, and lecturer, and speaks frequently at national and international forums on the subjects of integration, automation, and interoperability in the capital projects industry.
“As FIATECH got underway, FIAPP – or Fully Integrated and Automated Project Processes - had been a CII Vision for nearly a decade and for industry for twice that. But FIAPP’s scope was so broad, its stakeholders so diverse, its challenges so complex, that it suffered many false starts that neither CII nor the industry could get it off the ground. Yet FIAPP was a compelling idea, an innovative approach for the Capital Projects Industry that would enable it to leapfrog into the 21st century and catch up with other industries it had lagged for so long. FIATECH had its origins in 1999 from the CII Breakthrough Strategy Committee and NIST. After receiving approval and some initial funding from CII, FIATECH needed a leader. Enter Ric Jackson. To me what is impressive about Ric’s joining FIATECH at that time is that he left a substantial leadership position at NIST and jumped into this startup! FIATECH was essentially nothing at the time: a good idea loosely conceived; a few committed people from industry with day jobs; a few bucks (not much we later learned); a borrowed office; and no staff – at least initially. About all he had to work with were his own vision and determination. And yet, as a testament to his determination and leadership skills, Ric took an idea – and that is all it was – and turned it into the reality it is today! Clearly no one person builds an organization like FIATECH. The Board, key staff and others in the organization, as well as the numerous volunteers, share the credit. But Ric was the pivotal player – the driver and leader that made it happen! While the Board and others went back to their day jobs, it was Ric that had to get up each morning for 10 years and make FIATECH a reality. And what a reality he made it! Today Ric leaves behind a solid foundation for FIATECH to advance. FIATECH not only has a substantial membership and many active projects, but is recognized across the industry and around the globe as the go-to place for capital projects technology innovation and development; is the developer and steward of the industry recognized Capital Projects Technology Roadmap; is acknowledged, with POSC-Caesar, as having brought ISO 15926 from just a standard to a working, usable reality, and much more! There is absolutely no question in my mind that FIATECH would not even closely resemble what it is today without Ric’s drive, leadership and vision. And for that we owe him a great debt of gratitude!”
President Burns and Roe, FIATECH Board Member
“In the 1990’s, Ric Jackson and I were both on the top management team at NIST – he heading the Manufacturing Engineering lab and I the Building and Fire Research Lab. We had many mutual interests and even entertained the idea of merging our two labs. Ric argued then, that ‘construction is just a special case of manufacturing,’ and I countered that the distinction is more fundamental, since construction typically involves production of a single unique unit at a unique location each time around. In fact one might argue, that modern manufacturing is becoming more like construction in that many modern production lines involve ﬁnal assembly of a sequence of highly differentiated products from components manufactured at many diverse locations. An area of agreement between us though, was the view that both construction and manufacturing had long been tradition-bound and represented rich opportunities for advancement through application of information and automation technologies. In this regard, I had been working with CII for some time particularly on the strategic planning and breakthrough strategy committees, and in that context was one of the team headed by Keith Roe that thought up and implemented FIATECH. At one point in that process I met with Ric to get his views on how we might help the construction industry move into the digital age. He urged me to attend a meeting of a group he had been working with, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, headquartered in Ann Arbor Michigan. NCMS is a not-for-proﬁt collaborative manufacturing research consortium of 175 North American corporations with over two decades of experience translating research results into real-world applications. I was very impressed with NCMS and its track record. Not long after our CII team visited NCMS headquarters in Ann Arbor to meet with its executive director, NCMS became the model for FIATECH. Shortly after we published the announcement for the position of executive director, Ric came to see me. He asked whether I planned to apply for the job as head of FIATECH, ‘cause if not, he would. Needless to say, I was delighted and supported his candidacy. Ric’s candidacy was not a slam dunk initially since those who had not met or didn’t know him were afraid that this was no job for a ‘government bureaucrat’ who didn’t come from a ‘construction company’, knew ‘nothing’ about construction, and had never, ‘run a business’. But Ric prevailed, and I gather, he has long since blown away those perceptions. Congratulations Ric on a job well done. My warm regards to you, and best wishes for success in your next endeavor!!”
“For the last several years, Ric has come to St. Louis to participate with our St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers ‘Taste of Technology’ conference. The SLCCC is an owner organization which provides leadership to improve value, quality, and safety in the efficient delivery of capital facilities and maintenance by the St. Louis design and construction industry. Anheuser-Busch has been a long standing member. Thanks to Ric’s involvement, such concepts as ‘The World is Flat’, BIM and inadequate interoperability are no longer foreign among the SLCCC membership. In fact great progress is being made on technology deployment to improve the capital project delivery thanks in part to Ric’s sharing of the FIATECH vision.”
