5 min read

The Smart Building Champion [Nexus Newsletter #154]

This edition of the Nexus Newsletter is brought to you by BrainBox AI and Clockworks Analytics.

Hey friends,

Happy Thanksgiving week to those of you in the U.S. As we celebrate the holidays and start to wind down the year, I'm reflecting on the progress in our industry in 2022.

One definite area of progress is defining the specialist roles needed to make smart buildings successful. For the next four weeks, I want to summarize five vital roles that every smart building program needs on the team.

We talk a lot about the flashy new technology required for smart buildings. But we must always remember that when we're changing how things are done, it's people that make it happen.  Here are the five roles we're going to cover:

  1. The Smart Building Champion
  2. The Design Consultant
  3. The Master Systems Integrator
  4. The Network Manager
  5. The Commissioning Agent

At the end of the series, we'll turn this into our latest whitepaper. Before then, we'd love to hear from you: are you playing one of these roles? What are your keys for success?

Let's jump in...

Role 1: The Smart Building Champion

Every team needs a team captain. I think of the Smart Building Champion like the captain of the team of teams that comes together for each building or portfolio.

The main thesis of our Foundations Course is that we need more champions at every position in the industry. People that understand how a smart building comes together, speak the language, and see things holistically. People who "get it". We've now leveled up over 350 people who can call themselves Smart Building Champions. But we still have a long way to go!

Since smart buildings are created by long term programs, not individual projects, it's particularly important for building owners to hire and support internal champions. They understand how the organization works, understand the financial decisions that are being made, and they have the authority or decision-making ability to drive the program forward.

They don't need to be the expert in everything, but they need to be able to collaborate with all their specialist providers to be able to deliver on the tech-driven outcomes their organization needs. Someone who understands how buildings operate, understands how to distinguish the nuances between different technologies and solutions, and then understands the financing and operations of buildings.

In soccer, my favorite sport, the one who wears the captain’s armband is the one that embodies the mindset of a champion. The type of team captain we need for creating a smart building is one that has a mindset of:

  • Continuous learning & action
  • Collaboration & leadership
  • Meeting people where they’re at
  • Being the glue between stakeholders
  • Holistic & long-term thinking

I see so many teams try to muscle through a project without a champion. If you're watching the World Cup this week, it's like watching the US Men's National Team without Tyler Adams. If you're not a soccer fan, try this analogy: it’s like watching the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan went and played baseball.

Let's agree: we need champions.

👉 Go deeper on the champion role:

See you next week for part 2!

What are your keys for success in this role?

—James Dice, Founder of Nexus Labs

P.S. In our monthly member gatherings, Champions present a deep dive on their smart building program and take Q&A. This month we'll hear from Ben Myers on BXP's smart building program. In January, we're launching an Australian series. Join Nexus Pro to get the invites.

🔍 A message from our sponsor, Clockworks Analytics 🔎

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This guide tells the story of the second "D" and why it's so important. Get the guide here.

✖ At the Nexus

Here’s everything worth sharing from Nexus HQ this week:


★ PODCAST: 🎧 #127: CRE Market Talk #1Episode 127 is a conversation with Mandi Wedin of Feroce Real Estate Advisors and Joe Gaspardone of Montgomery Technologies.

I’m excited to begin a new recurring series with Mandi and Joe where they educate the smart buildings community about one of their big customers - the real estate investment/owner - and what is happening to that customer and how that impacts the smart building industry.

Since this is a new series, let us know what you think!



  • New Member Orientation: Nexus Founder, James Dice, hosted an introduction to the Nexus Labs Community and how you access and take advantage of all the resources that come with your Pro Membership. This is for new members or those who've not taken advantage of all the resources at the Nexus Community.
  • Subject Matter Expert Workshop: Pro member and Smart Buildings Programs Director at TIA, Marta Soncodi, dove deep into the UL/TIA SPIRE Smart Building Assessment program with what it is, how it works, why it's valuable, and how people can get involved.
  • Member Gathering: Global Leader in Real Estate Sustainability and ESG and Vice President of Sustainability at BXP, Ben Myers, will unpack BXP's smart buildings program. November 30th at 9 am MT

Join Nexus Pro now to get the invites and access to the recordings.


★ ON LINKEDIN: How Nexus is inspiring up and coming writers in our industry


★ JOBS: Are you hiring? Searching for a job in smart buildings?—We've relaunched the Nexus Labs Jobs Board.

It's got great jobs from PassiveLogic, Bernhard, Vigilent, Gridium, Slipstream, Lockheed Martin.

🔥🔥🔥 Hot Jobs in Smart Buildings

Lockheed Martin has two open positions:

  1. Building Management Systems Controls Engineer in Startford, CT.
  2. Fault Detection & Diagnostics Lead in Moorestown-Lenola, NJ.

These positions support the Smart Buildings Team within the Lockheed Martin Rotary & Mission Systems (RMS) Facilities organization. The selected candidate will initially work under the guidance of the team with the goal of quickly becoming an independent subject matter expert.

As a leading technology innovation company, Lockheed Martin’s vast team works with partners around the world to bring proven performance to our customers’ toughest challenges.

🧠 A message from our sponsor, BrainBox AI 🧠

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Learn more by checking out this success story: Westcliff shopping centre made more efficient with AI for HVAC.

👋 That's all for this week. See you next Tuesday!

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways Nexus Labs can help you:

1. Take our shortcut to learning the Smart Buildings industry here (350 students and counting)

2. Join our community of smart buildings nerds and gamechangers here (450 members and counting)

3. Sponsor our newsletter & podcast & get 5k+ nerdy eyeballs and earholes on your brand, product, or business.

4. (NEW) Join the Nexus Labs Syndicate on Angellist for opportunities to invest in the best smart buildings startups that cross my desk each month.