Education | Speakers


World of Modular’s top-notch educational breakout sessions equip industry professionals with the latest knowledge in every facet of the commercial modular construction business. Learn new skills and techniques, find ways to operate more efficiently, and improve yourself and your business—for the knowledge you need to finish each job better, faster, smarter and more profitably—we’ve got you covered.

Keynote Speakers    |    Breakout Sessions    |    Workshops    |    New & Innovative Products Sessions





Chris Helder
Author of Useful Belief: Because It’s Better than Positive Thinking
Saturday, March 18th | 9:00 A.M. -10:00 A.M.

Postive Thinking Doesn't Work!

Chris is one of today’s highest booked speakers and he presents his high-impact presentations to some of the biggest names in business throughout Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, the US and Europe. If you have challenges at work, just deciding to “be positive” won’t fix them. But useful belief and strategy will. Keynote speaker Chris Helder will show you how to frame challenges in a way that makes them winnable and formulate an action plan for getting to where you need to be. Do you ever wish you had more influence over your team, clients, or colleagues? Chris’ presentations offer a high-energy and funny look at understanding and influencing human behavior. From leading a team, to winning that career making account, you will learn a simple self-awareness strategy that turns problems into plans, go beyond positivity to actually fixing personal and professional problems, and uncover the valuable lessons to be learned from challenges you have already overcome.

Anirban Basu
Economic Trends Expert | CEO & Founder of Sage Policy Group, Inc.
Monday, March 20th | 9:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M.

Construction Drivers & Trends in 2017

Economist Anirban Basu returns to World of Modular to offer an informative and entertaining forecast for the construction marketplace. Basu is chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, a consulting firm in Baltimore, MD, and is one of the most recognizable economists in and around the Washington, D.C. area.


He provides policy and economic consulting for numerous clients including developers, bankers, brokerage houses, energy suppliers and law firms. He has also written several high-profile reports on construction on behalf of government agencies and nonprofits, including MBI’s “Economic & Financial Performance of Relocatable Buildings in the US Modular Building Industry.”

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Evaluating and Improving Prefabrication Operations
Saturday, March 18th | 10:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Ethan Cowles, FMI Corporation.


Most contractors start out their attempts at prefabrication with nothing more than a belief that increases in operational efficiencies will easily offset the investment costs of prefabrication. Just as often, a lack of planning or an inability to measure and analyze the costs and benefits leads to frustrating results. Ethan Cowles is a senior consultant at FMI Corporation, a leading provider of construction management, investment banking, and research. Cowles will help you learn how to look at your prefabrication efforts holistically as well as see what evaluating prefabrication operations should really entail: corporate strategy; demand; competitive environment; design and detailing; planning, coordination and scheduling; inventory management; plant layout; raw materials and finished goods; company culture; quality control; shipping; job site delivery; and more.

Experience the Future of Hotel Construction
Saturday, March 18th | 10:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Lad Dawson, CEO, Guerdon Enterprises, LLC

Lad Dawson will highlight selected modular hotel projects that have come to fruition since Marriott International began their Modular Initiative in 2015. Guerdon continues helping Marriott International accomplish their goal of offering modular construction as a viable method for their franchisees to open doors sooner. Fast-forward, two years into the initiative, Guerdon has completed multiple flag hotels for both Marriott and other brands. Lad will discuss the obstacles, successes, and outlook for commercial modular construction moving into the mainstream.
Designed for Manufacture:
The Advantages of CAD-CAM Solutions for Prefab

Saturday, March 18th | 10:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Alfred Porsche, SEMA Software

Alfred Porsche worked for 23 years as an engineer in prefabrication of residential and commercial buildings in Europe, South and North America. He received his certification as an engineer in wood-technology from the University of Applied Science in Rosenheim, Germany. He is a specialist in CAD-CAM and participated in the design, setup, and startup of automated production lines for the building industry. Using current examples, Alfred provides an insight into the advantages of design for manufacturing and highlight the benefits of a correct quantity takeoff, automated prefabrication, and quality assurance systems.
Offsite Architecture: Constructing a Post-Industrial Future
Saturday, March 18th | 10:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Ryan Smith, University of Utah

John Quale, University of New Mexico

Architects have been intrigued by prefabricated construction since the early 20th century. Recent advances in design, engineering and manufacturing processes have led to a significant expansion in the use of pre-assembled components which are fitted to finished structures on site. Collectively, such processes are becoming known as offsite construction. A groundbreaking text, Offsite Architecture establishes the current and future state of thinking in this field. A range of the most highly regarded thinkers and practitioners from around the globe share their ideas and practical findings on offsite prefabrication, examining theory and practice, opportunities and challenges, successes and failures. A timely response to the growing interest in this method, the book provides the fundamental basis for a critical, reflective approach to offsite architecture. Contributions from both academics and professionals make Offsite Architecture required reading for practitioners as well as students taking courses in architecture, prefabrication, construction, and engineering.