North America Zone Brewery Support, Capex Team, Process, Technology & Training,
“I have known Ric Jackson since FIATECH's formative days when we discussed - and sometimes argued - how the new organization could take a leadership position in turning the vision of Fully Integrated and Automated Project Processes (FIAPP) into a reality. Throughout these past ten plus years, Ric has been a visionary, a leader and a tireless - some say relentless - driver in achieving progress towards this vision. Throughout, Ric's performance can be characterized by three P's - Passion, Persistence and Persuasiveness. Ric is extremely passionate in all he does and it is this Passion at his core that helps him envision what the organization needed to look like and then make it happen. It is this passion that has made him a tireless advocate for FIATECH, to forge relationships with complementary organizations and to excite and drive the membership and project teams to achieve significant progress from the initial and iconic Capital Projects Technology Roadmap to the present ISO 15926 work. Ric is persistent in all he does. It is this Persistence that has driven his determined pursuit of new FIATECH members and his search to identify member needs, ideas and desires and then translate them into meaningful projects for the organization to execute. Above all, Ric is persuasive to the max. It is this Persuasiveness that has resulted in turning prospective members into new members, has gained agreement on the paths to take, and has motivated the membership to tackle and solve daunting problems. It is via these three P's that Ric, working with and through the many other talented and committed people in FIATECH, has turn the fledgling idea of FIATECH into the thriving and influential organization that it is today. It is via these three P's that Ric will go on and continue to achieve great things in the future.”
Senior Vice President, Knowledge, Innovation and Quality,
Burns and Roe, FIATECH Board Member
“Please let Ric know how much I enjoyed working with him, especially in the early days when FIATECH and the Technology Roadmap were in their formative days. I especially enjoyed Ric's creativity and energy. It is always great to work with someone who sees the possibilities and pushes the boundaries. His charts were always over the top. I never met anyone who could put more content on a chart in amazing colors, but the one that really sticks out in my mind were the ‘flying toasters.’ Yes, that's right, flying toasters! He will go down in the annals of the FIATECH history book as 'King of the Chart Wars'.”
“As you know, transforming the concept of fully integrated and automated technologies into a functioning reality in the construction industry has long been my passion. Until you accepted the leadership position at FIATECH I was never very encouraged anything significant would happen in my lifetime but your energy and determination to ‘make it happen’ changed my view completely. I’ve seen how you’ve guided FIATECH to a position of prominence and influence in the industry globally and I now believe we are and will continue to achieve major breakthroughs in the business effective development and deployment of fully automated and integrated technologies.”
“Ric Jackson has been instrumental to 10 years of achievement and growth by FIATECH. He is known widely as a tireless champion and spokesperson in the pursuit of value and increased effectiveness for the capital projects industry.”
Director Engineering Solutions Technology Center,
Dow Chemical and Chair, FIATECH Board of Directors
“The US construction industry has needed a technology activist arm for half a century, but until Ric Jackson took yet another attempt and made it the first one to genuinely work through owners and constructors, the landscape was bare. By his energy and engagement, Ric took FIATECH from a thought to tangible product and enthused participants in a very short time. It is compelling to see competitors and customers equally excited about making advances real and robust and infusing them into our industry across a genuine actionable roadmap, Ric and the FIATECH family has shown that leadership solely by influence rather than direct authority can achieve great things. For whoever follows our founding leader, you have a very tough act to follow.”
Senior Vice President
Black and Veatch Corporation
“I believe that Ric has a deep understanding and knowledge of technical issues associated with all facets of Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment in the Capital Projects Industry, fueled by his Energy, Enthusiasm, and Unquestionable Commitment to FIATECH and its vision and mission. I have always found my interactions with Ric to be inspiring, intellectually stimulating, and enjoyable. He provides a good balance between the practical realities of what is (the status quo) and the unlimited possibilities of what can be (the vision state), and I applaud his authenticity and forthrightness in all he does. Ric is a master at networking and relationship building, and this significantly help expand the reach of FIATECH through strategic alliances and partnerships. Ric always approached his role as Managing Director of FIATECH with unparallel gusto, zest, and spirit, and his energy and passion for FIATECH were always engaging and inspiring.”
Dean, Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University, FIATECH Board Member
“Ric has been an inspiring leader for FIATECH and led the outstanding success achieved by FIATECH in its first 10 years. Ric is a visionary leader. He was always ready to challenge the status quo and make us think beyond the horizon to what may be possible. We cannot thank Ric enough for the tremendous leadership, energy, spirit and drive for excellence that he brought to FIATECH every day.”
Ray Topping, PE
President Topping Consulting Services and FIATECH Board Member