Record Numbers Convene at 2018 Leaders Meeting

Saturday, 20 October 2018 | Dubai

DUBAI – CTBUH held its largest leaders meeting on record, with more than 150 attendees on the day before the start of the Core Program at the 2018 Middle East Conference. The meeting was split into three parts. The first section gave general updates on CTBUH staff, conferences and research initiatives, while the second was devoted to breakout meetings for each working group and committee. The third section reconvened all attendees in the same room, to hear updates on what each breakout group had achieved or resolved, and to partake in a general question-and-answer section.

The first section, led by CTBUH Chairman Steve Watts, Partner, alinea Consulting and CTBUH CEO Antony Wood. Watts relayed that several exciting discussions, including those at the Board of Trustees meeting the same day, and a facilitated team-building session undertaken in Chicago in May, had taken place, which promised to take the Council to the “next level” of development. He also reinforced the importance of increasing staff, including at the executive level, in helping the Council grow successfully.

The leaders then were introduced to John Jacobs, the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) of CTBUH. Jacobs’ role will be to strengthen the internal processes at CTBUH, freeing up CEO Antony Wood to spend more time on external affairs. Jacobs hails from the telecommunications industry, including research organizations, non-profit trade associations, and a United Nations agency. He noted the increasing influence of “smart” technology in the construction industry, and the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, which is expected to have an enormous impact on the tall building industry in the near future. He will be exploring many avenues for the Council’s growth, developing a new Strategic Plan in tandem with the Board of Trustees.

Watts then recognized the contributions of Tim Johnson, Design Partner, NBBJ, and Dennis Poon, Vice Chairman, Thornton Tomasetti, who are stepping down as Trustees. Poon, having served seven years, received a plaque onstage from Watts.

Wood then presented a preview of the 2019 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference in Shenzhen and the 2019 World Congress in Chicago, as well as an update on CTBUH staff growth and headquarters buildout, the state of research initiatives and release of several new CTBUH publications.

In the third session, Wood followed the updates from the individual committees and working groups with a reminder that there are still many under-explored topics in tall buildings and cities, and that the impetus to produce a publication on a given topic is not handed down by HQ; rather, it comes from the initiative of members.

The Leaders’ Meeting concluded with approximately 20 minutes of open Q & A and dialogue, moderated by Wood. Highlighted subjects included a poll of support for continuing the practice of two Leaders’ Meetings per year (less than 50 percent raised their hands); support for the idea of the Height and Data Committee to obtain and distribute energy performance data; support for greater presence in Japan and South Korea; and a request for more direct facilitation of working groups and committees’ dialogue with the Board of Trustees.

It was also suggested that regional events be augmented by both high-caliber international speakers that could draw in non-members, and by appearances from senior CTBUH representatives who could promote the Council. Support was also stated for more Webinars / structured online courses and digital broadcasts of live conference proceedings, as a way to bring in more new members and external interest. There was also a request to lower conference fees and support more mentoring and education, as a way of bringing in more young people. Further to that point, it was suggested more pre-collegiate outreach take place.

The meeting concluded at approximately 5:00 p.m., after which Leaders joined other delegates at the VIP Networking Reception.