Myth vs. Reality:

Why Multi-Family Modular Housing is Neither Too Expensive Nor Complex
Saturday, March 18th | 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Chryse Gibson & Arthur Klipfel, Oaktree Development

We all know what the intended benefits of modular are for multi-family housing: cheaper, faster and better quality. But actually delivering on this promise is a major challenge due to coordination issues and “pain points” that exist between manufacturers, contractors, developers and architects: developers want customization; architects want aesthetic expression; manufacturers need realistic shop drawings; contractors struggle to define exactly what is needed from their subs… and the list goes on. But there IS a way to get all the intended benefits without suffering the pitfalls that have plagued some early attempts at modular multi-family housing. Join this session to learn about the innovative next-generation strategies that enable you to overcome these “pain points” and deliver on the promise of cheaper, faster and better.


Re-Purposed Shipping Containers for Volumetric Modular Buildings
Saturday, March 18th | 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Rhys Kane, Ladacor

Jack Steenhoff, Steenhof Building Services Group


This presentation will outline the benefits of and potential issues with of using re-purposed shipping containers as modules for volumetric construction projects. The presentation will also offer case studies and demonstrate examples of successes and failures with this application. Join speakers Rhys Kane and Jack Steenhof for insight into the engineering benefits of using shipping containers for modular construction.

New & Innovative Products

Saturday, March 18th | 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.


Lightspeed Technologies


Lightspeed Technologies is the trusted provider in classroom audio technology. Effective classroom audio solutions: Our easy-to-use audio systems deliver optimum speech intelligibility, overcome classroom noise and provide crystal clear sound to all your students regardless of where they may be seated or where the teacher may be standing. Teachers report reduced vocal fatigue, improved classroom management, and increased academic performance without changing curriculum or teaching methods. How we make a difference: Our Redcat and Topcat products utilize a series of exciters that apply sound energy directly to our unique sound panels “exciting” the voice signal. Since the energy from the exciters is transferred to the surface of the flat panel, every point across the panel radiates the sound—distributing it evenly throughout the classroom. The high frequencies of the human voice, so easily lost amid classroom noise, come through clearly and intelligibly so every child hears (and understands) every word.



BuildSourced is the secure, cost-effective way to track and manage your entire inventory, from small tools and large equipment to temporary materials and client stock. Save time, be more efficient, and gain total visibility of your assets anytime, from anywhere. BuildSourced serves the industries that drive our world’s infrastructure. Whether it’s building highways, transporting goods and materials, or generating energy, these are complex processes. BuildSourced helps companies across industries keep it simple and smart, allowing them to best leverage their assets.

DIRTT Environmental Solutions


DIRTT — Doing It Right This Time — provides custom, modular interiors. DIRTT walls, millwork, access floor and power solutions are designed to match the client and base building. Suitable for healthcare, school and commercial applications, DIRTT propels prefab buildings into unique outcomes for every client. The 2-4 week lead-time is the fastest in the industry and is thanks to intelligent 3D software called ICE. ICE is used to market, specify, price, engineer and produce DIRTT projects. ICE is also available for other manufacturers of configurable products.

Peanut Butter & Jelly: Why Passive House and Modular Go So Well Together
Sunday, March 19th | 10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.

Craig Mitchell, Britco

America waking up to the new international standard of performance buildings. It turns out that modular construction lends itself perfectly to meeting the passive house standard. A brief overview of "What is Passive House", what are other modular companies in other areas of the world doing in this field, why you're going to hear more and more about this standard in North America, plus a case study on Britco's first Modular Multi-Unit Passive House project. Just like peanut butter and jelly - you'll learn why Modular and Passive House go well together.
Industry Analysis: Modular Construction in the United Kingdom
Sunday, March 19th | 11:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

Bob Mears, Modular & Portable Buildings Association


The benefits of adopting offsite construction methods are well known in the United Kingdom: speed of build, simplicity, sustainability, and quality of the entire process from product design through manufacture and installation. Founded in 1938, MPBA has played a key role in connecting all sectors of the modular and portable building industry from it's headquarters in Caersws in England. Join MPBA's marketing committee chair Bob Mears for a discussion of the UK’s approach to prefabrication as well as lesson learned by the UK market.

