BILT NA: Speaker Spotlight!

Introducing the second installment of our speaker spotlights for BILT NA! presenting the talented Andrew Atkins, Sarah Causey, and a man that needs no introduction, the infamous Carl Storms. With a whole host of hard hitting BIM specialists across a range of fields, make sure you register now!


Andrew Atkins

Hi BILT friends! Fourth-time attendee, first-time speaker here. My name is Andrew Atkins and I have been a structural engineer with HGA for almost a decade. I have been fortunate enough to work on a wide variety of amazing projects over the years, including the Minnesota State Capitol Renovation, several hospitals, and a few corporate headquarters.
One constant throughout my career has been the enthusiastic use of emerging technologies; I always try to leverage new tools to become more efficient, so I can get home–or to the bar–earlier. Outside of work, I love photography, music (guitar or bass), target-shooting, Netflix, and chasing our 15-month daughter around.
I had two classes accepted this year, which exceeded my most optimistic expectations. The first class: “Computational Design for Structures: No Strings Attached!” shows how you can utilize the inherent formulaic logic of spreadsheets and a Revit plugin to apply intelligent changes to your Revit models, using data from your analysis engines. Basically, you can do some very Dynamo-esque things…with spreadsheets! (Hence, no strings attached). My second class: “Top Ten Structural Revit Families” is a sampler-platter of some neat families that I have developed or collected over the years. This class is not meant to delve into the nitty-gritty details of all the families (10 families in 75 minutes isn’t a lot of time…but I will share the basics of how they are built). Rather, I’d like to focus on how and WHY we use them, and foster a discussion about how others are tackling similar problems. Are you modeling this or that? Why or why not? If nothing else, I hope this class gives you some ideas to bring back to your own firms! My first RTC was in 2015. It was amazing, and each conference since then has been equally incredible. The classes and trendy topics may change from year to year, but one thing that stays the same is the fun that I have and the great people that I meet! I hope to see you at one of my classes, but if not, let’s meet for a drink! See you in St. Louis!



Sarah Causey


I am a BIM Specialist at RATIO. What I love most about my job is that I’m in a position to “play” much of my time at work. Although at times I am working on designs with my colleagues, the majority of my time is spent on R&D, Implementation, and “Sherlock Holms-ing”. This balance of left and right brain, creative and analytical, gives me the freedom to explore what I’m passionate about, while benefiting the firm. Due to this situation, my role is constantly changing/morphing/evolving. As someone who desires to be a perpetual learner, being a BIM Specialist could not suit me any better!

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, what is unique about the way you approach your role (or how others approach you)?

Building off the previous answer referring to left/right brain balance, I believe women and men think differently. You may roll your eyes at this thought, but if we look back at the evolution of men and women from the cavemen days, in most aboriginal societies men were the hunters, women were the gatherers. As two very different main objectives, evolving over time, it is reasonable to see why men and women approach problems differently. For those of you reading this who are married, you feel me. There are some huge advantages to each way of thinking. When approaching new technology, or problem-solving issues with existing technology, what is unique about what I bring to the table is a different way of looking at the situation. Also, when it comes to training or asking for support, some individuals feel more comfortable asking a woman than a man. It doesn’t really matter why this is, but being available for those individuals creates an environment where everyone is comfortable. Who doesn’t want that?

What should the industry know about women in design?

I am a firm believer that as an industry, if we expect to create designs that are successful for all its users, we have to have representation from all of the user groups at the design table. That means men, women, various ages, races, sexual orientations, abilities, etc. We would be naïve (and somewhat narcissistic) to believe that one group can design a space that is successful for all others. It is a great year to be alive as our country begins to more aggressively pursue this goal. Women are just one voice at that table that is starting to speak up. I am excited to see our world change. I truly believe we are going to see better designs, that are meaningful and long lasting for generations to come. It is time this industry looks beyond tradition and embraces innovation of all forms.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I typically like to travel, hike, cook, and practice amateur photography. At the moment I am pregnant, which means I go to sleep at 8:00pm so I’m not left with a ton of time “outside of work”. However, I wouldn’t trade it for anything to be creating human life!



 I’m that short “well rounded” guy with a goatee and funny hat who seems to be a glutton for punishment when it comes to speaking. I spend my days helping people move to BIM through training, implementations and knowledge sharing.

When I’m not on the clock I enjoy watching a movie, something that makes me laugh. Exploring the great Canadian wilderness with my wife and dog. Or just relaxing and enjoy a nice Scotch like the Legend Ron Burgundy. I also find time to work on my blog, and help out with a couple AEC podcasts: Simply Complex Podcast – Conference Edition with Marcello & BluePrints with Bill & Carol.

Back in the day I was a goalie in ice hockey, while I loved playing I was never very good. What really got me into the sport, and even more so the position was the equipment. The trappers, blockers, pads and the masks of the 70’s and 80’s. My interest in the equipment lead me to making my own gear in college as I worked part time for a local equipment manufacture call “Kay” in Ottawa. Why did I tell that story? Because it’s very similar to how I got to where I am today in the AEC industry. While I have a diploma as an Architectural Tech (AT), my function-first mentality and general lack of creative or design skills lead me to the design technology/BIM side of things. From here I use my curiosity about how things work and technology to help those that are full of creativity and design skills.

My first session is the round-table, “BIM is…Broken?” This session builds on last year’s round-table BIM as a Process vs. BIM as a Deliverable. During the discussions, it was clear there are bigger issues facing BIM than process vs. deliverable. We discussed new and old issues (and many I never thought of), but what remained constant the question: is BIM broken? We will use this year’s round-table to explore if BIM is truly broken and, if so, how we can begin to fix it.

My second session is, “Navisworks – Not the Only Name in the Clash Detection Game” Here you’ll learn about some of the many options available for clash detection when working with BIM. Review of the pros and cons of current clash detection software, and what the future of it might be.

My third session is, “Sensors for Everyone – IoT for the AEC” – This session investigates what the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is, and how it is being integrated into the AEC industry. We will look at personal and office uses, as well as some of the issues facing IoT adoption.

For me it’s the people. Yes the exhibit hall, sessions and social events are all awesome, but it comes down to the people that I meet, and the lifelong friends I make and have made over my year of attending BILT (and RTC).

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