3 min read

The power of "windshield time" [Nexus Newsletter #111]

Hey friends,

When I was growing up, I loved road trips. Jumping in my mom’s navy blue minivan meant we were going to one of two places I loved to be: my grandparents’ house or a soccer tournament.

Early in my career, I found a third flavor of road trip I grew to love: 1-on-1 time with one of my mentors. “Windshield time” meant we were hitting the road to visit a building or campus in Arkansas or Kansas City or rural Illinois.

To my surprise, I learned to love these trips just as much as family trips from childhood. Why? Because the windshield time between St. Louis and our destination meant I got to ask any question I wanted.

My mentors, who were normally jumping from meeting to meeting all day, were suddenly captive… for hours.

I had Sterling or Sam or Anne for sales questions, Brett or Jim for project development and HVAC design, Kyle for controls and commissioning, and David or Brian for energy modeling. One boring midwestern highway at a time, they caught me up to speed on how this crazy industry works. And hearing them fire questions at facility managers helped too.

I now realize how rare this was… and not just because of COVID. It’s rare to have the quality and quantity of mentors I did. If you do, it’s rare to get so much uninterrupted time with them… our leaders are busy people.

It’s also rare to have this time outside of your company’s four walls. Frankly, from the moment the average new hire’s onboarding begins, they are inoculated with company-specific training and socialization (Our competition is evil, our solution is the best, etc). Getting out of the building helps you get out of the echo chamber for a minute.

Looking back on how lucky I was, I’ve realized there’s a lesson here for all of you ramping up your smart buildings hiring efforts (and I know that’s a lot of you!).

Here’s the lesson: there are actually two types of onboarding needed for new hires into the smart buildings industry.

On one hand, you need company-specific onboarding: it’s all about how your company does things. Almost every company already has this in place.

But you also need industry onboarding. The type that’s focused on what’s going on outside of a company’s four walls, how your role fits into the bigger picture, and how you can be successful in the broader ecosystem. The type that we teach in our Foundations course.

And we need it now more than ever. To help, we created a free checklist for this second type of onboarding. It’s got the 6 most important parts to make sure you’re covering.

✖ At the Nexus

Here’s everything we published this week:

★ PODCAST: 🎧 #084: Finding the signal in the IAQ noise with Kaiterra and DLR GroupLiam Bates, CEO of Kaiterra, and Shona O'Dea, Principal and High Performance Design Leader at DLR Group, joined James for a conversation that cuts through the IAQ noise.

They teach us about all things indoor air quality in 2022, including wading through all the noise on this complex topic and what an integrated IAQ strategy is all about.



  • Subject Matter Expert Workshop: Jason Koh will be joining us to talk about Brick Schema, its impact on the smart building industry, and what the Brick Consortium has been working on lately.
  • Member Gathering: Leaders (and Pro members) from 3 different digital twin software vendors will join a panel to talk about the digital twin category and where it's headed in 2022.

Join Nexus Pro now to get the invites!


★ VENDOR LANDSCAPE UPDATE—This week, we released version 2.0 of our vendor landscape (members only), an ever-evolving database of cool smart buildings products that are categorized and tagged using the Nexus Evaluation Framework. Here's a quick demo:

If you're a building owner or consultant working on procuring smart buildings tech, this is 100% the place to start.

If you're a vendor and you'd like to make sure your product is included, fill out the submission form!

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