Don’t Trade Babe Ruth: 5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Digital Marketing
Sunday, March 19th | 11:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

Jeff Hoogendam &  Jim McKinley , 360MobileOffice

In 1920, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the rights to Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000. You know the rest: over the next 15 seasons, “The Babe” had one of the most storied careers in baseball while the Red Sox languished for almost 100 years. Is your business in danger of making a Babe-Ruth-trade level error? Digital marketing is one of the most powerful channels in the modular industry, which means that mistakes can have especially high consequences. During this session, Jeff Hoogendam, a digital marketing veteran with more than 15 years’ experience including many years working in the modular construction space, will guide you through the top 5 digital marketing pitfalls your company could fall into, and how to avoid them.

Blast Resistant Modules Help Meet Demanding Standards for Safety
Sunday, March 19th | 3:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Robert Slagel, Dropbox, Inc.

The increase in petrochemical-process complexity along with the overall size of production plants has led to a rise in the chance that accidental explosions could occur. Since OSHA regulations require an employer to “furnish to each of his employees a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm,” petrochemical-plant operators must make every effort to ensure that their facilities are as safe as possible. When a fire or explosion occurs, the safest place to be is a Blast Resistant Module (BRM). Today’s BRMs are constructed of steel-reinforced roofs and walls that are API 753-compliant, making them capable of reducing the chance of catastrophic injury or death during an emergency incident. This new generation of BRMs can also be outfitted with a number of options depending on the needs of the facility, which makes them very customizable while still being able to meet the strict regulatory demands for personnel protection.

Research Update: Industrialization of Construction
Monday, March 20th | 10:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Mohamed Al-Hussein, University of Alberta

Dr. Mohamed Al-Hussein is a professor and Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in the Industrialization of Building Construction at the University of Alberta and a highly sought researcher and consultant in the areas of lean manufacturing, construction process improvement, CO2 emission quantification and reduction, and building information modeling, with the development of modular and offsite construction technologies and practices forming the hub of his research. Dr. Al-Hussein’s research has contributed to construction automation as applied to equipment selection and onsite utilization. He also conducts research applying lean in the development of improved work methods and productivity standards for commercial and home building operations with a focus on construction manufacturing. BIM technology has been utilized in a number of his recent research initiatives, including the automation of drafting and design for manufacturing, estimating and scheduling, material waste reduction, and quantity takeoff. Dr. Al-Hussein’s research also explores avenues for enhanced safety both of the construction process and of the built environment.
NIBS Offsite Construction Council Meeting

Monday, March 20th, 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.


The National Institute of Building Sciences is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that brings together representatives of government, industry, consumers and regulatory agencies to focus on the identification and resolution of problems that hamper construction of safe, affordable structures for commerce, housing and industry. NIBS established the Off-Site Construction Council (OSCC) to serve as a research, education and outreach center for relevant and current information on off-site design and construction for commercial, institutional and multifamily facilities. Join modular and offsite construction professionals for this informative meeting.









 1. Retaining and Attracting Millennial Employees

 2. Winning Strategies for Marketing to Millenials


Sunday, March 19th | 10:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M.

Gabrielle Jackson , President and Founder of The Millennial Solution

Today’s workplace employs three generations simultaneously—each with its own unique motivators, preferred methods of communication, and definitions of success. By not understanding these dynamics, organizations are missing out on the power and productivity of a generationally inclusive work environment. Gabrielle Jackson is a generational strategist, author, and millennial-motivator and offers solutions to the challenges of a multi-generational workplace, empowering millennials with the skills they need to thrive at work, and managers with the tools they need for a diverse workforce. When it comes to purchasing power, millennials make up a quarter of the population, spend $1-2 trillion annually, and are primed for major life events. This generation has a deep-seeded appreciation and even fascination with doing things better, faster, and cheaper. Gabrielle will show you how to capitalize on their interest by streamlining processes, utilizing technology, and creating a brand that helps your company stay relevant while saving time and money.




Industry Collaborative to Grow Commercial Modular Construction by 5% in 5 Years


Sunday, March 19th | 2:00 P.M. -  4:30 P.M.

Ryan Smith , University of Utah


The MBI Board of Directors embarked on a mission that they felt would both unify and benefit the entire membership of the organization. The goal was to focus resources and efforts on the goal of increasing the market share of the commercial modular building industry from its estimated 2.5% to 5% percent of all new construction starts by the year 2020. The first step in this effort was to get a better handle on the current market share. Through a series of interviews, discussions, and surveys MBI estimated that the total value of new permanent modular construction (PMC) projects put in place in 2014 in North America at US$3.813 billion. Comparing industry data to data from CMD (formerly Reed Construction Data), MBI determined that the market share for PMC in 2014 in North America was 2.93 percent of the value of new construction projects put in place. MBI's focus now shifts to identifying growth barriers and opportunities in these key markets, while factoring in regional differences. The board recognized that there is not going to be a single, one-size-fits-all solution to growing market share and that key markets most certainly differ by geographic regions. There is also a recognition that if this effort is to succeed, it will require greater participation and support from the entire industry.