As Vice President of Preconstruction, Justin Davis provides oversight and leadership for Walker Engineering’s preconstruction and estimating services.
We recently sat down with Davis to learn more about Walker Engineering, the challenges he and his team face on a day-to-day basis, and why moving Walker’s preconstruction process online has been instrumental to their success.
Tell us a little bit about Walker Engineering and the work that you do.
We’re one of the largest electrical contractors in Texas, headquartered in Dallas Fort-Worth with offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Our core business is electrical contracting, but we also do low voltage, security, AV, and have industrial and automation divisions.
Right now, the Dallas market is one of the strongest construction markets in the country. We’ve been very fortunate, extremely busy, and have experienced a lot of growth as a result.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging thing about my job is that we’re constantly busy. The sheer amount of active projects and work we’re chasing is a lot of information to sort through, keep track of, and make sure everything is properly communicated to all of the right offices.
It’s important that all of our bids and budgets are submitted when and how they’re supposed to be submitted — and that it’s all done in a timely manner.
How did you manage bids in the past?
In the past, bids were handled in a variety of different ways throughout the organization, with the majority of them on the electrical side. We were using out-of-date software, which was more of a manual entry bid tracking system.
Our other system didn’t have an analytics component at all. It couldn’t track essential data like hit rate, numbers of bids or budgets, or time spent on specific customers, which made it nearly impossible to get a clear picture of how things were going across the various teams and lines of business. We needed something more automated that was easier to manage, so we moved online — specifically, to Bid Board Pro.
How has moving your bid board online improved your team's day-to-day?
It’s made it so much easier to track all the moving pieces.
Our online bid board enables us to go through our entire project portfolio and pipeline to see who’s working on what in real-time. We can track down data from previous projects, compare it against what we’re working on today, and make sure we’re allocating the right amount of resources and effort into closing that business.
What would you say to a subcontractor that's hesitant to move their bid board online?
I would say it’s a huge time saver, and time is money. You’ll be able to see where you’re spending your time and energy, what you’re bidding on a monthly and weekly basis, and what your results are. If you’re trying to do it all manually, it’s very tricky and time-consuming to uncover those critical insights.
How do you think technology will continue to impact construction in the next 5-10 years?
We’re all getting more database driven, and these days, it’s all about planning and execution. Everyone’s looking to avoid inefficiency, so now, every job requires more planning than it did even 5 years ago. Technology is the only way to scalably solve for that need.