One of the oldest electrical contracting companies, Rosendin, with nearly 7000 workers, is looking to an unusual source for its training: gamers. Founded in 1919 and active in commercial, institutional, transportation, and other sectors, the company began using 3D modeling in early 2000. That team of modelers has expanded to more than 250 employees who are immersed in BIM technology. And those modelers? They’re coming from gaming backgrounds.
“This younger generation leverages technology in a way that a lot of us in the construction business have not done before,” said Fred Meeske, VP of Building Information Technology (BIM). “They live in this virtual environment... Most of them don’t just play games; they actually build them and interact with them.”
These gamers are changing the face of construction, though you might not realize it when you walk past a job site. “When you’re able to bring [these gamers] in and have them apply the skills they have — and augment those skills with real-world knowledge of construction... the way we build things — you get this entire new vision, this entire new way of doing things that, over the last several years, has led us in all kinds of areas that we never even knew existed… The whole gamer thing started out very simplified, and then, to me, it became much more complex — and much more exciting.”
Lead modeler, Jose Samaniego, has a degree in gaming technology, and Meeske describes how he was brought in to work on electrical transformers. “I gave him a transformer and told him how it worked. He programmed it into VR, and people could actually interact with this transformer. We could train them how to wire the transformer, start it up and energize it. We could assess them on it. That was something that was super exciting.”
Rosendin says that combining nontraditional and traditional construction workers can bring new thoughts and ideas to the industry.